An Introduction to the Marriage Insight Research

In 2006, Larry Irion concluded a nearly ten year research project where he asked hundreds of couples to complete a Marriage Compatibility Inventory. Larry developed the Inventory as part of an independent study under the guidance of Dr. Deborah Gentry at Illinois State University. The thesis of the project was to find the differences or factors between a very satisfied marriage and dissatisfied marriage. Originally it was only  given close to one hundred couples from area churches. These responses caused a deeper interest in what makes a satisfied marriage. Larry pursued more information to help in forming conclusions. The Marriage Compatibility Inventory sample size grew and the research raised even more questions for Larry about marriage.

The inventory had 21 questions over nine main areas:

  • free time
  • housework
  • decision making
  • goals
  • relationship satisfaction
  • communication
  • conflict resolution
  • change
  • sex

For more information on the specifics of the study, read the origination and research description by Larry below or go straight to the research’s conclusions.

Origination and Research Description

Before we look at the factors influencing a very satisfied marriage we need to understand how the instrument was used. It was called Marriage Compatibility Inventory. The feedback I received caused a deeper interest to pursue more information to help in forming conclusions. I then gave the survey to  students both at Illinois State University and Bradley University to find couples between 7-15 years as the target. However, I allowed other years since it was not that easy for some to find.  As result, the married years are from 3 months to almost 70 years. A great majority of the Inventory takers are from the Chicago and Central Illinois area with a few coming from Southern Illinois and St. Louis area. The couples took the inventory separately and were not allowed to compare their answers until after taking the inventory. The mean age for wives was 37.6 years and husbands 39.4 years. The mean age for years married was 13.4 years and the number of children was 2.36 per couple. Actually the survey created more questions about my research about marriage. There are 21 questions that I wanted to have answered which is at the end of the report.

There were nine areas that were considered important to the marriage. They were: free time, housework, decision-making, goals, relationship satisfaction, communication, conflict resolution, change and sex. About half way through the inventory they were asked to evaluate the relationship as: very satisfied, content, taken for granted, dissatisfied, indifferent, unsure or other. At the end they were asked again to evaluate the marriage using a different standard of identification as to how they would consider their marriage. Their choices were developed by Lavee and Olson (1993). They are: vitalized, harmonious, balanced, conflicting, finance focused or devitalized. One of the interesting insights that has been hard to understand is that men are more very satisfied in their marriage than women but are less vitalized than women. I am not sure how this can be. The only conclusion I came up with is based on observation and readings that is analogous as to how men look at relationships. I think men look at relationships much like looking at a picture puzzle. If he can see a picture that describes something, than that is “good enough” whereas if a woman looks at the puzzle and sees a piece or pieces missing than it is not okay. If all the pieces are in place than the picture is vitalized. In my opinions, women seem to value a lot of details in the relationship and have a lot more expectations in the marriage than does most men.

Alfred-Cooper (1998) stated that “Husbands have more positive views of their wives and their marriages.” Wives presented  a more complex descriptions of their marriages and their spouses, discussing both the positive and the negative aspects. Husbands typically focused on the positive qualities of their wives and relationships, downplaying problems. Husbands reported less often declines in sexual interest and a higher level of conflict resolution than did the wives. The differences in how they looked at the relationship was reported in degrees. Husbands would say, “always” things would always work out or they “always” liked their wives but the wives would indicate “usually” things worked out or they “usually” liked their husbands. Below is the breakdown two types of relationships.

MARITAL TYPES *

The question to ask, “What % of the Vitalized are Very Satisfied in their marriage?”  The responses of women was 84% and men 90%.  The next question to ask is, ”What percent of the Very Satisfied marriages are Vitalized?” Women 44%, men 39%. It appears a vitalized marriage has a higher regard or standard than does a very satisfied marriage.  In other words a vitalized marriage is more likely to be very satisfied than is a very satisfied marriage to be vitalized. Their value system seems to take on a different meaning. Looking below you will see two things. First, is the marriage satisfaction of both genders which is much higher than the marital types for a vitalized marriage. Second, you will see the marriage satisfaction for wives has gone down from 2006 compared to 1998.  For husbands it is just the opposite. Marriage satisfaction has gone up from 1998. One thing to note is that in 1998 there were only 184 couples who took the survey as compared to 2006, there were 1553 who had taken the survey to date.

MARRIAGE SATISFACTION-  Trends in Satisfaction 1998 compared to  2006

SOME BASIC OBSERVATIONS FROM SURVEY:

1. What characteristics attract the genders “before” marriage -for women #1-personality, #2-physical appearance, #3-humor and for men- #1-physical appearance, #2- personality and #3-positive attitude.

2. What characteristics attract genders “after” marriage- for women- 
#1-personality, #2-humor and #3-values and men- #1-physical appearance, #2- personality and #3-values.

3. The percent of Very Satisfied marriages have declined in the last 8 years 1.6% for women but have increased for men 2.6%.  However, dissatisfied and indifferent marriages have declined by 57% for women which was 12% in 1998 to 5.2% in 2006 and 43% for men which was 7.7% to 4.4%.  Sample number in 1998 was 184 and 2006 is 1553.

4. Best year for marriage satisfaction for women is the 1st year and the men the 2nd year. The best year for both of them is the 2nd year and the best age of the couple is 26-27.  I think men need about a year to learn, to adjust and to become more aware to what a woman wants and that he feels more insightful and more comfortable to the role of being a husband (on the job training!). After these two years, marriages appear to go down hill probably due to children and other things like job demands, more debt and less quality time together.   The worst year for both is the 10-11th years. The 7th year is the only year the men evaluate the marriage as being less satisfied than the women. All other years men feel more satisfied with their marriage than women.  I think there is some conclusive evidence later on that may explain this happening. Otherwise, men value the relationship 0-14% more on any given year or an average of 6% higher than women.  However, after 32 years of marriage, the marriage satisfaction is within 90% from the beginning for women and the same satisfaction for men in their marriage. In other words, the first year of marriage both genders agree or 64% of the couples are very satisfied and after 32 years 64% men are very satisfied and 58% women are very satisfied.

5. Two things women want more out of their marriage is communication and romance and men want more romance and a positive attitude.  However, in the 7th year women want more romance and men want less!  48% of the women wanted more romance and only 20% of the men wanted more romance. Besides the first year, this is the second lowest want for romance for men besides the first year. It appears romance to women is not the same for men. Men may be thinking romance equals sex. If that is the case then the importance of sex to men jumps to its highest level for most men on the 7th year. It may mean to men that this is their highest “need” for a sexual relationship but they are not as “turned on” to their wives for some reason. Some of those reasons may be she is breast feeding or maybe because she is more involved with the baby. Maybe she doesn’t have or take the time to give her attention to her husband at this time. This is only conjecture. It may or may not be true.

6. The best years for marriage satisfaction while raising children is around 14-15 years into their marriage. After this it takes another downturn in the 20-23rd years probably due to the time the children leave home or the “empty nest syndrome.” Marriage satisfaction drops 28% when the first child comes along. Actually, the 2nd  and 3rd child affects the woman more than any other number of children.  It does appear after 4 children, that children have less affect on the marriage.

7. What would improve marriages for women are: prayer/devotions, going to church together and regular dates and for men are: prayer/devotions, regular dates and extra income. Sex ranked #10 for women and #7 for men as to improving the marriage relationship .

8. There are a number of other factors that seem to prove conclusive the differences between a very satisfied and dissatisfied marriage.

Here are some significant factors to marriage I found that would improve a marriage relationship.

SIGNIFICANT FACTORS TO MARRIAGE SATISFACTION

FREE TIME

1. Free Time – spent with spouse - Very satisfied couples spend 6.3 hours to dissatisfied couples only 3.9 hours per week with spouse.

2. Time Together /Years Married show how in the beginning of the marriage the couple spends more time together and than it valleys out between 10-11th  year as well as during the 16-19 years of their marriage.  This could be because of the children activities especially if they are quite active in school, sports, community and church causing the parents to have less time for each other.  Marital satisfaction correlates with time together.

3. Free Time-spent in meaningful conversation shows the effect children have in capitalizing on the time of parents and the quality time they could have for an in-depth conversation they could have with their spouse.

4. Free Time-spent in activities together - men and women who spend more time with their spouses doing things together are more satisfied in their marriage as compared to those who spend time with their children, personal activities or television.

5. Dinner meals - 42% of very satisfied couples have 7 dinner meals together compared to only 17% of the dissatisfied have 7 dinner meals a week. The average family only has 5% breakfast, 3% lunch and 36% dinner 7 days a week together.

ACTIVITIES

• Most Popular Activities couples enjoy together are: 84% eating out, 69% movies, 65% TV, 64% vacation, 56% visit friends, 40% go to church together, 38% play w/children, 32% home improvement projects, 31% working outside, 30% shopping, 27% house chores, 27% walking, 26% going to sports events.

• Activities that will improve the relationship with women are when men do housework, exercise, work outside, doing home improvement projects and going on vacation together. Activities that will improve the relationship with men are walking together, going to athletic events together, biking, shopping and visiting friends. Most significant that seems to affect a relationship in a positive way are helping with houseworkexercising and walking together. People who are vitalized or have harmonious marriages exercise the most compared to the other relationship types.

COMMUNICATION

1.  82% of very satisfied couples had very satisfied meaningful conversation as compared to only 5% who are dissatisfied in their marriage. People who have meaningful conversation are 4X likely to have a vitalized marriage compared to a devitalized marriage.

2. Marriages that are “very satisfied” are fouteen times more likely to have more meaningful conversation than those that are dissatisfied.  Couples in “vitalized” marriages are 10 X more likely to have more meaningful conversation which is listening, understanding and responding than those that are in “conflicting” marriages.

3.  Most meaningful conversations are the 2nd year for men and the 2nd and 3rd year for women.  They are spending 3.6 hours per week during the 2nd year but only 2.5 hours per week from 8-11 years.  The lowest meaningful conversation is the 10-11th year. This is probably why these years are the lowest marriage satisfaction in the marriage. After 30+ years of marriage meaningful conversation returns to more like the second year of marriage.  Probably because there are no children around and they are beginning to enjoy retirement and the freedom to do and to go places they both like to do.

4.  Time spent with spouse is critical to marriage satisfaction. Couples that spent 3.55 hours per week were very satisfied compared to those dissatisfied couples who only spent 1.74 hours per week or just half the time in meaningful conversation

5.   Time spent in meaningful conversation between husband and wife drops 34% after the first child is born and drops 40-45% after the 4th and 5th child is born.

6.   Women’s need for communication is much greater than it is for men.  The years that women have the greatest need for communication are: 1st, 8-11, 14-15, 20-23 yrs.  We can’t be conclusive about anything because women vary so much as research shows that the need for communication can vary as much as 31-51% of the population of women whereas the husbands need for communication ranges from 11-27% of the population.

7.   The 7th year is the greatest disparity of need between the husband and the wife for communication.  42% of the women want more communication but only 11% of the men want more communication.  Also at this time we see men having the greatest need for sex in their lives than any other time. Maybe if men would talk more then both of their needs would be met! Maybe this could account for some of the “seven year itch” problems some marriages go through.  Knowing that your spouse isn’t listening may give reason for some to look outside the marriage to fulfill the need to communicate with someone who may want to listen.  The year both spouses agree on an equal need for communication is the 2nd year. This maybe why this is the highest point of satisfaction in the married years.  As we can see, men and women have different communication needs at different times in their marriage. Probably before they were married the wife talked to her best friend, sister or mother about her daily life and her needs but now that she is married she does not have this convenience to do so and expects her husband to be the receptacle of her thoughts and feelings.  For some men this can be quite difficult to understand at times.  This may be the reason why it takes about a year for the man to adjust and become aware of these needs and develop better listening and responding skills.

8.   If communication is a learning curve for men then why shouldn’t the years get better after the 2nd year?  Could it be their lives are much more complicated after the second year? Could it be, more changes are taking place after the second year that require adjustments to be made individually as well as in tandem?  Maybe this is what triggers frustration, disappointment and disillusionment in the marriage.

9.  Too much “stuff” to adjust too! Life is much more complicated!  As mentioned before, children are coming into their lives around the 3rd to 6th year as well as the couple is probably taking on more debt such as  purchases of larger items like a car or house. Job demands could be greater by this time also because of greater expectations from the employer and the spouse can rationalize that greater income means that something will have to sacrifice for this. This being“time” spent with the family.

10.  Because of  more income, the couple or one of the spouses may want to feel “entitlement” to more material things which in turn could lead to more debt.  All this leads to lesser quality time together because one or both of the spouses is more tired from their jobs.  But how does this affect the relationship?  We see that free time slips from 6.46 hours per week when first married to 4.84 hours per week the 10th and 11th year or almost 2 hours less or 25% drop in being together than when they first were married.  For some that may not be any big deal.  For others it may mean a lack of quantity and quality time to do things they used to enjoy doing together.

11.  Meaningful conversation satisfaction drops from 23% of the population that are  “very satisfied” the second year to only 5% of the population the 10-11th years. Their lives are much more consumed and complicated with “other things” compared to the first couple of years of marriage.   As the birthing rate graph shows that most couples don’t start having children until there are in their 3rd or 4th year.

12.  Children effect seems to help the woman’s need for communication the 16-19th year the woman does not need as much communication probably because she has more communication with her daughters and sons who maybe be able to carry on a more adult conversation with her.

13. “Empty nest” need for conversation spikes again on the 20-23 year maybe due to the children leaving home or going to college.

14. What does good communication look like?  Good communication is one who listens, understands, andresponds.  Good marriages have these qualities. Following chart indicates the marriage satisfaction and the communication quality. In other words 49% of the women and 55% of the men in Very Satisfied Marriages were very satisfied with their meaningful conversation or to contrast this with dissatisfied marriages only 4% of the women and 3% of the men had meaningful conversation.

15. People who had a “vitalized” marriage were almost ten times higher in communicating theirthoughts and feelings and getting a response back from their spouse than a “conflicting”marriage. Compare this with the chart below, the vitalized vs. conflicting couple had a good response to listening, understanding and responding. The following chart indicates different marital relationships and how genders view their communication quality.  In other words 58% vitalized women had good communication as compared to only 6% of the conflicting marriage.

16. Women “nag” and men “don’t listen!” Even in the best of marriages women “nag” and men “don’t listen.”  The little difference between a very satisfied and dissatisfied marriage is that women nag only 21% more with a dissatisfied marriage. However, with men that have very satisfied marriage they are found to be  better listeners – 33% better!  However, among the 7 marital relationships there is even a larger difference. In a vitalized marriage women “nag” 42% less than those in a conflicting marriage and men that are in a vitalized marriage listen 39% more than men in a conflicting marriage.

17. SELECTIVE HEARING   is a major problem with men and they recognize the fact when asked the question. Below are two questions taken from the  Marriage Inventory. First question – When I talk, my spouse generally (choices are:)

Second question-When my spouse talks, I generally (choices are:

18. Women are better listeners than men.  Almost 62% women feel they are good listeners meaning they listen, understand and respond whereas the men admit that only 47%  feel they do the same.

19. People who are more satisfied in their relationship have higher quality of Meaningful Conversation which in turn have a higher percent of “exciting” and “pleasurable”sexual relations.  48% of thewomen who are very satisfied with their meaningful conversation have “exciting” sexual relations compared to only 9% of those that are dissatisfied. For men the difference is not as great.  51% of the men who are very satisfied in meaningful conversation have “exciting” sexual relations compared to the 25% dissatisfied men still have “exciting” sexual relations. Maybe for a man a conversation does not have to lead to sex. For him sex may be more of a biological need than an emotional need which may not require that much conversation.  This could be a problem in why men feel they do not get enough sex because they may feel or think the woman should have the same thoughts and feelings for sex as them. Assuming the other spouse has the same thoughts and feelings may not necessarily be the reality of the other sometimes. 69% of the women who have very satisfied meaningful conversation have “pleasurable” sex compared to 27% of those that are dissatisfied in their meaningful conversation. For men, again meaningful conversation is not that important to have pleasurable sex.  67% men of the very satisfied in conversations as compared to 38% men who are dissatisfied in their conversation still have pleasurable sex. There is a major difference in genders in how they look at the importance of communication in their sexual relationship.

EMOTIONS EXPRESSED

• A big difference in very satisfied and dissatisfied couples is how they expressed themselves emotionally in positive and negative verbal and nonverbal communication.  Very Satisfied couples express affection, love, joy, praise, attention, encouragement and humor. Genders react differently to positive and negative reinforcement. Men respond more to positive reinforcement such as: attention, praise and encouragement and women respond more to attention, joy from the husbands and encouragement given. In reverse, dissatisfied couples  use negative communication like anger, criticism, defensiveness, disgust, negativism, sarcasm, and complaints.  Men react more to negativism, defensiveness, criticism  and women react more to disgust, negativism,  and criticism.

• Time line- over time our emotions to express positive verbal and nonverbal deteriorate. Again, it looks like the 2nd year is the best for the relationship and 7-11th years are the worse for expressing our emotions.  Also, during the 20-23rd years there is a slump in expressing emotions.  Again this may be due to the change in the family structure as the children could be leaving  home, leaving the husband and wife alone to adjust to being a couple and getting back to square one to their original relationship which they have probably forgotten what that looked like.

HOUSEWORK

• Housework satisfaction is the best the first two years of marriage. The 5-7th  year women become more dissatisfied in the amount of work the husband does.  Again lending to the decrease in satisfaction in the marriage.

• Housework perception - women feel they do about 54% of the housework and the men think they do about 42% the first year. The first two years the couple’s agree on their perception on the amount of work done by each person. After that there is a perception problem, meaning that men think they are doing more work but women disagree as to this amount. The 7th year the women think they are doing 71% of the housework and men think they are doing 36% which adds up to 107%! An error of 7% that someone thinks they are doing more than their spouse. Somewhere and somehow this is affecting the relationship as we see the women doing more work (27%) more and the men admitting only doing 14% less. A discrepancy of 13%! Awareness and fairness seem to be the key difference between a very satisfied and dissatisfied marriage.  It does appear though that after 30 years the husband does improve to about the same amount as the men who were first married.  However, the older women are still doing 10% more than the honeymoon wife!

CHILDREN

• Men’s satisfaction with the marriage drops 28% with the first child.  The wife satisfaction drops 19%.  Couples who do not have children find their marriage satisfaction drops between 8-15 years of their marriage. Nowhere in other marriages with children is there such a slump in marriage satisfaction.

• Children affect fatigue in sexual relations compared to those that don’t have children. This is about 15% more for men and 22% more for women.

EDUCATION

• A man’s education has little effect on men’s satisfaction with their marriage.  Whether a man has a high school education or a doctor’s degree, 55% of the men are very satisfied in their marriage.  To the contrary with some women in their degrees of education.  Women with some college are the least satisfied (43%) and those with a doctors degree (65%) are most satisfied in their marriage.   Women with a high school, associates, bachelors or masters  degree have about the same satisfaction range of 50-55%.

• The amount of education a man has, has little effect on woman’s marriage satisfaction whether their husbands has a high school or doctors degree. However, men whose wives have a bachelors or doctors degree seem more satisfied in their marriage.

• Women are gaining on education degrees in bachelors and masters in the last 8 years. Presently, there are more women that have bachelors but equal for masters.

OCCUPATION

• Educators as a whole have the highest ratings for both men and women for job satisfaction, satisfaction with spouse’s job, marriage satisfaction for both themselves and their spouses.  Education represents the highest population of all women’s occupations (16.0%) with stay at home moms representing 15.4%.  Men educators are third (6.8%) under sales (10.3%) and managers (9%).

• The three lowest job and marriage satisfaction with women are accounting, insurance and administrative assistants. For men they are: maintenance and industry-non-skilled.  Stay-at-home moms (44.75%) ranked the job of staying home and their marriage satisfaction higher compared to the average working women (38.5%) away from the home.

• The highest years of marriage satisfaction for professional working women are the same for educators which are 1-6  years. The highest years of marriage satisfaction  for stay-at-home moms are 1,2,5,6,8-15 years.

• Interesting to note the highest years of marriage satisfaction for stay-at-home moms is the years that it is the lowest marriage satisfaction for women without children.

SEX

Marriage satisfaction
• 43% of the very satisfied and 17% of the dissatisfied men have “exciting” sex very often.  35% of the very satisfied and 0% of the dissatisfied women have “exciting” sex very often.  Again, an awareness factor of the needs of the other is very important to connecting and having exciting sex.

• 63% of the very satisfied and 26% of the dissatisfied men have “pleasurable” sex very often and compared to 54% of the very satisfied women and 11% of the dissatisfied women.

Marital Types
• 42% of thevitalized and 6% of the conflicting  and 19% of the devitalizedmen have “exciting” sex very often compared to 42% of the vitalized and 0% of the conflicting and 6% of the devitalized women find sex exciting very often

Importance of  Sex
• Concluding for men, importance of sex and  “exciting” sex does not necessarily have to correlate with marriage satisfaction as much as it does for women.

Importance of Sex to Spouse
• Men value sex based on how important sex is to their spouse and their receptivity to it rather than how important sex is to them personally but women do not value this idea at all.  Women value sex based upon how it affects them personally in relation to the emotion and connection they feel from their husbands besides the physical act.

Perception of sex
• Women’s perception of sex important to men is 83.3% and actual to men is 81.3%. Men’s perception of sex important to women is 53.5% and actual to women is 65.3%.

Children’s effect
• The 7th through the 11th  year of marriage the children have the greatest negative effect on sexual fulfillment.  After the 16-19th year of marriage the children have less effect on sexual fulfillment on the marriage.

Fatigue’s effect
• Women of the age 38-43 claim the highest fatigue years for sexual fulfillment.  For men they are 36,37, and 47-49 years.  Fatigue doesn’t seem to be an issue for both couples after the age of 59 years for sex that is.

Sex Important
• 7th year most important to men. There seems to be a gulf between the genders on sex as being very important.  Important years to most men are 3,4,14,15 years. . It appears the first two years and the 8-9th years are very important to women.  The largest difference in importance to men and women are 3-4 year 47% men but only 24 % women feel it is very important. These are also years when sex is not as important to women probably because of pregnancy or having or caring for babies. Here again is a good reason to have good communication between spouses to talk through their differences. Overall survey says 37% of the men and 22% of the women consider sex very important. The other years where there is a major difference in importance are  20-23 years of marriage were 33% of men and only 13%  of the women feel this way. After the 28th year of marriage sex declines for both.  

• Trends in Sexual Importance.  As compared to 1998- n=185 women- sex very important was 20.3% to today n=1519 as 21.7% or an upturn for women of 6.5% but a downturn for men with n=186 sex very important was 41.4% as compared to today n=1519 as 35.8% or 14% drop in sexual importance in 8 years.

• Romance-Women want more romance between the 5-7 years of their marriage and men want less.  Men want more sex and women want less sex on the 7th year.  Again, could be a problem if there is not good honest communication.

• Affairs-  Highest incidence of affairs are in the 5 and 6 year of their marriage

CHURCH

• Active church women are little less very satisfied in their marriage (48.6%) as compared to those who are not active (49.5%) in their church. It is just the opposite for active church men(55.9%) as compared to not active (54.6 %)

ISSUES

• Men say money is the #1 thing the couple argues or fights about and women say it is priorities. The next in line is house chores, house maintenance, childrearing, communication and trivia matters.

• Feelings and stress is the most difficult for men to talk about and sex is the most difficult for women.  Sex, money and worries are most difficult for both of them

• Top 3 priorities for women are their spouse, children and extended family and for men it is spouse, children and job.

• Women have more irritations about their spouse than do men.  Women have 23 complaints and men have 7 complaints.  Women’s major complaints are: not listening, procrastination, snoring, lack of sensitivity, TV, lack of communication.  Men’s two major complaints are: nagging, and on the phone too much.  The only one they both agree on is that they say their spouse is indecisive.

• Lifestyle that very satisfied women agree on is major decisions together.  Factors that affect dissatisfaction for dissatisfied women are: housework, self goals, meaningfulconversation. Agreeing on major decisions with spouse is a major factor for men. Factors affecting dissatisfaction with dissatisfied men in their relationship are: housework and meaningful conversation

• People that are most satisfied and vitalized in their relationship have less financial issues.  People that have a conflicting type of marriage have the most financial issues.

MISCELLANEOUS

Affairs
• Women who feel indifferent or unsure of their marriage and men who are taken for grantedhave the most affairs as far as marriage satisfaction

• Both genders that are in a conflicting type marriage have the most affairs. Men have most of their affairs when they have been married 5-7 or 16-19 years of marriage or at 28-30 years of age.

• Couples in conflicting type marriages have as an issue not being ableto discuss about affairs.

Cohabitation
• 
Cohabitation has leveled off 47-48%  of the populous having cohabited in the last 3 years.  People that have been married 45+ years did not cohabitate!  Cohabitation took its biggest jump 16-20 years ago or about 36-37% of the population.  People who have cohabited the most are between the ages of 24-40 today.

• There isn’t much difference in marriage satisfaction with women who have or have not cohabited with 49.1% and 48.7% respectively in marriage satisfaction. There is a bit more significance with men though.  Men’s marriage satisfaction drops who did not cohabit from 57.2% to 53.2% for those that did cohabit.  Not sure if one of the factors could be how sex, and control of the relationship may have played a part in the marriage.

• The traditional marital type had the least cohabitation and the finance focus and the conflicting couple had the most cohabitation or 29% to 53% respectively.

• Women who felt taken for granted and men who were unsure of their marriage cohabited the most.  It sounds like he is still unsure of the relationship.

• People who cohabit are almost 1.4X times for women and 1.8X times likely to have affairs as those that didn’t.

Pornography
• 
Men of all ages are into pornography.  Even men that are in their 70’s!  Ages like 28-30-17% ,
26-27- 13%, 41-45-13% are the greatest of all  populations.

• The 7th year itch in the marriage is the greatest number of men into pornography – 18% of that married group.  Also, men who are in their 5-6 year and 14-17 years of their marriage.

• Speculation of why this may be is lack of attention and communication from the wife due to children who need a lot of attention at this time in the  marriage.

• Men that have a conflicting or devitalized marriage are most inclined to be more into pornography.  31% conflicting and 22% devitalized.  Again all marriage types have this problem from 5%-11%.

• Men that are dissatisfied in their marriage are 3 times to be involved into pornography as compared to very satisfied marriage. 27% to 9% respectively.

Trends
• 
Marriages are on the decline.  In 1960 of the total population,  88% of the men and 87% of the women were married and today it is 71% of the women and 69% of the men.  A decline of 18% for the women and 22% for the men.

• Marriage satisfaction has declined 7% for men and 4% for  women in the last 8 years

• In a 10 year study of  8 Central Illinois counties marriages have decreased 16% as well as divorces have decreased 16%.

• The cause of the decline both for divorces is probably caused by less people getting married but the decline of marriages is largely in part because of cohabitation.

• 10 year study of 8 Central Illinois counties show divorce/marriage ratio has ranged from 65% low to 73% high.

DIVORCE

 It appears counties with larger towns like Peoria and Bloomington-Normal have less divorce. It appears that LaSalle county is the only county that has decreased in divorce to marriage ratio in the last 10 years.  However, it is still above the average of the 8 counties with 77% divorce.  There were a few years it had 96%, 98%,99% divorce. The county that has had the most erratic change has been Marshall county from 52% in 1998 to 108% and 109% in 1999 and 2002 respectively. Having the smallest populous of the 8 counties may be a factor.  Livingston county had the greatest increase of 15% divorce over 2005.