Survey Finds Few Cheatin' Hearts With AM-Valentine's Day, Bjt
Feb. 12, 1990
NEW YORK (AP) _ Romantics, take heart 3/8 There's an epidemic of marital fidelity in America today.
Nine out of 10 people said they've never been unfaithful to their spouses and 80 percent said they would marry the same person again - at least that's what they claimed in a Gallup Poll released Monday.
The survey said more than 87 percent of the married respondents agreed with the statement: ''Your spouse and you are more concerned about being faithful than most people.''
''That few men or women have affairs despite the widely held impressions that nearly every married person does is an example of what sociologist Hubert O'Gorman calls pluralistic ignorance - erroneous, cognitive beliefs shaped by some individuals about other individuals,'' said the report, written by the Rev. Andrew M. Greeley and T. George Harris.
''In fact, the results of the study are so at odds with conventional wisdom one is forced to wonder how the false impressions about marital fidelity and happiness became so widespread,'' it said.
Pollsters contacted 657 randomly selected, married men and women nationwide by telephone before Christmas. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The survey found so much bliss in America that 10 percent of the respondents agreed strongly their spouse is sometimes ''like a god'' to them. Eighteen percent of the women agreed at least somewhat with the statement - and 37 percent of the men.
-64 percent said their marriage was ''very happy.''
-Four out of five, given the chance, would marry the same person again.
-Three out of four said their spouse is their best friend.
-81 percent of the men and 72 percent of the women strongly believe their spouse is good looking.
-82 percent believe their spouse is good with children, and 63 percent strongly disagree that children take the fun out of marriage.
-70 percent disagree that as ''the years go on, much of the fun goes out of marriage.''
''It is often implied that because the proportion of Americans who are divorced has increased, the overall level of satisfaction in American marriages has declined. ... However, it seems likelier that the availability of divorce for those who are unhappy has increased the average level of happiness in the pool of couples who remain married,'' the report said.
The survey attributed the marital happiness primarily to three factors: communication; cooperation in housework, child rearing and respect of each other's work; and romance.
-71 percent said they're trying very hard to improve their marriage.
-55 percent of the men and 47 percent of the women strongly believe their spouse is romantic.
-39 percent said they work very hard to improve their sex life.
-53 percent of the women and 47 percent of the men strongly agreed that their spouse is a skilled lover.
-32 percent of the women and 26 percent of the men said their spouse is imaginative about sex.
The survey was commissioned by Pschology Today magazine and two television programs, King World's Inside Edition and ABC's Home Show.