Professor Golden’s discusses the evolution of marriage

Holly Feola & Bailey Klingman – News Editor & 1851 Staff

On Feb. 13, Boston 25 News interviewed Associate Professor of Psychology Sarabeth Golden for a segment about the evolution of the value of marriage. The interview was conducted by Bob Dumas, Hybrid Special Projects Producer at WFXT Boston 25 News, in the Hamel House admission office.

Dumas approached Director of Communications of the Office of Marketing & Communications Ian Meripol and explained that he was doing a story based on a study by the Pew Research Center. The study was about how more individuals are cohabitating longer than they have been married. Dumas wanted someone who could speak to that, which led Meripol to contact Dean of Social Sciences Lori Rosenthal who thought of Golden since much of her research pertains to romantic relationships.

According to the Pew Research Center website, 54 percent of couples cohabited, or lived together, in the 2002 survey and between the years 2013-2017, that number has increased to 59 percent, showing an upward trend to cohabitation.

During the interview, Golden stated she does not believe that marriage will just disappear, but instead it will become more acceptable for couples to live with one-another without the assumption of marriage.

In her interview with Dumas, she said, “social norms have been shifting for a while. They’re probably continuing to shift…We also have society becoming more secular. Up to three-quarters of Catholics do not oppose cohabitation now. That is wildly different than a few decades ago.”

Golden believes social norms have been a factor in the shift of the value of marriage and how marriage is viewed.

“I think the only thing we can count on is that what marriage looks like will change because what families look like has already changed. It’s not the two parents, two and a half kids and a dog anymore. It’s blended families. Kids being raised by aunts and uncles or grandparents, half-siblings, step-siblings, you know that there’s families [that] just look a lot different. They’re a lot more heterogeneous now,” said Golden.

Golden teaches PSYC205: Human Sexuality, where marriage is brought into discussion frequently. When talking about her class she said, “We wrap up the semester talking about love, theories of love, attitudes about love, and attitudes about marriage because some research studies have found a shift in college student’s attitudes about marriage from the 60s to the 90s.”

Junior Katie Schneider is currently taking Golden’s PSYC205 course. Schneider acknowledges how her own beliefs of marriage have evolved. “I always believed in monogamy, you know, the one partner, waiting till marriage and everything but obviously our society has changed, and my views have changed since I was ten-years-old,” said Schneider.

Schneider thinks the change in how society approaches marriage goes beyond social norms, “It also has to do with how you’re raised…if you’re raised in a home where the parents are married and they fight all the time, you’re not going to want to get married because you don’t want to end up in a relationship like that.”


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