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"With Love, From Me to You": The Impact of Love Stories Heard on Love Stories Lived

  • Author(s): Shapiro, Lauren
  • Advisor(s): Thorne, Avril
  • et al.

This study compared how newlyweds whose parents were either married (NMs) or divorced (NDs) incorporated lessons learned from others' love stories into their own decision to marry. Fifty-six newlyweds (37 NMs, 19 NDs) were interviewed about their decision to marry, their parents' love story, their peers' love stories, and other love stories that influenced them, such as novels and other media. Responses were coded for the source of influential love stories, lessons learned from these stories, themes of parents' love stories and their direction of influence, and own marriage decision rationale. NDs were less likely than NMs to report being influenced by parents' love stories, more likely to be negatively influenced by parents' love stories, more likely to view such stories as practical rather than romantic, and more likely to marry for romantic than practical reasons. Otherwise, the two groups did not differ with regard to the lessons they learned from others' love stories or the reasons they provided for deciding to marry. The findings suggest that regardless of parents' marital status, young adults reconcile multiple and often contradictory models of romantic relationships when making the decision to marry.

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