Couples Define Marital Commitment in One of Two Ways, Study Finds

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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How do couples define marital commitment? A new study coming out of UCLA found what saying those vows actually means to the average person.

Based on an analysis of 172 married couples over the first 11 years of their marriage, the study’s researchers found couples tend to subscribe to one of two different models for commitment.

In the first model, couples liked each other and wanted to continue their relationship. In the second model, couples were willing to do whatever it took to maintain the relationship.

“Couples tend to subscribe to one of

two different models for commitment.”

Framing these two different models of commitment, researchers noted couples that followed the second “do anything to make it work” model were less likely to divorce.

The study confirmed lasting commitment has at least as much to do with a willingness to compromise as appreciation for what naturally works between you and your partner, a reality some couples fail to understand.

“The people who ended their marriages would have said they were very committed to the marriage,” said senior study author Thomas Bradbury. “But they did not have the resolve to say, ‘Honey, we need to work on this; it’s going to be hard, but it’s important.’”

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