Laughing couple with laptop drinking coffee and paying bills online in living room

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A new study from the Cornell Population Center found that money is still a major roadblock for couples, with finances impacting everything from when and if singles marry, to their ability to stay in a union.

Researchers assert that it all begins with “the marriage bar” theory. That’s the perception that marriage requires a certain amount of financial security, such as a significant amount of savings or a high income. People who ascribe to this way of thinking are less likely to commit to marriage because they feel unprepared for, or unworthy of, a spouse.

Additionally, the study found that financial stress is one of the key issues for couples who have separated, and economically disadvantaged couples separated at a higher rate than those who reported higher incomes.

So who can do well in a marriage?┬áResearchers found that couples who have similar incomes and have lived together before their weddings had the highest rate of marital success. They connect the success to the individuals’ abilities to develop practical life skills together, such as cooking and budgeting, while cohabiting. They also contend that an egalitarian, or fairly distributed, approach to earning creates a level of respect that trickles into all facets of the relationship. Singles interested in marrying should focus on finding financially like-minded partners with solid earning potential.