"With This Ring...A National Survey on Marriage In America" is a national telephone survey of 1,503 Americans age 18 and older conducted late in 2003 and early in 2004 that asked questions about attitudes toward marriage, aspirations for marriage, and past experience with marriage.
National Fatherhood Initiative. Please see www.fatherhood.org for the complete study.
Appendix A: Marriage Questionnaire With Responses (pgs 29-35)

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NOTE: Newer information on the same topics is available on The Divorce Statistics and Studies Blog. But a lot of important, pre-2008 information is collected only on this site, the Divorce Statistics Collection. So you should check both this site and the blog.

Attitudes Toward Marriage and Divorce

I am going to read you a list of statements. After I read each statement, please tell me whether you strongly agree with it, somewhat agree with it, somewhat disagree with it, or strongly disagree with it.

1. In the absence of violence and extreme conflict, parents who have an unsatisfactory marriage should stay together until their children are grown.
Agree 43%
Disagree 56%

2. Divorce is a serious national problem in the United States today.
Agree 94%
Disagree 7%

3. Society would be better off if divorces were harder to get.
Agree 59%
Disagree 41%

4. Couples who marry should make a lifelong commitment to one another, to be broken only under extreme circumstances.
Agree 88%
Disagree 12%

5. Couples who have children together ought to be married.
Agree 74%
Disagree 26%

6. Given how long people are living these days, it is unrealistic to expect a couple to remain married to one another for life,
Agree 21%
Disagree 78%

7. Fathers are as important as mothers for the proper development of children.
Agree 97%
Disagree 3%

8. If they are determined to do so, divorced couples can parent as can most parents who live together.
Agree 47%
Disagree 53%
9. It should be harder for parents of children under age 18 to get a divorce than it is for couples who do not have young children.
Agree 41%
Disagree 59%

10. Either spouse should be allowed to terminate a marriage at any time for any reason.
Agree 29%
Disagree 71%

11. Most married couples I know have happy, healthy marriages.
Agree 73%
Disagree 27%

12. There should be a waiting period of about a year between divorce filing and the time when a divorce can be granted to give the couple a chance to reconsider their decision to divorce.
Agree 73%
Disagree 25%

13. All things being equal, it is better for children to be raised in a household that has a married mother and father.
Agree 89%
Disagree 11%

14. Marriage is an old-fashioned, outmoded institution.
Agree 13%
Disagree 88%

15. All couples considering marriage should be encouraged to get premarital counseling before they marry.
Agree 87%
Disagree 14%

16. All couples considering marriage should be required by law to have premarital counseling before they marry.
Agree 47%
Disagree 53%

17. It is a good idea for couples considering marriage to live together in order to decide whether or not they get along well enough to be married to one another.
Agree 40%
Disagree 61%

18. Which of the following is in your opinion the more important characteristic of a good marriage. It:
Promotes the happiness and well being of the married individuals. 13%
Produces children who are well adjusted and who will become good citizens. 10%
The two are about equally important. 74%
Neither is an important characteristic of a good marriage. 4%

Marital and Relationship History

1. Did your two biological parents marry one another?
Yes, before I was born 91%
Yes, after I was born 4%
No, never married 5%

2. If yes, before or after respondent was born...Have your parents divorced one another?
Yes 23%
No 77%

3. If yes...How old were you when your parents divorced? (Exact age recorded in data set)
Under age 16 75%
Age 16 or older 25%

4. Are you currently married, widowed, divorced, separated, or have you never been married?
Married 60%
Widowed 9%
Divorced 11%
Separated 2%
Never married 18%

5. If widowed, divorced, separated, or never-married...Are you now romantically involved with someone, a man or a woman you think of as a steady, a lover, a partner, or the like?
Yes 39%
No 61%

6. If yes...Do you live with that person?
Yes 38%
No 62%

7. If married, widowed, or separated...Have you ever been divorced?
Yes 23%
No 77%

8. If yes, or if currently divorced...How many times have you been divorced?
Once 75%
Twice 18%
Three times 5%
Four times 2%
Five times 0.2%
Six times 0.5%

9. Think about your divorce (or your first divorce if divorced more than once). Who filed for the divorce, you or your spouse?
Respondent 66%
Spouse 34%

10. Who was more motivated to end the marriage, you or your spouse, or was the motivation about equal?
Respondent 54%
Spouse 21%
Equal motivation 26%

11. About how many years were you married before you separated? (Exact number recorded in data set)
Fewer than seven 45%
Seven to nineteen 44%
Twenty or more 11%

12. I'm going to read you a list of reasons why marriages fail. Tell me whether or not each factor was a MAJOR reason your marriage (or you first marriage if divorced more than once) failed. Select as many factors as apply.
Getting married too young 46%
Little or no helpful premarriage preparation 41%
Financial problems or economic hardship 28%
Religious differences between partners 13%
Conflict about who should do what around the house and/or with children 22%
Domestic violence 29%
Infidelity, extramarital affairs 55%
Too much conflict and arguing 56%
Lack of commitment by one or both persons to make it work 73%
Lack of support from family members 19%
Unrealistic expectations of marriage by one or both spouses 45%
Lack of equality in the relationship 44%

13. Looking back at your divorce (or first divorce) do you wish that it had been more difficult-from a legal standpoint-to get a divorce?
Yes 20%
No 80%

14. Do you ever wish that you, yourself, had worked harder to save your marriage?
Yes 26%
No 74%

15. Do you ever wish that your spouse had worked harder to save the marriage?
Yes 62%
No 38%

16. Did you have any kind of premarital counseling before you married?
Yes, provided by a church or other religious organization 34%
Yes, provided by a secular marriage counselor 3%
No 63%

If currently married...I'm going to ask you a few questions about your marriage.

17. How long have you been married to your spouse (current spouse)? (Exact number of years recorded in data set) Taking things altogether, how would you describe your marriage? Would you say it is very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?
Very happy 69%
Pretty happy 28%
Not too happy 4%

18. All in all, how satisfied are you with your marriage? Are you completely satisfied, very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, not very satisfied, or not satisfied?
Completely satisfied 50%
Very satisfied 39%
Somewhat satisfied 9%
Not very satisfied 2%
Not at all satisfied 1%

19. Would you marry the same person if you had it to do over again?
Yes 93%
No 7%

20. Do you expect to be married for life?
Yes 97%
No 3%

21. Since you married (married your current spouse), have you ever considered filing for divorce?
Yes 13%
No 87%

22. Would you attend marriage strengthening classes if they were made available to you at no cost?
Yes 57%
No 43%

23. If widowed or divorced...Would you like to remarry?
Yes 39%
No 61%

Would you attend pre-marital education classes if they were made available to you at no cost?
Yes 73%
No 27%

*Note: Agree percentage equals combined percentage of Agree and Strongly Agree.
*Note: Disagree percentage equals combined percentage of Disagree and Strongly Disagree.
*Note: Respondents who refused to answer, who said "don't know" in response to the question, or for which the question was not applicable are excluded from the base for percentages.

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