Two as One? Couples' Perceptions of Time Spent Together, Marital Quality, and the Risk of Divorce

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Review Article

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This article employs event-history analysis of couple-level data from two waves of the National Survey of Families and Households to examine the effects of spouses' perceptions of shared time and marital quality and stability on subsequent odds of marital dissolution. Of central importance in the analysis is the role that gender plays, because empirical evidence documents significant gender variation in spouses' expectations, perceptions, and experience of marriage. When husbands provide the more negative evaluations of marital quality, the couple are more likely to dissolve their marriage; but when more concrete, proximate measures of marital stability are considered, wives' more negative reports are better predictors of subsequent divorce. The analysis provides a contribution to divorce research by modeling the effects of couple-level, social-psychological dynamics and by highlighting the importance of recognizing the multiple, often conflicting realities of the emotional content of marriage.



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