Why marriages last
Why marriages last
A discussion of the literature
In the field of marriage and relationships research there has tended to be a preoccupation with relationship breakdown and dissolution, obscuring the body of literature that explores the reasons why many marriages are enduring, satisfying and happy. Drawing on this literature, this paper discusses some of what is known about why many marriages last for very long periods and considers how knowledge of the ways in which marriages can be made to last can help young couples create and maintain their own enduring and rewarding marriages.
The paper is not intended to provide a critical analysis of the literature on longlasting marriages. Rather, it aims to draw attention to the body of literature available on how enduring and rewarding marriages can be created and maintained.
This paper is intended as a counterpoint to Research Paper No. 20, Towards Understanding the Reasons for Divorce (Wolcott and Hughes), published by the Institute in 1999, which analysed the reasons why many marriages end in divorce.
Note: portions of this paper appeared in an earlier article published in Family Matters No. 60, Spring/Summer 2001.
Robyn Parker is a Senior Research Officer at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, overseeing the Positive Family Relationships strand of the Institute's Family and Marriage program. She has recently completed a national survey of relationship education service activities, funded by the Department of Family and Community Services and conducted in partnership with the Centre for Research in Education, Equity and Work at the University of South Australia. Her current activities centre on the design and implementation of the Institute's major exploration of fertility decision-making, being developed in collaboration with the Office for the Status of Women.
For their thoughtful comments and feedback on an earlier draft of this paper, appreciation is extended to Dr Bruce Findlay, Department of Psychology, Swinburne University of Technology, and Dr Michele Simons, Centre for Research in Education, Equity and Work, University of South Australia.
Parker, R. A. (2004). Why marriages last: A discussion of the literature (Research Paper No. 28). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
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