Emotional Supportiveness and the Marriage Decisions of Unmarried Couples

Bryndl Hohmann-Marriott, Arizona State University

Policies such as the Healthy Marriage Initiative aim to help couples create and maintain healthy marriages. However, research is still unclear as to whether healthy marriages are the result of marital status per se or of the interpersonal processes within couples. Emotional supportiveness between partners is one aspect of a healthy relationship which may precede marriage. This research confirms that when unmarried partners are more supportive of one another, they are more likely to marry. This is an indication that the health of their relationship preceded their decision to marry, and has implications for policies and programs wishing to promote healthy marriages. These programs should place their focus on the emotional supportiveness and health of premarital and nonmarital relationships. In this way, both relationships which eventually lead to marriage and those which do not would be strengthened.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Union Formation and Dissolution, Fertility, Family and Well-being