Marriage Plans: A study of marital expectations of 19-24-year-old women


  • Sara Chitsaz



There is a gap in sociological research on the topic of young women's perceptions and expectations of marriage in the context of societal shifts in marriage as an institution. The aim of this study is to address the question of how young women perceive marriage, what their marital expectations are, and what factors they perceive to influence these ideas of marriage. Data from six semi-structured, in-depth interviews with women from Vancouver, B.C., who are between the ages of 19 and 24 is used as the basis for this analysis. The main findings include that the respondents consistently express a desire for an even distribution of labor in their potential future marriages but define this differently in terms of how they expect labour would be divided and how evenly they expect to share the household labour with their partner, that media and parents are commonly cited as primary influences on marital perceptions and expectations, and that respondents shared a sense of a common timeline of certain steps (such as getting married or having children) they are expected to take in life, which adds pressure on women to get married. While the results of this study are not generalizable to a broader population, it may provide a starting point for further discussion on women's marital expectations and perceptions that includes the voices of women.