The decision to marry is complex, often with seemingly innocuous events impacting a partner’s marriage eligibility. Engaging in rituals is one area where couples have the opportunity to see their partners in a new light as well as assess commitment. Although rituals have impactful roles in married couples, there is a dearth of research on ritual activity in dating couples. A qualitative approach was used to explore how rituals act as facilitators or barriers to commitment to wed using data from a random sample of dating couples in a diverse Southwestern region of the U.S. Results showed that celebration and tradition rituals played a contextual role in magnifying the importance of three normative relationship features: family interactions, relationship awareness, and conflict management. Experiencing these relationship features during a ritual time highlighted the uncertainty inherent in determining marriage eligibility with a current partner and enhanced the information gathering process.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science