Mate Selection: A Research Study

Introduction
Although there are many significant relationships in people’s lives, social psychology has concentrated on adult relationships between friends, dating partners, lovers and spouses (Sprecher, Sullivan, Hatfield, 1994). These intimate relationships often involve three basic components:
  • Emotional attachment, feelings of affection and love
  • Fulfillment of psychological needs, such as sharing feelings and gaining reassurance
  • Interdependence between the individuals, each of whom has a meaningful and enduring influence on the other
But not all intimate relationships include all three of these components. A summer’s romance, for example, is emotionally intense, but in the fall people resume their independent lives. An empty shell marriage revolves around the spouses coordinated daily activities, but emotional attachment is weak and psychological need go unmet. Whatever the combination of love, need fulfillment, and interdependence, intimate relationships also vary in other characteristics. Some are sexual; some are not. Sexual orientation differs: heterosexual or homosexual. Some partners make a strong commitment to a long-lasting relationship; others merely drop by for a brief stay. Feelings about the relationship run the gamut from joyful to painful, from loving to hateful- with emotional intensity ranging all the way from mild to megawatt.
The result of this particular study reveals that males and females have different preferences for their future life partners  and their race and culture does not affect these preferences, when they are living in a common society.
·         Physical appearance: of the life partner is very much important for the males; most of them wanted an attractive and sexy person as their future marriage partner. But physical appearance is not very important for girls, and most of them do not consider it an essential characteristic of their life partner
·         Good Personality: is a common characteristic, which both males and females want in their future life partner to possess
·         Age: of the life partner does not matter for males but for females it is one of the important characteristics of their life partner
·         Religion: For 50% of the male subjects, Religion is not an important issue but all the female subjects consider it an important issue, while selecting their future husbands. All the female subjects want their future husband must have the same religion
·         Race: is not an important issue for either male or female subjects, however 25 percent of females require their future husbands to have the same cultural background and values as they have.
·         Intelligence: is also one of the most important characteristics, all males and female subjects requiring in their future life partner.
·         Socio-economic Status is not an important issue for males but all of the female subjects give importance to this issue. They want that their future husband must have stable economic and financial background.
·         Wants Children: According to all of the male and female subjects, their life partner must have the quality to have children in future
·         Ever Married before: for 50% of the males and 75% of the female subjects, it is important that their future life partner is not married before
·         Has Children: it is an important quality. 75 percent of male subjects and all the female subjects want to marry a person who does not have children
The methodology section of this study will exactly describe about the subjects and data gathering methods of the study.
Methodology
This study is based on the interviews of eight fellow students of the university. It is an easy task to get all these students interviewed, because they all are fellow students and I have very easy access to them all.
The access to these people is not at all difficult. They attend the same university as I do, and we usually meet at college campus. I am extremely familiar with them and usually chat with them on this topic. But this is my very first attempt to interview them in an organized way to get their personal views on this particular topic, i.e. Preferences for a Future Marriage Partner.
It is an important issue for me to consider whether I would take known or an unknown observer position for this study. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages.  Known observer may gather more information as compare to an unknown observer but people sometimes pose or provide fake information to the known observer. After considering this matter seriously, I prefer to become a known observer for this study. The main reason for becoming a known observer is that I know them very well. They all are my friends and I know when they are providing the correct information and when they are lying.  I am also aware of their personal views on this particular topic thus, I think, it is more useful to become a known observer than an unknown observer.
            I have chosen 8 single college male and female participants attending a four-year university degree. Sample size was evenly distributed based on gender (4 college males & 4 college females. Ages of college students were between 21 to 30. Two of the male subjects are Mexican-American, one is white American while the last one is an Asian-American. The reason for choosing only single students for the study is that, they are more familiar with the topic and show more enthusiasm in it. As far as the female subjects are concerned, the same race distribution is applied. The main reason of choosing these students is that I have very easy access to them all. They all are my fellow students and friends and we usually meet in college campus. I have good understanding with them and we all feel relaxed and at ease while talking to each other in this particular topic.
            It is sometimes difficult to get people interviewed on such personal topics, but nothing like that happened in my case. As I have already discussed, all of the participants of the study are my personal friends. They all agreed at once to give their personal views on this topic.
             I have chosen a diverse sample for this study. I understand that cultural values do affect the preferences of people for their future life partner. My sample is very evenly balanced as I have chosen four male and four female subjects for this study. Among the four male subjects, two of them are Mexican Americans, one of them is white American, and one is Asian American. Same race distribution is applied on female subjects. All of the participants are between the age group of 21 to 30 years. All of them are single and almost all of them are Christians. They all are college students doing four-year degree from the university. Following are the particulars of each participant to describe him or her more precisely.
·         Subject One: Subject one is Mexican-American Male of 24 years of age having Catholic religion
·         Subject Two: White male of 27 years of age having Christianity as religion
·         Subject Three: Mixed-Chinese, Thai, Spanish, and Mexican Male of 22 years of age whose religion is not available
·         Subject Four: Mexican-American Male of 30 years of age having Catholic religion
·         Subject five: she is a female from Philippine having Catholic religion. She is 24 years of age
·         Subject Six: Mexican-American female of 23 years of age having Catholic religion
·         Subject Seven: Mexican-American female of 21 years of age having Christianity as religion
·         Subject Eight: white female of 30years of age having Christianity as religion
The topic of my questionnaire for this study is “What type of qualities do single college students look for when selecting a future marriage partner?”  The questionnaire is based on the following four questions:
“Q.1 What type of qualities do you look for when selecting a future marriage partner? Please explain in detail.
Q. 2  Now I am going to give you a list of qualities I feel are important when selecting a future marriage partner. What I want you to do is explain to me in detail why or why not each of these qualities fits your personal preferences.
a. Physical appearance
b. Personality
c. Age
d. Religion
e. Race
f. Intelligence
g. Socioeconomic status
h. Wants children
i. Ever married before
j. Has children
Q. 3. Now I want you to rank each quality from 1 to 10. 1 being least important and 10 being most important.
Q. 4. Having to choose from the 10 qualities I just mentioned, which one do you value the most and the least when selecting a future marriage partner? Also, please explain why you chose those particular qualities to be your least and most important.
Quality most important with explanation”.
            The interviews were mostly took place in the college campus in a very friendly atmosphere. We all are friends to each other, so the participants felt very much relaxed and at ease during the interview.

Results

Love styles appear to be strongly varied between males and females. Men and women are different from each other in intimate relationship. Men were more likely than women to have appositive attitude toward casual sex (Oliver and Hyde, 1993). Men also reported having more numerous sexual partners.  What do men and women want? When college students were asked to select the most important qualities for their future life partner from the list of following ten qualities:
1.      Physical appearance
2.      Personality
3.      Age
4.      Religion
5.      Race
6.      Intelligence
7.      Socioeconomic status
8.      Wants children
9.      Ever married before
10.  Has children
The result depicted that male and female subjects have different preferences for their future life partners.  According to the above-mentioned study male participants prefer that their life partner must be attractive and sexy, intelligent, having pleasant personality and ready to have children in future. They did not give much consideration to issues like race, religion and age. Seventy five percent of male participants prefer that their life partner does not have children before their marriage.
As far as the female participants are concerned, they prefer that their future life partner must be intelligent, having pleasant personality, have stable financial condition, religious, agreed to have children in future, must be single (never married), does not have children before and must be of the same age. 





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