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Ana Maria Cornea / Gavel Media

The Marriage Pact at Boston College

Fill out a questionnaire and possibly meet the person you will marry? Sign BC students up. 

In 2017, Stanford student Liam McGregor had the idea to design a 50-question survey that would match participants based on their responses. McGregor wanted to help students find a romantic match on campus that didn’t involve choosing, but instead calculating a person’s compatibility with another. McGregor based the test on what he determined as the core long-term compatibility components: personal values, personality traits, romantic behaviors, and relationship expectations. Since its creation, the Marriage Pact has been introduced at 78 different universities in the United States.  

An important piece of the design of the Marriage Pact is its overall emphasis on attempting to form genuine relationships, not based on physical appearances, but on the actual substance of the person. This involves asking questions that may be avoided in public conversation, such as religion and political affiliation. Meaningful questions addressing core values are crucial to starting a relationship, and the Marriage Pact strives to make this accessible. 

Madeleine Scalise, a sophomore at Boston College, was a returning participant in the marriage pact. Madeleine had nothing but positive things to say about the overall experience of the marriage pact, even with her doubt about it starting a relationship. Scalise focuses on the fun element-of-surprise aspect of the experience and enjoys the process of finding out who all of her friends got. Interestingly enough, Madeline matched with a friend this year, but not through a friendship pact. Although Scalise knows it will not be an epic love story, the results gave her confidence in the accuracy of the test. Her matching with a friend made her trust the test’s ability to make a compatible match. Scalise proudly claimed she will continue doing the marriage pact.

Another returning participant was Matthew Gasak, a current sophomore. Gasak participated in the Marriage Pact last year and said the process was enjoyable, but, once again, nothing came of it. Gasak expressed his approval of the questions being asked, especially the ones getting into political and social ideologies. He described these questions as being crucial to the process of forming a relationship. This year, Gasak had a more interesting experience: he was paired with a man, even after indicating being straight. Unfortunately, it just proves to be another year without a Marriage Pact success. 

This year brought in a whole new group of enthusiastic participants in the Marriage Pact: the freshmen. However, they seemed to pick up on the non-serious nature of the pact. Colin Ortiz, a freshman at Boston College, emphasized his participation in the marriage pact as a joke among friends. “I thought it’d be fun, and a bunch of friends did it,” said Ortiz. Ortiz participated in the Marriage Pact because he thought it could have been a good way to meet someone on a casual level but overall, did not care about his results. He admits to the questions being decent, but also claims they only scratch the surface of what it means to be in a relationship with a person.

Aimee Cowles, another freshman at Boston College, also participated in her first Marriage Pact this year. She described the overall experience as fun, but had no confidence in the test. Cowles ended up disappointed, as she fell into the percentage of girls paired with another girl in a “friendship pact,” as there were not enough male participants. “I was very upset because I was waitlisted because there weren’t enough men who signed up,” said Cowles. 

These accounts represent the experiences of many students across BC’s campus: the Marriage Pact being enjoyable, but not successful. Statistics show the experience has only a 30% success rate out of 131,890 national matches. This raises the question of why students continue to participate in the pact. 

This poses a major flaw in not the Marriage Pact itself, but the mentality around it: students do not take it seriously because it takes the work out of finding a partner. Students find it artificial to automatically match with people without going through the process of trial and error. Until students only participate if they plan on actively trying to get to know their match, the process will cyclically continue to match people who have no intentions of attempting to initiate a relationship. 

Nonetheless, the Marriage Pact is still an enjoyable activity at Boston College. Gasak encapsulated the experience in a sentence emphasizing the non-serious nature of the Marriage Pact. “I think it’s very positive. It’s nice just to like connect with people you don’t know on campus even if it’s just like through a goofy little thing like this,” said Gasak.

Overall, the experience is taken as a light-hearted and fun activity. 

Philosophy, English, and Hispanic studies major. When I'm not writing for the Gavel, I am reading books written by angry women (obviously) or listening to Karol G or Bad Bunny.

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