Study: Americans Seek Soul-Mate Spouse

ByABC News
June 13, 2001, 7:55 AM

N E W   Y O R K, June 13 -- Single Americans in their 20swant to marry someone who shares their innermost thoughts andfeelings, rather than someone rich or of the same religion, asurvey said today.

Today's young Americans are on a quest to find their "soulmate," compared with past generations that sought spouses withsimilar religious and social backgrounds, said a new surveyfrom Rutgers University's National Marriage Project.

"Seeking a compatible mate who shares similar values is notnew, but what is new and surprising is that the soul mate idealhas become the most desired marital partner characteristic forthis age group surpassing religion, economics and even theability to be a good mother or father," said David Popenoe,co-director of the National Marriage Project.

Among Americans in their 20s who have never been married,94 percent said the wanted a soul-mate spouse "first andforemost," said the survey, which was called "Who Wants toMarry a Soul Mate?"

They were very confident of success. Of those surveyed, 88percent agreed there was a "special person, a soul mate,waiting for you somewhere out there," and 87 percent thoughtthey would find that person when they were ready to getmarried.

For 80 percent of the women polled, a husband who couldarticulate his deepest feelings was a better catch than one whoearned a good living. Only 42 percent of single Americans intheir 20s thought it was important for their spouses to havethe same religious beliefs, the survey showed.

The survey is part of the project's wider "The State of OurUnions" report on marriage trends in the United States. It wasbased on telephone interviews with 1,003 married and single menand women age 20 to 29 from January through March this year.

In Vogue

"There's an awful lot about soul mates in popular culture,"Popenoe told Reuters. "It's the term of the hour. It's abig change from times past when you maybe hoped a spouse wouldbe a soul mate by the end of life but you didn't start outlooking for such a person. You were looking for someoneresponsible and reliable who would be a helpmate for the tasksof life."