Want a happy marriage? Why putting out too early might be a problem!
My article here gave some compelling reasons on why getting married is a good thing. Although there are many variables and sacrifices made to have a great marriage, I would like to talk about a controversial one, sex. Most religions promote abstinence until marriage which will yield long-term happiness while others believe in instant gratification and feel out a partner before settling down.
A study at Brigham Young University by Dr. Busby concluded that “demonstrated that sexual restraint was associated with better relationship outcomes, even when controlling for education, the number of sexual partners, religiosity, and relationship length”. The study had 2,035 married people that participated in an online questionnaire and the findings suggest an improvement in communication (12% better), thinking of divorce (22% lesser), sex quality (15% better) and relationship overall satisfaction (20% higher). These benefits were to a lesser extent seen on those who had sex later on in a committed long term relationship which was leading towards marriage (1).
A study by Dr. Sharon Sassler et al. which analyzed data from the Marital and Relationship Survey, showed the benefits of delayed sexual relations. Her findings showed “that speed of entry into sexual relationships is negatively associated with marital quality, but only among women” (2).
If you love mathematics, researchers Robert M. Seymour, and Peter D. Sozou using game theory show how a “good” male is willing to take time and court longer than a “bad” male. Duration of courtship effort shows his confidence in suitability while the female screens him. A “good” male is one that is willing to take care of her and the kids after intercourse (3).
Viewing the science and looking back at past experiences, I agree with the research. Sex can be used as an awkwardness buffer just like how people pretend to be on their cell phones during an uncomfortable moment. I can see myself being much more objective in my wants and needs and more inclined to leave a relationship guilt free if sex was not involved. Dr. Scott Stanley used the term sliding versus deciding. Some people will slide into relationship transitions like sex, cohabitation or pregnancy without really talking it over and deciding (impulsive). With each transition, there is more pressure (guilt, duty) to stay in the relationship. So instead of a committed relationship, you feel constrained (4).
If someone claims they can “love me at first sight”, without really knowing me, how easy would it be for them to fall in and out of love with me or someone else? What happens when that “first sight” becomes many and loses its allure?
So what do you guys think? Do you agree with the research and my opinion? Should you love with your heart, brain or a combination of both? Does the thrill of instant gratification overrule patience and long-term happiness?
If you like this article, subscribe, accept push notifications or like my page as my next article will see if virginity or lack of overall sexual partners leads to a longer and happier marriage.
(1) Busby, D., Carroll, J., & Willoughby, B. (2010). Compatibility or restraint? The effects of sexual timing on marriage relationships. Journal Of Family Psychology, 24(6), 766-774. http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/fam/24/6/766/
(2) Sassler, S., Addo, F., & Lichter, D. (2012). The Tempo of Sexual Activity and Later Relationship Quality. Journal Of Marriage And Family, 74(4), 708-725. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/262959345_The_Tempo_of_Sexual_Activity_and_Later_Relationship_Quality
(3) Robert M. Seymour & Peter D. Sozou (2016) Duration of courtship effort as a costly signal. Else.econ.ucl.ac.uk. Retrieved 16 October 2016, from http://else.econ.ucl.ac.uk/papers/uploaded/321.pdf
(4) Owen, J., Rhoades, G., & Stanley, S. (2013). Sliding Versus Deciding in Relationships: Associations With Relationship Quality, Commitment, and Infidelity. Journal Of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 12(2), 135-149. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3656416/