Marriage in the United States

Marriage in the United States
Chart illustrating marital status in the United States

Marriage is the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law. [1] However, marriage can also be the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage. [1] It has traditionally been an important part of American society.

This article covers areas from the history of marriage to marriage rituals and same-sex marriages. Statistics on marriage are recorded for the various ethnicities, ages, economic statuses, etc. and cover a range of categories. Wedding ceremonies can be either religious or civil, and both often follow certain traditions related to the couple's culture.[2] Foreigners who are married to U.S. citizens and want to become citizens themselves can use their marriage to help them get green cards. Some marriages are happy, but some are unhappy and full of problems, so they end in divorce.



Only rarely in American history has love been seen as the main reason for getting married.[3] In the early 18th century prospects often said they looked for "candor" in each other, meaning fairness, kindliness, and good temper. [3]"People wanted a spouse who did not pry too deeply. The ideal mate, wrote U.S. President John Adams in his diary, was willing 'to palliate faults and mistakes, to put the best construction upon words and actions, and to forgive injuries.' "[4]

Since the founding of the country marriage between whites and persons of color were derived as “immoral” and “unnatural”. In 1948, the California Supreme Court became the first state high court to declare a ban on interracial marriage unconstitutional. In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down remaining interracial marriage laws nation wide.[5]

In the United States there are three basic marriage models: The historic Judaic-Christian marriage model, the Romantic marriage model, and the Rationalistic marriage model.[6] The historic Judaic-Christian model has roots deep within Jewish tradition.[6] This model views marriage as a very special gift from God that should be used for man’s benefit.[6] By taking care of his spouse and living life the way God intended for man to live, man therefore serves God.[6] According to this model, a man and woman experience a very special bond through marriage.[6] Though not commonly referred to as a sacrament to American Protestants, Roman Catholics commonly refer marriage as a sacrament.[6] The Judaic-Christian model believes that the institution of marriage is a creation of God and that the couple is joined together by God.[6] The purpose and function of marriage in this model is to have companionship between man and woman, to love each other, and to help one another with the daily struggles of everyday life. [6] The second purpose is to have children and be an outlet for sexual expression.[6]

The first new marriage models to emerge in the United States was the romantic one. [7]The romantic model copied emerging themes. [7]This model had an enormous impact on the United States. It was not known when exactly romantic love became apart of a marriage model because it was not originally associated with marriage.[7] Troubadours, poets, and writers of popular love songs magnified the attention. In the romantic model, marriage is optional and may therefore be impermanent. [7]This has had a large impact on the emergence of the newest marriage model, the rationalistic.[7]

In the romantic marriage model, two individuals find themselves drawn together by love. However, one of the problems with the romantic marriage model is the social irresponsibility.[8] Assuring stability in the family has now become a main focus.[8] This is when the rationalistic marriage model came into play.[8] In the rationalistic marriage model, two people are not only drawn together by love, they are drawn together by common traits.[8] With this marriage model, mates are carefully chosen based on personal and social traits of the two individuals.[8] Not only is this marriage model based on fidelity, one of the main goals is the pure happiness of the people involved.[8]

In 1940, the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study about premarital sex life. Male students who participated had great difficulty in facing marriage with a girl who has had sexual relations.[9] They adhered to society's double standard that men may have many sexual relations but it is socially unacceptable when women have many sexual relations[citation needed]


As of 2006, 55.7% of Americans age 18 and over were married.[10] According to '2008-2010 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates' males over the age of 15 have married 51.5%. Females over the age of 15 have married 47.7%. The separation for is 1.8% for males and .1% for females.[citation needed]

Marriage has occurred later in life than ever before.[citation needed]

African Americans have married the least of all of the predominant groups (White, African American, American Indian, Asian, Hispanic) in the U.S. with 29.9% marriage rate but have the highest separation rate with 4.5%. This also causes an extremely high rate of single mother house holds among African Americans.

American Indians have the second lowest marriage rate with 37.9%. Hispanics have a 45.1% marriage rate, with a 3.5% separation rate.

Asians (58.5%) and Whites (52.9%) have two highest marriage rates. Asians have the lowest rate of divorce among the main groups with 1.8%. Shown by the rate of marriage in the labor force which is roughly 50% across the board (49-52%) for females and males over the age of 16.[clarification needed]

Whites, African Americans, and Indian Americans have the highest rates of being widowed ranging from 5%-6.5%. They also have the highest rates of divorce among the three, ranging from 11%-13% with American Indians having the highest divorce rate.[11]

According to the 2010 U.S. census bureau, the average family income is $62,770.[12] The percentage of family households below the poverty line in 2011 (15.1%) is 3.8% higher than it was in 2000.[13]

In 2009, 2,077,000 marriages occurred in the United States.[14] The median age for Americans' first marriage has increased in recent years,[11] with the median age at first marriage in the early 1970s being 21 for women and 23 for men, and in 2009, it had risen to 26 for women and 28 for men.[15]

Sociology of Marriage

In 2004, Northwestern University developed a basic marriage course. It covered seven domains:

  1. Love is not enough. Romantic attraction, good intentions, and happiness in courtship are not sufficient foundations for marriage.
  2. Personal maturity and self-understanding. "Know thyself" is the foremost key to marital success, and various studies show a positive correlation between emotional health and marital satisfaction.
  3. Capacity to assess compatibility with prospective partners. Compatible partner selection is important. Lovers are frequently misled by sexual pleasure, excessive idealization, and hopes to solve unconscious problems.
  4. Intimacy and personal barrier to achieving it. Happiness in marriage often hinges on the quantity and quality of intimate contact.
  5. Sexual satisfaction and compatibility is of importance.
  6. Conflict resolution and communication skills. The capacity to manage conflict well is currently the most robust predictor of marital happiness and stability and is an important mediator of the intergenerational transmission.
  7. Specific challenges that can undermine or overwhelm marriages. Many life problems impinge on marriages and can overtax otherwise adequate capacities to handle marital conflict. Expected marital changes include having children, relations with in-laws, time, and finances. Then a partner may also encounter more serious problems such as alcoholism, physical or emotional abuse, and extramarital affairs.[16]

Types of marriage

In the U.S., there are various types of marriage. Some basic types include the following. [17] Monogamy, which is when one person marries one other person, is the most common and acceptable form of marriage. [17] Serial monogamy is when individuals are permitted to marry again often on the death of the first spouse or after divorce but they cannot have more than one spouse at one and the same time. [17] Polygamy and polyandry are forms of marriage in which one man or one woman marries multiple women or men at a given time. [17] Part of the function of looking at marriage from a sociological perspective is to give insight into the reason behind various marital arrangements.


Reasons for marriage

There are a number of reasons why people choose to marry. The desire to have children is one; having a family is a high priority among many Americans.[19] People also desire love, companionship, commitment, continuity, and permanence.[19] There are some reasons for marriage that are ephemeral. These reasons include social legitimacy, social pressure, the desire for a high social status, economic security, rebellion or revenge, validation of an unplanned pregnancy.[19]

Theories about love

As mentioned previously, many people get married for love. Throughout history, love has increasingly become a priority in a marriage. There are a number of different theories about love. [20] Psychologist Zick Rubin proposed that romantic love is made up of three elements: attachment, caring and intimacy. [20] "Caring involves valuing the other persons' needs and happiness as much as your own. Intimacy refers to the sharing of thoughts, desires, and feelings with the other person." [20] From the development of his conception of love, Rubin devised a questionnaire called Rubin's Scales of Liking and Loving.[20] Along with romantic love, there is also compassionate love and passionate love as devised by psychologist Elaine Hatfield and her colleagues. [20] "Compassionate love is characterized by mutual respect, attachment, affection and trust."[20] It usually develops out of feelings of mutual understanding and shared respect for one another.[20] "Passionate love is characterized by intense emotions, sexual attraction, anxiety and affection."[20] It arises when people's expectation of falling in love and finding ideal love is believed to be fulfilled, and the person experiences arousal in the presence of their love interest. [20] Passionate love usually only lasts between 6 and 30 months, according to Hatfield.[20] It would be ideal to have passionate love lead to compassionate love, but Hatfield believes that this is rare.[20]

There are also many perspectives of love. A "Color Wheel Model of Love" including Lee's 6 Styles of Loving, and the Triangular Theory of Love are two of these perspectives. [20] In John Lee's 1973 book The Colors of Love, he compared styles of love to the color wheel. Just like colors, there are three primary styles of love: Eros, Ludos and Storge. [20] Eros is loving an ideal person, Ludos is love as a game, and Storge is love as friendship.[20] There are also three secondary styles in Lee's theory: Mania, Pragma, and Agape.[20] Mania is a combination of Eros and Ludos and means obsessive love. Pragma is a combination of Ludos and Storge which means realistic and practical love. Finally, Agape is a combination of Eros and Storge which becomes selfless love. [20] The Triangular Theory of Love is a theory proposed by Robert Sternberg. It suggests that there are three components of love: intimacy, passion, and commitment. [20] Various combinations of these components result in different types of love. "A combination of intimacy and commitment results in compassionate love, while a combination of passion and intimacy leads to passionate love." [20] Sternberg proposes that relationships built on at least two of these elements are more enduring and in order to consummate love, there must be a the combination of all three components. This type of love is the strongest and most enduring, however Sternberg believes that this kind of love is rare. [20]

Marriage rituals

All marriages begin with an engagement. The amount of time between the engagement and the actual wedding may be long or it may be short, it varies by couple. At this point, the significant others become known as a fiancé.[citation needed]

As the wedding ceremony draws close, three parties may occur. Women have a bridal shower and bachelorette party, while men have a bachelor party. Bridal showers are gift-giving parties for the bride-to-be and are hosted by a close friend of hers, typically a bridesmaid. Women may also choose to have a bachelorette party, in which the bride-to-be’s social circle celebrates her “last night as a single woman.” Bachelorette parties have the reputation of being an extremely wild girls night out. Men typically have a bachelor party, which was the influence for bachelorette parties. The celebration of the groom’s “last night as a single man” is typically organized by the best man and other friends of the groom and also has the reputation of being an outrageous night out.[citation needed]

After these societal norms, the couple has a wedding ceremony. In which, the bride and groom pledge commitment and love to the other. These four rituals (bridal shower, bachelorette party, bachelor party, and wedding) act as rites of passage from a single life to mature adulthood.[citation needed]

Wedding ceremonies

Most wedding traditions were assimilated from other countries, specifically Europe.[2] Wedding ceremonies in the United States have very few things in common.

Marriages in the U.S. are typically not arranged and may either be religious or civil. The tradition of the man meeting with his future father-in-law to ask for his blessing is a tradition that is rarely observed.[2] When it is the first wedding for the bride, a typical U.S. traditional wedding tends to be more elaborate. It is also tradition that the bride’s maid of honor plans a wedding shower prior to the wedding, where the bride-elect receives gifts from family and friends.[2]

More traditional U.S. weddings take place in a religious setting. The bride and groom invite all their family and friends. There may be bridesmaids and groomsmen, who include the maid of honor and best man.[2] Depending on the religion of the bride and groom, a religious leader (a priest, rabbi..etc) conducts the ceremony. During the ceremony, the bride and groom vow their love and commitment for one another with either written vows they have prepared themselves, or with the traditional vows that the church gives them.[2] Towards the end of the wedding ceremony it is often tradition for the religious leader to ask the congregation if they know of any reason why the man and woman should not be married.[2] If no one objects, the couple then exchanges rings, which symbolizes their never-ending love and commitment towards one another.[2] Finally, for the first time in public, the couple is pronounced husband and wife. It is then that they share their first kiss as a married couple and thus seal their union. [2]As the couple begins to leave the church, family and friends throw rice or wheat their way, which symbolizes fertility.[2]

After the actual wedding ceremony itself, there may be a wedding reception.[2] During this reception it is tradition that the best man and the maid of honor proposes a toast. [2]The couple may receive gifts.[2] These gifts allow the new couple to start their lives together. Lasting several days or weeks, the couple then usually goes on a honeymoon to celebrate their marriage.[2]


Marriage laws are established by individual states. In the United States, there are two methods of receiving state recognition of a marriage: common law marriage and obtaining a marriage license. Common-law marriage in the United States is no longer permitted in most states.[citation needed]

Though federal law does not regulate state marriage law, it does provide for rights and responsibilities of married couples that differ from those of unmarried couples. Reports published by the General Accounting Office in 1997 and 2004 identified over 1000 such laws.[citation needed]

Restrictions/Expansions of marriage

A major political issue that emerged in the United States in 2003 was the debate over whether to allow same-sex couples access to the institution of civil marriage. This major political issue is credited to three important court decisions. The court decisions are as follows: [21]

1.) "June 26, 2003: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that anti-gay sodomy laws violate the U.S. Constitution’s right to privacy.”[22]
2.) "November 18, 2003: The Massachusetts’s Supreme Judicial Court rules that denying marriage to same-sex couples violates the state’s constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.”[23]

Same-sex marriage in the United States is currently legal in six states: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York. Laws vary because marriage laws are the purview of individual states. The social movement to obtain the right of same-sex couples to marry began in the early 1970s, and the issue became prominent in U.S. politics in the 1990s. Massachusetts has recognized same-sex marriage since 2004. Nine states and the District of Columbia offer same-sex legal unions that offer some or all of the rights and responsibilities of marriage, but these rights are not automatic with civil union as a result of a federal statute.[24] In contrast, twenty-six states have constitutional amendments explicitly barring the recognition of same-sex marriage. Forty-three states have statutes restricting marriage to two persons of the opposite sex, including some of those that have created legal recognition for same-sex unions under a name other than "marriage." A small number of states ban any legal recognition of same-sex unions that would be equivalent to civil marriage.[citation needed]

State anti-miscegenation laws banning interracial marriage have a long history in the United States, dating back to the 1660s. These laws were gradually repealed between 1948 and 1967. The U.S. Supreme Court declared all such laws unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia in 1967.[25]

The term polygamy can be defined as “a condition or practice or culture of having more than one spouse.” [26] The United States is seen as a Monogamous nation ( a nation where polygamy is a criminal defense).[27] In the United States, an estimated 100,000 people are practicing polygamy secretly and illegally.[28] A large number of these people include Mormons.[29] “Today’s Mormons live in every state of the United States and in 162 countries. Mormon men and women can be found in all professional fields—doctors, teaches, police officers, scientists, and soldiers. [30]

Same-sex marriage


In the United States, activist Jack Baker and Michael McConnell applied for a marriage license in Minnesota in 1970. This was denied, because they were the same sex. There were no state laws or precedents regarding same-sex marriages.[31] They tried to argue that denying a license on that basis in Minnesota was unconstitutional, but the trial and appeals courts ruled against them.[31] Other same-sex couples in the seventies tried to obtain marriage licenses, but most were unable to get them for the same reason as Baker and McConnell.[31]

When the HIV/AIDS epidemic occurred in the 80’s and 90’s, much of the focus in the homosexual community shifted to addressing and fighting the disease, and little priority was given to other aspects of gay life, such as promoting same-sex marriages and gay rights.[31] By 1985, people were more informed about AIDS/HIV and knew it wasn’t a disease homosexuals specifically got, though some still argued it was a reason to oppose same-sex marriages.[32][31] The epidemic actually helped the image of gay men by giving them some positive attention.[32] More gays revealed their sexual identities. Discrimination diminished, leading to more open pursuit of marriage by the mid 90’s.[32] Revising marriage laws to include same-sex did not seem achievable at that time, so gays focused on laws permitting the more acceptable domestic partnerships.[32] In the 2000’s, the number of laws and court rulings that haven't favored gays have outnumbered those that do, but gays have still made significant legal progress relating to gay marriages and marriage rights.[33]

Same-sex marriages

Some marriages involve homosexuals rather than heterosexuals. A same-sex marriage is a marriage between two people who identify as the same gender or sex. Views on same-sex marriages in the U.S. have begun to substantially change only in the past few decades. The majority of people have defined marriage as specifically between a man and a woman, but society is becoming increasingly more open to and accepting of same-sex couples. People who support same-sex marriage say that a person’s sexual orientation should have nothing to do with whether or not they get certain rights.[34] They also argue that letting same-sex couples marry will make the individuals healthier overall.[34] Implications of this could help make anti-gay activists more willing to allow gays to adopt children because of the healthier relationship a married couple has. People who don't support same-sex marriage tend to say it threatens religion and ruins the traditional view of marriage that, for the most part, worldwide society has historically embraced.[34]

Religion and same-sex marriage

Religions in the U.S. have many different opinions of what sorts of same-sex activity and rights should be allowed.[32] Certain religions do not perform same-sex marriages for the sake of separating them from religious affairs, but tolerate civil same-sex marriage ceremonies.[32] Others refrain from performing them because they believe in the separation of church and state.[32] Congregations within the same denomination may even differ in the behaviors each supports.[32] Many who oppose same-sex marriage are conservative Christians and believe homosexuality to be a sin. Some religious leaders are so fiercely opposed to it that they try to alter the gay person's views on homosexuality by subjecting them to intense classes or sessions in which the goal is to force them to change their orientation and/or repress homosexual feelings. Some people talk about passages in the Bible and how they teach that homosexuality is a bad thing, while others argue that the overall messages, for example, love, override the few anti-gay passages. Religions that have a strong anti-gay stance are Orthodox Judaism, Mormonism, Catholicism, Islam, and conservative Christian denominations.[32] Some religions seem to be indifferent to homosexuality, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, and don't support or reject it.[32] A few branches of religions do support same-sex marriage and homosexuality, such as Reform Judaism, which, interestingly, contains the most Jews in America, so it can be said that most Jews in the U.S. support gays and gay rights.[32]

Green card marriages

A green card is the way immigrants from other countries become a permanent resident of the United States. "Every year over 450,000 United States citizens marry foreign-born individuals and petition for them to obtain a permanent residency (Green Card) in the United States."[35] In 2003, 184,741 immigrants were admitted to the U.S. as spouses of U.S. citizens.[36]

The applicant must already be married. There are conditional requirements in order to obtain a green card through the marriage process. The prospect must have a conditional green card. This becomes permanent after approval by the government. The candidate may then apply for United States citizenship.[citation needed]

A conditional residence green card is given to applicants who are being processed for permanent residence in the United States because they are married to a U.S. citizen. It is valid for two years. At the end of this time period if the card holder does not change the status of their residency they will be put on “out of status”. Legal action by the government may follow.[citation needed]

Because there are different procedures based on whether the applicant is already a U.S. citizen or if the applicant is an immigrant. The marriage must also be legal in, if appropriate, the emigrants country.[37]

Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986

A public law was passed to deter marriage fraud among immigrants. The major stipulation is that if the immigrant is married for less than two years they are classified as conditional immigrants. The two year period is not from the time they get married, but from the time that residency is granted. In order to remove this classification the immigrants must apply for U.S. Citizenship ninety days before the second-year anniversary of still being considered conditional.[38]

There are several reasons why the conditional immigration status can be terminated. Those include divorce, marriage is not valid, or the couple failed to petition the Immigration Service to remove the classification of conditional residency. If the Immigration suspects that an alien has created a fraudulent marriage the immigrant are subject to removal from the United States. The marriage must be fraudulent at its inception and can be determined by several factors. The several factors are the conduct of parties before and after the marriage is relevant, and the bride and groom’s intention of establishing a life together. The validity must be given by the couple by showing insurance policies, property, leases, income tax, bank accounts, etc. The final decision is determined by if the sole purpose of the marriage was to gain benefits for the immigrant. The punishment for fraud is a large monetary penalty, possibility of never becoming a permanent resident of the United States, and jail time for the spouse. These Amendment Acts cover spouses, children of spouses, and K-1 visa fiancés. [38]

Basic immigration law

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 has been amended many times, but still remains the basic and central body of immigration law.[39]

Intersection of immigration law and family law

Immigrants who use the reason of family ties to gain entry into the United States are required to document financial arrangements. The sponsor of a related immigrant must guarantee financial support to the family.[40] These guarantees form a contract between a sponsor and the federal government. It requires the sponsor to support the immigrant relative at a level equivalent to 125% of the poverty line for his or her household size. A beneficiary of the contract, the immigrant, or the Federal Government may sue for the promised support in the event the sponsor does not fulfill the obligations of the contract. The sponsor is also liable for the prevailing party’s legal expenses.[citation needed]

Divorce does not end the sponsor’s obligation to provide the support deemed by the contract. The only ways to terminate the obligation are the immigrant spouse becomes a U.S. citizen, the immigrant spouse has worked forty social security act eligible quarters (10 years), the immigrant spouse is no longer considered a permanent alien and has left the U.S., the immigrant spouse obtained an ability to adjust their status, or the immigrant spouse dies. A sponsor’s death also cuts off the obligation, but not in regards to any support the sponsor already owes which will be paid but the sponsor’s estate.[41]

Mail-order bride industry and immigration fraud

The mail-order bride industry is an international network that takes women from currently developing countries and sends them to men who pay for them in industrialized nations. Initially, it was conducted through mail catalogs, but is now more accessible due to the internet. Prospective brides are typically from developing nations such as South/Southeast Asia, the Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Taiwan, Macao, South Korea, Hong Kong, and China. Now brides from Eastern European countries are becoming a prized commodity.[citation needed]

These women are forced into the mail-order bride industry due to the increasing poverty in their respective countries. Even though this is a large problem the upcoming fear of industrialized industries is that the mail- order brides are not trying to overcome poverty, but in fact seeking an easy immigration route by only staying married for long enough to secure permanent citizenship and then divorce their husbands. Even if the brides choose to remain married they could still sponsor the rest of their families so they can immigrate over. Needless to say there have been precautions taken by several countries such as the United States, Great Britain, and Australia. They are fighting the proliferation of the mail-order bride industry through an amendment process of the immigration laws. The United States in particularly has addressed the mail-order bride crisis by developing the laws dealing with the immigration and naturalization of aliens. The United States has done this by passing the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendment of 1986. This reform shows how serious of a problem the United States considers this, and why the other two industrialized nation (Great Britain and Australia) are experiencing problems and are trying to deal with the issue quite seriously.[42]


Divorce is the province of state governments, so divorce law varies from state to state. Prior to the 1970s, divorcing spouses had to allege that the other spouse was guilty of a crime or sin like abandonment or adultery; when spouses simply could not get along, lawyers were forced to manufacture "uncontested" divorces. The no-fault divorce revolution began in 1969 in California; South Dakota was the last state to allow no-fault divorce, in 1985. No-fault divorce on the grounds of "irreconcilable differences" is now available in all states. However, many states have recently required separation periods prior to a formal divorce decree. State law provides for child support where children are involved, and sometimes for alimony.[citation needed]

"Married adults now divorce two-and-a-half times as often as adults did 20 years ago and four times as often as they did 50 years ago... between 40% and 60% of new marriages will eventually end in divorce. The probability within... the first five years is 20%, and the probability of its ending within the first 10 years is 33%... Perhaps 25% of children ages 16 and under live with a stepparent."[43] The median length for a marriage in the US today is 11 years with 90% of all divorces being settled out of court.[citation needed]

Relevant types of unions

Civil Unions

"A civil union is a formal union between two people of the same or of different genders which results in, but falls short of, marriage-like rights and obligations."[44] The people must be adults (18 years of age or older), currently unmarried or in another union, and be ready to commit to their spouse and future family the same obligations as a marriage requires.[44] A difference between civil unions and marriages is that if the two people decide they want to end their union, no judicial paperwork is necessary, as long as the couple has no children. This means the pair can draft a document that says they want to separate and it is legal.[44] In this manner, it is similar to uncontested divorce between people of the opposite sex.

Domestic Partnerships

In the United States of America, domestic partnership is a city-, county-, state-, or employer-recognized status that may be available to same-sex couples and, sometimes, opposite-sex couples.[45] Although similar to marriage, a domestic partnership does not confer any of the 1,138 rights afforded to married couples by the federal government.[45] Domestic partnerships in the United States are determined by each state or local jurisdiction, so there is no nationwide consistency on the rights, responsibilities, and benefits accorded domestic partners.[45] Couples who live in localities without civil unions or domestic partnerships may voluntarily enter into a private, informal domestic partnership agreement, specifying their mutual obligations, but it may be considered invalid by certain institutions, like hospitals.[45]


Cohabitation refers to two unmarried people who are in an intimate relationship and live together.[46] Some couples cohabit as a way to experience married life before they are actually married.[47] Some cohabit instead of marrying.[47] Other couples may live together because other living arrangements are less desired.[47] In the past few decades, norms that discourage cohabitation have quickly faded and cohabiting is now a very acceptable practice.[47]

See also

  • American family structure


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  33. ^ "TIMELINE-Same Sex Marriage". National Conference of State Legislatures. August 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  34. ^ a b c Benokraitis, Nijole (2011). Marriages and Families: Changes, Choices, and Constraints. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. p. 255. ISBN 978-0-205-73536-5. 
  35. ^ [1]Annulment.
  36. ^ Statistical Abstract of the United ... - Census Bureau - Google Books.,+184,741+immigrants+were+admitted+to+the+U.S.+as+spouses+of+U.S.+citizens.&ots=5ZtJxTUu9Z&sig=HZNBA2fwYFT58kq0uK6DMkk_E-Y#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  37. ^ [2]United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.
  38. ^ a b [3]Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986.
  39. ^ [4].Immigration Services
  40. ^ Form I-864
  41. ^ Rice Law - "NC Divorce & Family Law Blog – Rice Law, PLLC » The intersection of Family Law and Immigration Law: Alien love and marriage". Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  42. ^ [5]Mail-Order Bride Industry.
  43. ^ Brian K. Williams, Stacy C. Sawyer, Carl M. Wahlstrom, Marriages, Families & Intimate Relationships, 2005[page needed]
  44. ^ a b c Duhaime, Lloyd, Learn Law, [6] Retrieved 2011-10-02
  45. ^ a b c d Wikipedia contributors (7 October 2011). "Domestic partnership in the United States". Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  46. ^ Nazio, Tiziana (2008). Cohabitation, family, and society. New York, NY: Routledge. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-415-36841-4. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  47. ^ a b c d Thornton, Arland; William G. Axinn, Yu Xie (2007). Marriage and cohabitation. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-226-79866-0. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 

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