Is He Really Mr. Right?

Divorce and marital satisfaction may be linked to a couples doubts about marriage

(RxWiki News) Is it normal to have doubts before you get married, or could it be a sign of things to come?

A recent study asked this question of newlywed couples and found that having doubts before the wedding can be linked to marital dissatisfaction and potentially divorce.

"Pay attention to your doubts before the wedding."

Justin Lavner, a doctoral student at the University of California in Los Angeles led a study of 232 newlywed couples, collecting information on premarital doubts, marriage satisfaction and divorce.

Recently married couples were recruited through newspapers and paid a small fee for participating in the study. The couples had to undergo individual interviews and assessments every six months for four years.

The first question the participants were required to answer was, “Were you ever uncertain or hesitant about getting married?”

Forty-seven percent of men and thirty-eight percent of women reported being uncertain about getting married.

The researchers then measured the spouses for marital satisfaction and assessed the divorce rates during the four-year period.

Overall, 12 percent of couples ended the relationship during the first four years of marriage.

The researchers found that while men’s doubts did not play a significant role in the divorce rate, women who had doubts before the wedding were two and a half times more likely to end up divorced than women who did not have doubts.

The study also found that men and women with premarital doubts had much lower levels of satisfaction at the beginning of the marriage, and that satisfaction remained low over time.

This study was published online in September in the Journal of Family Psychology and was funded by various grants through the National Science Foundation, the Committee on Research of the UCLA Academic Senate and the National Institute of Mental Health. No conflicts of interest were reported.

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Review Date: 
September 18, 2012