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The Editors of New Strategist Editors (2015) published their findings in American Attitudes. Their findings were gathered through The University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center by conducting the General Social Survey which used quantitative research methods to gather two-thousand individuals, age eighteen and over, living throughout the United States opinions on several topics. One of those matters discussed was the subject of marriage. They found that ninety-six and one half of every one-hundred married people answered they were “very happy” or “pretty happy” in their marriages and only thirty-five out of one-hundred answered “not too happy” (The New Strategist Editors, 2015).
These findings lead to the conclusion that majority of those whom are married are content and happy. These same persons were asked if it was better for one adult of the family unit to provide solely financially, majority disagreed (The New Strategist Editors, 2015). I can be assumed from these answers that a greater percentage would rather share the financial duties in a family unit equally. A greater level of honest responses could have been gathered from this study if it were not done face-to-face interview style. If it was done with a broader population of the United States, a more accurate depiction of thoughts on these opinions would be gathered. Secondary analysis written by Ahu Gemici and Steve Laufer of New York University (2011) studies the relation among marriage and cohabitation. Majority of the research studied was quantitatively gathered by the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. They specifically compared married couples and cohabiting partners in the areas of; employment stability, hours household chores were achieved, sexual encounters, and patterns of productiveness. From the gathered data, a conclusion can be drawn that leads to the idea that compared to married couples, cohabiting partners; have higher relationship uncertainty, less determined household roles, and a higher assortative mating degree (Gemici & Laufer, 2011).
According to Gemici and Laufer (2011), when specialized household duties are specifically discussed and allocated within a married couple’s household, there is more of a balance. In contrast, cohabiting couples feel free from the worries of uncertainty within the relationship and feelings of household commitments. In their research, they provide an ample list of legal benefits that provide married couples with more financial stability and gains than that of cohabiting couples. The income of two partners greatly outweighs that of each individual partner, provided each makes an income necessary to meet financial responsibilities. According to the study provided, the main benefit of cohabiting is the avoidance of a costly divorce if compatibility between the partners is not achieved (Gemici & Laufer, 2011). Of the three-thousand-six-hundred and sixty-seven respondents that data was provided on, a total of one-thousand-six-hundred and fifty married after cohabitation (Gemici & Laufer, 2011).
This number is less than half of those how cohabitate, the household strain of responsibility may be a factor leading to this number as well as the financial aspects of the partner living situation. The information gathered and observed is good representation of thoughts on living arrangements of cohabiting partners and married partners. Perhaps a more broad approach to the specific matters being discussed would uncover even more benefits to both living situations. A longitudinal study conducted by the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) was studied by Christopher J. Boyce, Eamonn Ferguson, and Alex M. Wood (2016). They focused on satisfaction level and marriage specifically. They collected this data over eight consecutive years using a sample size of two-thousand and fifteen adults over the age of eighteen. Their concluding findings provided that individual personality traits prior to marriage resulted in different satisfaction levels post-marriage. According to Boyce, Ferguson, and Wood (2016), early on in a pair’s marriage their life satisfaction rises but returns back to pre-marital levels shortly after. It was also found that conscientious females, reclusive females, and extroverted men experience positive gain in life satisfaction longer than their counter personality individuals (Boyce, Ferguson & Wood, 2016).
The conclusion from this study brings another factor, personality, into the equation of marriage being a pro or con to the general public and to the individual. This study was well conducted and written but perhaps would improve with a larger more diverse population. Theoretical Framework The specific theory that correlates to the debate of the pros and cons of marriage and the question if an individual should or should not get married is the exchange theory which has a subcategory of the equity theory. According to Intimate relationships, marriages & families by Mary Kay DeGenova, Nick Stinnett, &Nancy Stinnett (2011), the equity and exchange theories main ideas are that there is a benefit and fair advantage to the relationships we are involved in. According to this theory, individuals seek relationships in which they will not only financial benefit but also receive exchange of all that is desired. When one debates the pros and cons of marriage ultimately the decision is based upon the benefits and costs the marriage would have on the individual. These exchanges can influence the individual both positively and negatively.
Financial, responsibilities, emotional and physical exchanges are just some that could ultimately both benefit and cost. When one marries they potentially gain finically from both the government and their spouse. If one does not see a potential advantage but rather a loss, their eventual decision may be to stay single. Companionship, emotional needs, and physical desires are also factors that play a role in someone’s decision. This legally binding social interaction could also come as a disadvantage if the people do not agree on the level of companionship necessary to the relationship. The responsibilities an individual has in society can potentially be shared or exchanged if one decides to marry. This advantage could however, become a burden if one person’s willingness to perform these responsibilities is not met with the same effort.
The exchange theory with the subcategory of the equity theory pertains to topic of if an individual should or should not get married cohesively. The theory addresses both human needs and wants but vaguely addresses other modern societal factors. A more structured approach to explaining the fine details of the exchanges is needed to better approach the specifics of the topic. The multitude of exchanges between individuals when making the decision of whether or not to engage in the legally binding contract of marriage should be assessed. While there are many things to be gained if one chooses to marry, there are also equally potential losses. The theory of exchange pertains to all relationships in our lives and is well applied to the very important decision whether or not to get married.
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