Your romantic view of marriage is limiting your volunteer work

Highlight StoryIf a woman imagines her marriage in romantic terms, it is less likely that her husband and she will associate themselves with volunteer work, says a new study. (pio3 – Fotolia)

 

Wives who have a romantic view of marriage are less likely to do volunteer work for the wider community, leading their husbands to volunteer less as well, says a study.

The researchers focused on whether couples took a “soul mate” view of marriage, making it their top priority in life; or whether they held a more traditional view, placing additional values on other functions of marriage such as raising children and fulfilling financial needs.

“Wives who take a more romantic view of marriage appear to seek (emotional) satisfaction primarily through husbands, which might take couples’ time and energy away from their involvement in the community,” the researchers wrote.

But husbands’ romantic view of marriage was associated with neither their own nor their wives’ volunteering, the study found.

For the study, Young-Il Kim from Baylor University and Jeffrey Dew from Brigham Young University, both in the US, analysed data from the Survey of Marital Generosity, a recent US national sample of 1,368 married couples ages 18 to 45.

Women with a more traditional view of marriage such as raising kids and fulfilling financial duties are more likely to opt for volunteer work. (HT Photo)

Participants were asked about their views of marriage, how often they volunteered, how much time they spent solely with each other and how often they attended religious services.

The study, published in the journal Sociological Perspectives, found that wives’ view of the marriage as “soul mates” was associated with less volunteering of both wife and husband, but a man’s having a soul mate view of marriage was not associated with volunteering by either spouse.

The research found that while women were, more or less, governed by this view, men behaved differently. (Shutterstock )

Time spent alone with one’s spouse was positively associated with husbands’ reports of their own volunteering.

“I thought it was interesting to see the gender difference here,” Kim said.

“One possible explanation is that couples who invest more time in their marriage are more likely to have better relationships, and husbands in such marriages may be more likely to volunteer with their wives, who may push them to volunteer more,” Kim noted.

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