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Family Matters No. 64 - May 2003

Expectations of marriage among cohabiting couples

Lixia Qu

Abstract

In the past, living together was often a stepping stone to marriage. As cohabitation has become commonplace, do people who are cohabiting these days expect to marry their partner? This article asks the following questions: What are cohabitors' expectations about marriage, and to what extent do people have marriage in sight when they are cohabiting? Does the perceived prospect of marrying vary according to the length of time people have been cohabiting, or to the cohabitors' gender, age or previous marital status? To what extent do partners agree on their marriage prospects? This paper first examines links between the expectations of marriage of cohabiting men and women and their previous marital status, their age, and the length of their cohabiting relationship. It then looks at the extent to which both partners share the same or similar view on their prospects of marrying each other. 

In the past, living together was often a stepping stone to marriage. As cohabitation has become commonplace, do people who are cohabiting these days expect to marry their partner? This article asks the following questions: What are cohabitors' expectations about marriage, and to what extent do people have marriage in sight when they are cohabiting? Does the perceived prospect of marrying vary according to the length of time people have been cohabiting, or to the cohabitors' gender, age or previous marital status? To what extent do partners agree on their marriage prospects? This paper first examines links between the expectations of marriage of cohabiting men and women and their previous marital status, their age, and the length of their cohabiting relationship. It then looks at the extent to which both partners share the same or similar view on their prospects of marrying each other. 

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