It turns out that Americans generally are a romantic bunch, regardless of a host of generalized factors that otherwise differentiate them in our diverse society.

That is, love reigns, especially as a motivating factor for getting hitched. A national survey on relationships indicates that romantic feelings dwarf just about everything else when it comes to contemplating a lifetime spent with another person.

Other factors come into play, of course, and family-linked data from the Pew Research Center carefully lists them. Many people thoughtfully reflect on financial stability as they eye a potential partner for keeps. Some couples want to ensure religious compatibility. Pew analysts state that marriage’s conferring of select legal rights and benefits is a factor that partially plays into the decision to wed for close to a quarter of all Americans that do so.

All those reasons pale when examined alongside love, though. Romantic ardor flatly “tops the list of Americans’ reasons to marry,” stresses Pew. In fact, nearly 90% of surveyed married individuals told researchers that feelings of love were key determinants in their decision to link up for life with another person.

Of course, that “for life” vow can be a bit iffy, as evidenced by reams of divorce data relevant to residents across the country, including in Arkansas. “Love is eternal” is a saying that has been tested and proven false in countless cases in the United States.

The Pew study in in many respects a remarkable document for what it says about America’s great diversity and capability to evolve in material ways over time. We’ll take a closer look at what its research says about marriage, divorce, remarriage, same sex unions and other family law matters in our next blog post.