Georgia State University Researcher Studies Important Factors in Successful Black Marriages

The keys to successful marriages for Black couples include the ability to communicate openly, remain flexible about each person’s role in the relationship as challenges arise and find agreement in how to manage income and assets, according to a study led by a Georgia State University researcher.

The study, “Black Marriages Matter: Wisdom and Advice From Happily Married Black Couples,” was designed to help young African-American couples understand the factors that can lead to happy, long-term marital relationships. The study was published in the journal Family Relations.

Antonius Skipper, assistant professor of gerontology and lead author of the paper, said much of the past research on Black families has focused on divorce and single-family households. His research team and others have been working to put a greater emphasis on understanding the factors involved in successful Black families and how to nurture them.

The researchers noted only 29 percent of African Americans are married, making them the “most unmarried racial/ethnic group in the United States,” though the majority of African Americans want to be married.

“The historical emphasis on the deficits of Black families have contributed to a very limited understanding of strong Black couples,” Skipper said. “When paired with systemic barriers to marriage and sometimes unrealistic desires in a marital partner, many young Blacks have grown to see marriage as unattainable.

“The lessons from the couples we’ve interviewed teach us that many Black couples overcome the same issues that have torn others apart. In overcoming, these Black couples grow closer to the marital benefits that were denied to Blacks for centuries, such as generational wealth and escaping poverty.”

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SOURCE: Georgia State University

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