Survey of Premarital Couples Part One

Sydney Conroy

Purpose of the Study

To collect updated and more current information about how people are thinking about intimate partnerships to inform how OURS can better support people in their transition from newly engaged into marriage.

This report with explore four of the questions asked in the survey: 1) what disagreements arise most, 2) what topics are least discussed before marriage, 3) what specific areas in their partnerships they would like to have support in developing or strengthening, and 4) what is one question they would ask a generally fulfilled long-term married couple if they could.

Key Learnings

23% of couples reported household management to be the most common disagreement in their partnership, followed by sex or affection (18%), and betrayal/infidelity (8%). Gender roles, money management, and ideologies tied for the next most common disagreement at 5-6% each.

  • Couples in the survey reported these topics as not discussed together: gender roles (13%), money management (12%), household management (11%), social media (11%), and parenting (10%).
  • Responding couples reported these areas to be where they most wanted support: emotion management, followed by conflict management, communication, and expectations of both their relationship and their partner.
  • Couples in this survey would choose to ask a generally fulfilled long-term married couple about these topics: sex and intimacy, navigating plateaus, sustaibility within a long term partnership, and how to survive hard or tough times.

Common Disagreements

Survey participants were encouraged to check all topics that applied to this question and add in any answers that were not listed. When asked to identify the topics that were the center of their most common disagreements as a couple, household management was selected most often at 23%. The next most common topic for disagreement was sex or affection at 18%.

The rest of the topics were each rated under 10%, with betrayal/infidelity at 8%. Gender roles, money management, and ideologies all were chosen around 5-6%. Cultural differences, social media, politics, spirituality, communication, and parenting were tied topics around 2-3%. Survey respondents added topics such as: drug usage, in-laws, life philosophies, stress, mental illness, travel, career unhappiness, past conflict/hurts, disconnection, family dynamics, and time management. 2% of respondents reported not having disagreements commonly.

Least Discussed Topics

When asked which topics have not been discussed within their relationship, 13% of newly engaged couples reported not discussing gender roles, 12% had not discussed money management, 11% stated household management, 11% said social media, and 10% had not discussed parenting.

Couples were able to fill in a topic that they had not discussed which was not included in the options and added: aging parents, and end of life medical decisions. 41% of couples who took this survey reported having discussed all topics offered as options for this question.

Support

Newly engaged couples were asked in the survey which part of their relationship they wish they had more support in developing. Couples were given the option to choose all options that applied. Emotions management was chosen most frequently at 56%, followed by conflict management at 53%, with communication at 49% and relationship expectations or expectations of their partner at 44% and 40% respectively.

33% of couples chose money management, 19% chose time management, and 14% chose parenting. Other answers provided by participants were: sex while exhausted by life, intimacy, sexuality, and honesty. 2% of couples felt supported in all areas and 1% stated they have already sought external help and resources on all topics listed.

What Would You Ask A Married Couple

We wanted to know what newly engaged couples want to know about marriage, from married couples. In that spirit, this survey finished with this open ended question: if you could ask a long-term married couple who feels generally fulfilled in their relationship one question, what would you ask?

The most common and repeated themes of questions were about sex & intimacy, relationship plateaus, sustainability for long term partnerships, and advice for navigating hard and tough times. Other frequent topics included boredom, excitement, intentionality in choosing the relationship and their partner, and advice + insight on their experiences.

Sample & Size

The survey gathered 117 responses at the time of analysis. Couples from around the world participated, with 76% of respondents from North American countries, 12% from European countries, 3% from African countries, 3% from Australia, 2% from Asian countries, and 4% of respondents lived in two separate areas. This lead to a range of ethnic backgrounds: 56% white, 10% African, 6% Latin or Hispanic, 3% Asian, 2% Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian, 19% with two or more ethnicities (i.e. Afro-Caribbean, white-Cherokee, Arab-Australian, African-American), and 4% filled ethnicities outside of listed options.

Most couples were within the 26-34 age range and have been engaged for less than a year. 38% of couples had been together for 5+ years, 32% of couples for 1-2 years, 27% for 3-4 years, and 3% for less than 1 year. 73% of couples reported living together, with 26% not living together, and 2% with alternative living arrangements.

Most survey respondants - 93% - were cisgender females, with 4% cisgender males, and 3% nonbinary. Those who took the survey described their partner as 88% cisgender males, 8% cisgender females, 1% gender questioning, 3% nonbinary. The relationship structure of these couples were overwhelmingly monogamous - 99% - with 1% being in an open relationship.

What’s next:

See part two for what couples said about rituals, wedding celebrations, play, and dates within their partnerships as engaged couples!