Marital Ideals of the Newly-Married: A Longitudinal Analysis
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
Although marital ideals influence a couple's behavior, the specific content of marital ideals for engaged and newly-married couples remains largely uninvestigated. This longitudinal study investigated couples' marital ideals over the first year of marriage. Thirty-eight engaged couples completed a standardized measure of relationship intimacy ideals using Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationships (PAIR; Schaefer & Olson, 1981) in addition to free writing essays to open-ended questions regarding partner, relationship, and conflict ideals. Eleven couples also completed follow-up assessments at six months and one year of marriage. Results indicated that marital ideals are qualitatively different than those for dating relationships. Marital ideals were primarily intimate and traditional, but not romanticized. Conflict ideals were primarily practical rather than romantic, and became more practical over time.