History: PAIR Project Biographical Sketch History: PAIR Team Memories People: Current Staff of the Project People: Key Collaborators with the Project People: Student Contributors to the Project People: PAIR Photo Gallery Research: PAIR Project Methods Research: PAIR Quantitative Data Research: PAIR Qualitative Data Research: PAIR Results, Findings, & Abstracts PAIR News & Updates

Welcome to the PAIR Project's newly redesigned site! This site is best viewed in Netscape. To navigate through our site, use the navigation bar on the left-hand side of this page. You may also wish to visit our sitemap to help you find particular resources of interest. Or, if you prefer, you can still find resources through the old PAIR website.

Introduction to the Project

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:

  • Women who sense future problems while they are courting generally find out after they are married that their concern was well founded.
  • Couples who are particularly lovey-dovey as newlyweds are likely to divorce.
  • Whether a marriage will be happy or whether it is headed for the divorce court can be foretold from how things go during its first two years.
  • Men with traits stereotyped as "feminine" make better husbands. Or as the headline of an interview with one of the authors put it:"Best Husbands Do Eat Quiche."
  • The extent of differences in tastes and ideas among couples does not predict divorce. Some couples bury their concerns over such differences; others brood over them. Those who brood are more likely to divorce.
  • Anxiety, moodiness, and emotional swings in the wife or the husband do not preordain divorce, but they are related to unhappiness in marriage.
  • The birth of a child transforms couples' lifestyles, but it does not change the feelings of husbands or wives have about each other.

For a more detailed list of our research conclustions, visit our list of Findings. In addition, summaries of PAIR Project research can befound in the Abstracts of our publications.