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The PAIR Project is a long-term study of courtship and marriage that began in 1981 with 168 newlyweds. We collected information on the couples' courtships and early marital experiences, and followed couples across the years to their eventual relationship destinations. (For a basic overview of that aspect of Project, see our biographical sketch).
PAIR Project research shows that elements that lead to divorce reveal themselves during courtship, and that they are strongly evident during the first two years of marriage. Our work also describes the lifestyles couples create early in marriage ó including how they divide household work, how involved they are in each otherís leisure, and how affectionate they are. These features of couplesí lifestyles are related to conjugal well-being and the durability of the marriage. The project also highlights the connection between the social and psychological characteristics partners bring to a marriage and the stability of their marriages thirteen years later.
Why the Project is of Interest
People who watch a man and a woman courting or learn about their marriage almostinvariably wonder about the fate that awaits them as a couple. This project, based on oneof the few long-term study of married couples that began when they were newlyweds,provides a sophisticated analysis of the circumstances that influence how marriages workthemselves out. The project addresses problems and processes common to all courtships andmarriages. These are some of the conclusions, many of them never before considered ordocumented in writings about marriage: