RESEARCH PAPER
Can close romantic relationships last? The commitment of partners in married and cohabitant couples
 
More details
Hide details
1
Institute of Psychology, University of Lodz, Poland
Submission date: 2019-02-03
Final revision date: 2019-05-14
Acceptance date: 2019-05-16
Online publication date: 2019-06-19
Publication date: 2019-11-04
 
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2019;7(3):203–211
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Background:
Western studies indicate the significance of commitment in close emotional relationships. Interpersonal com-mitment is regarded as a process which is indispensable for building and strengthening close relationships, and is associated with the continuation of relationships between happy or unhappy partners. With this in mind, interpersonal commitment is an important topic for analysis. A theory by Stanley and Markman served as the inspiration for conducting studies on the commitment of partners in permanent relationships in Poland.

Participants and procedure:
The results for 260 couples (160 marriages and 100 cohabiting couples) were finally submitted for analysis. All the participants (N = 520) were aged from 19 to 68 (M = 33.01, SD = 11.16). The mean ages of the participants were 31.98 years (SD = 10.95) for women and 34.03 years (SD = 11.30) for men. The Interpersonal Commit-ment Questionnaire (KZI) was used to analyse the perception of the relationships; this is the Polish version of the Commitment Inventory by Stanley and Markman.

Results:
The present findings indicate that marriages tend to portend better than cohabitations. The permanence of mar-riage is based on dedication, reflecting the significance of the relationship, and constraint commitment, which regards concern for the partner’s well-being. The latter may hinder partners, especially men, from leaving the relationship.

Conclusions:
Studies conducted in Poland tend to produce very similar results to those performed in the US concerning the level of commitment by partners in cohabiting relationships. It may be concluded that the type of commitment is specified more closely by the form of the relationship rather than the socio-cultural conditions in which the cou-ples live.

 
REFERENCES (51)
1.
Baxter, J., Haynes, M., & Hewitt, B. (2010). Pathways into marriage: Cohabitation and the domestic division of labour. Journal of Family Issues, 31, 1507–1529.
 
2.
Binstock, G. (2003). Separations, reconciliations and living apart in cohabiting and marital unions. Journal of Marriage and Family, 65, 432–443.
 
3.
Brown, S. I., & Booth, A. (1996). Cohabitation versus marriage: A comparison of relationship quality. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 668–678.
 
4.
Brown, S. L. (2003). Relationship quality dynamics of cohabitating unions. Journal of Family Issues, 24, 583–601.
 
5.
Carswell, K. L., & Finkel, E. J. (2018). Can you get the magic back? The moderating effect of passion decay beliefs on relationship commitment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 115, 1002–1033.
 
6.
Chechliński, W. (1981). Kohabitacja – nowe zjawisko życia rodzinnego [Cohabitation – a new phenom-enon in family life]. In M. Ziemska & A. Kwak (Eds.), Funkcjonowanie rodziny a problemy profilaktyki społecznej i resocjalizacji [Family functioning and problems of social prevention and rehabilitation] (pp. 27–35). Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego.
 
7.
Ermisch, J., & Francesconi, M. (1998). Cohabitation in Great Britain: Not for long, but here to stay. Col-chester: ISER, University of Essex.
 
8.
General Statistical Office (2016). Demographic Yearbook of Poland. Warsaw: General Statistical Office.
 
9.
Givertz, M., Burke, T., Segrin, C., & Woszidlo, A. (2016). Attachment orientation moderates the rela-tionship between dedication and constraint commitment and felt constraint in married couples. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 1, 1–11.
 
10.
Givertz, M., Segrin, C., & Hanzal, A. (2009). The association between satisfaction and commitment differs across marital couple types. Communication Research, 36, 561–584.
 
11.
Givertz, M., Segrin, C., & Woszidlo, A. (2016a). Direct and indirect effects of commitment on interde-pendence and satisfaction in married couples. Journal of Family Psychology, 30, 214–220.
 
12.
Gold, K. J., Sen, A., & Hayward, R. A. (2010). Marriage and cohabitation outcomes after pregnancy loss. Pediatrics, 5, 125–202.
 
13.
Hadden, B. W., Knee, C. R., DiBello, A. M., & Rodriguez, L. M. (2015). High alternatives, low invest-ments, no problem: A motivation perspective on the investment model. Motivation Science, 1, 244–261.
 
14.
Hohenester, B. (2000). Dyadische Einheit. Zur sozialen Konstitution der ehelich Beziehung [Dyadic unit. On the social constitution of marital relationship]. Konstanz: UVK Universitätsverlag Konstanz GmbH.
 
15.
Hsueh, A. C., Morrison, K. R., & Doss, B. D. (2009). Qualitative reports of problems in cohabiting relationships: Comparisons to married and dating relationships. Journal of Family Psychology, 23, 236–246.
 
16.
Janicka, I. (2006). Kohabitacja a małżeństwo w perspektywie psychologicznej [Cohabitation and marria-ge in psychological perspective]. Łódź: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego.
 
17.
Janicka, I. (2008). Stosunki partnerskie w związkach niemałżeńskich [Partnership in nonmarital rela-tionships]. Przegląd Psychologiczny, 1, 37–53.
 
18.
Janicka, I. (2009). Ryzyko kryzysów i konfliktów w związkach kohabitacyjnych [The risk of crises and conflicts in cohabiting relationships]. Przegląd Psychologiczny, 52, 293–308.
 
19.
Janicka, I. (2010). Jakość małżeństw poprzedzonych kohabitacją [Quality of marriages preceded by cohabitation]. In T. Rostowska & A. Peplińska (Eds.), Psychospołeczne aspekty życia rodzinnego [Psychosocial aspects of family life] (pp. 94–109]. Warszawa: Difin.
 
20.
Janicka, I., & Szymczak, W. (2017). Kwestionariusz zaangażowania interpersonalnego – polska adap-tacja [Interpersonal Commitment Questionnaire – polish adaptation]. Polskie Forum Psychologiczne, 2, 205–218.
 
21.
Kaźmierczak, M. (2008). Oblicza empatii w relacjach małżeńskich [Faces of empathy in marital rela-tionships]. Gdańsk: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Gdańskiego.
 
22.
Kelmer, G., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S., & Markman, H. J. (2013). Relationship quality, commitment, and stability in long-distance relationships. Family Process, 52, 257–270.
 
23.
Keong-il, K. (2008). Alternative forms of marriage and family in colonial Korea. The Review of Korean Studies, 11, 61–82.
 
24.
Kline, G. H., Stanley, S. M., Markman, H. J., Olmos-Gallo, P. A., Peters, M. S., Whitton, S. W., & Prado, L. M. (2004). Timing is everything: Pre-engagement cohabitation and increased risk for poor marital outcomes. Journal of Family Psychology, 2, 311–318.
 
25.
Knopp, K. C., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (2015). Stuck on you: How dedica-tion moderates the way constraints feel. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 32, 119–137.
 
26.
Landis, M., Bodenmann, G., Bradbury, T. N., Brandstätter, V., Peter-Wight, M., Backes, S., Sutter-Stickel, D., & Nussbeck, F. W. (2014). Commitment and dyadic coping in long-term relationships. GeroPsych, 27, 139–149.
 
27.
Lemay, E. P. (2016). The forecast model of relationship commitment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 111, 34–52.
 
28.
Lichner, D. T., & Qian, Z. (2008). Serial cohabitation and the marital life course. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 70, 861–878.
 
29.
Mortensen, O., Torsheim, T., Melkevik, O., & Thuen, F. (2012). Adding a baby to the equation. Married and cohabiting women’s relationship satisfaction in the transition to parenthood. Family Process, 51, 122–139.
 
30.
Nave-Herz, R. (2002). Wandel und Kontinuität in der Bedeutung, in der Struktur und Stabilität von Ehe und Familie in Deutschland [Change and continuity in the meaning, in the structure and stability of marriage and family in Germany]. In R. Nave-Herz (Ed.), Kontinuität und Wandel der Familie in Deutschland [Continuity and change of the family in Germany] (pp. 45–69). Stuttgart: Enke.
 
31.
Nave-Herz, R. (2003). Familie zwischen Tradition und Moderne [Family between tradition and moderni-ty]. Oldenburg: Bibliotheks- und Informationssystem der Universität Oldenburg.
 
32.
Owen, J., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (2011). The Revised Commitment Inven-tory: Psychometrics and use with unmarried couples. Journal of Family Issues, 32, 820–841.
 
33.
Park, Y., Impett, E. A., MacDonald, G., & Lemay, E. P. Jr. (2019). Saying “thank you”: Partners’ ex-pressions of gratitude protect relationship satisfaction and commitment from the harmful effects of attachment insecurity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspi00....
 
34.
Popenoe, D., & Whitehead, B. (2004). The State of Our Unions. The National Marriage Project. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
 
35.
Pryor, J., & Roberts, J. (2005). What is commitment? How married and cohabiting parents talk about their relationship. Family Matters, 71, 24–31.
 
36.
Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., Kelmer, G., & Markman, H. J. (2010). Physical aggression in unmar-ried relationships: the roles of commitment and constraints. Journal of Family Psychology, 6, 678–687.
 
37.
Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (2006). Pre-engagement cohabitation and gender asymmetry in marital commitment. Journal of Family Psychology, 20, 553–560.
 
38.
Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (2009). Couples relations for cohabitation: Associa-tions with individual well-being and relationship quality. Journal of Family Issues, 2, 233–258.
 
39.
Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (2012a). The impact of the transition to cohabitation on relationship functioning: Cross-sectional and longitudinal findings. Journal of Family Psycholo-gy, 26, 348–358.
 
40.
Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (2012b). A longitudinal investigation of commitment dynamics in cohabiting relationships. Journal of Family Issues, 33, 369–390.
 
41.
Schoebi, D., Karney, B. R., & Bradbury, T. N. (2012). Stability and change in the first 10 years of mar-riage: Does commitment confer benefits beyond the effects of satisfaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102, 729–742.
 
42.
Schoen, R., & Weinick, M. (1993). Partner choice in marriages and cohabitations. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 55, 408–414.
 
43.
Seltzer, J. (2000). Families formed outside of marriage. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 1247–1268.
 
44.
Smock, P. (2000). Cohabitation in the United States: An appraisal of research themes, findings and implications. Annual Review of Sociology, 26, 1–20.
 
45.
Stanley, S., & Markman, H. (1992). Assessing commitment in personal relationships. Journal of Mar-riage and the Family, 54, 595–608.
 
46.
Stanley, S. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Markman, H. J. (2006). Sliding versus deciding: Inertia and the premarital cohabitation effect. Family Relations, 55, 499–509.
 
47.
Stanley, S. M., Whitton, S. W., & Markman, H. J. (2004). Maybe I do: Interpersonal commitment and premarital or non-marital cohabitation. Journal of Family Issues, 25, 496–519.
 
48.
Thomson, E., & Colella, U. (1992). Cohabitation and marital stability: Quality or commitment? Journal of Marriage and the Family, 54, 259–267.
 
49.
Winer, B. J., Brown, D. R., & Michels, K. M. (1991). Statistical Principles in Experimental Design. Third Edition. Boston: McGraw-Hill, Inc.
 
50.
Wojciszke, B. (2009). Psychologia miłości [Psychology of Love]. Gdańsk: Gdańskie Wydawnictwo Psychologiczne.
 
51.
Xu, X., Hudspeth, C. D., & Bartkowski, J. P (2006). The role of cohabitation in remarriage. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68, 261–274.
 
eISSN:2353-561X
ISSN:2353-4192