Is a loving marriage a rich, Western thing?

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College students from secondary population centers in India, Pakistan, Thailand, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Australia, England, and the United States were asked to rate the importance of love for both the establishment and the maintenance of a marriage. Love tended to receive greatest importance in the Western and Westernized nations and least importance in the underdeveloped Eastern nations. These differences were stronger and clearer for decisions regarding the establishment of a marriage than for the maintenance and dissolution of a marriage. There were few significant sex differences, either across or within countries. Individualistic cultures, as opposed to collective cultures, assigned much greater importance to love in marriage decisions. Respondents assigning greater importance to love also tended to come from nations with higher economic standards of living, higher marriage rates and divorce rates, and lower fertility rates.

Source: “Love and Marriage in Eleven Cultures” from Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology

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