Associations Between Marital Meaning and Reasons to Delay Marriage for Young Adults in Romantic Relationships

Joel A. Muraco, Melissa A. Curran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Using symbolic interactionism we developed an open-ended question to examine marital meaning for young adults (N = 111). Themes to emerge were love and commitment. Participants were placed into clusters: contractual (low love, high commitment), optimistic-realistic (high love, high commitment), romanticizing (high love, low commitment), and casual (low love, low commitment). We examined marital meaning and associations with reasons to delay marriage, conceptualized as relational doubts and financial concerns. Optimistic-realistic and casual individuals reported fewer relational doubts than contractual individuals. Longer relationship length was associated with fewer financial concerns for optimistic-realistic individuals when compared with all others. We conclude that although love and commitment are central to marital meaning, for some, specific pairings of these themes have implications in understanding reasons young adults delay marrying.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-247
Number of pages21
JournalMarriage and Family Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • commitment
  • financial concerns
  • love
  • marital meaning
  • relational doubts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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