The Ideal Marriage vs. The Reality of a Bad Marriage: The Experiences of Mexican-American Women

Kristine Hopkins, University of Texas at Austin

Using in-depth interviews, we explore Mexican-American women's attitudes about ideal marriages, bad marriages, and their assessment of why marriage is becoming less common among people they know. Women seem to be able to clearly articulate an ideal marriage, but only about half claim to actually know anyone with this type of marriage. Most women have strong opinions about what makes for a “bad marriage” and they can provide clear examples of people they know in bad marriages, and many claim to have experienced one themselves. When asked why couples are marrying less, the majority of women draw on their notions that most marriages are bad and will likely end in divorce, which prevents most couples from wanting to marry in the first place. Finally, they believe that their “reality” of marriage will fall short of their “ideal,” and thus many avoid a(nother) marriage to avoid this inner conflict.

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Presented in Poster Session 1