Having marriage doubts? Take a timeout

MU professor Kale Monk suggests that taking a pause on marriage procedures could be beneficial to those experiencing doubts.

September 21, 2020


Brian Consiglio: A wedding can be extremely expensive and even emotionally taxing. So, it’s important to be absolutely certain before getting married.  However, for many it can be difficult to see past the wedding after getting engaged.

Consiglio: Now, researchers at the University of Missouri are talking to formerly engaged individuals to understand how they were able to overcome the pressures of being engaged to end their relationships. MU professor Kale Monk conducted the study, and he says visualization was key.

Monk: “Having a public ritual and a legal lifelong commitment on the horizon was a catalyst for people to reconsider their future path, so slowing down the momentum of the wedding planning process by taking a timeout, allowed participants to think more intentionally about what they wanted from marriage, and to evaluate their partners in a new light..”

Consiglio: Slowing the momentum was usually accomplished through symbolic gestures like returning the ring or taking a break from the relationship. Monk says that this research could help couples understand what to think about before getting married and, in the long run, lower divorce rates and unsuccessful marriages in general.

Monk: “Ending a marriage tends to be more taxing than ending the relationship while dating or even during the engagement period. Therefore, understanding how people manage to end their relationships just before marriage can provide some insight into preventing divorces and unhealthy marriages in general because the old adage is true: the best divorce is the one that you get before you get married.”

Consiglio: I'm Brian Consiglio with a Spotlight on Mizzou.

Learn more about the research here

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