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  1. CHAPTER 7 Marriage Relationships

  2. Chapter 7: Marriage RelationshipsChapter Outline • Motivations for and Functions of Marriage • Marriage as a Commitment • Cold Feet? • Marriage as a Rite of Passage • Changes after Marriage • Diversity in Marriage • Marriage Quality • The Future of Marriage Relationships

  3. Chapter 7: Marriage RelationshipsIntroduction • Quote: “I have great hopes that we shall love each other all our lives as much as if we had never married at all.” • Lord Byron, poet • Discussion: What do you think are the most difficult changes to cope with when getting married? What are some good strategies of coping with these changes?

  4. Chapter 7: Marriage RelationshipsIntroduction • Food for thought… • True or False? • Economic security is the greatest expected benefit of marriage in the United States. • About a third of states now offer covenant marriages and a third of people getting married in these states elect the covenant alternative.

  5. Chapter 7: Marriage RelationshipsIntroduction • True/False Answers: • FALSE: Although marriage does not ensure it, companionship is the greatest expected benefit of marriage in the United States. • FALSE: Louisiana, Arizona, and Arkansas offer covenant marriages. Fewer than 3% of couples that marry in Louisiana have chosen to take on the extra restrictions of marriage by covenant.

  6. Motivations for and Functions of MarriageIndividual Motivations for Marriage • Individual Motivations for Marriage • Love • Personal Fulfillment • Companionship • Parenthood • Economic Security

  7. Motivations for and Functions of MarriageSocietal Functions of Marriage • The primary function of marriage is to bind a male and female together who will reproduce, raise their young, and socialize them to be productive members of society. • Additional functions: • Regulate sexual behavior • Stabilize adult personalities by providing a companion

  8. Motivations for and Functions of MarriageTraditional versus Egalitarian Marriages

  9. Marriage as a Commitment • Person-to-Person • Individuals commit themselves to someone whom they love, with whom they feel a sense of equality, and who they feel is the best of the alternative persons available to them • Family-to-Family • Marriage involves commitments to the family members of the spouse

  10. Marriage as a Commitment • Couple-to-State • Spouses become legally committed to each other according to the laws of the state in which they reside. • They cannot arbitrarily decide to terminate their own marital agreement.

  11. Cold Feet? • Discussion: • Quote: “I knew the day of the wedding that I did not want to marry. I told my dad, and he said, ‘Be a man.’ I went through with the marriage and regretted it ever since.”(This person divorced after twenty-five years of marriage.) • Quote: “I said ‘Holy Jesus’ just before I walked down the aisle with my dad. He said, What’s the matter, honey?’ I couldn't’t tell him, went through with the wedding, and later divorced.” (This person divorced after twelve years.)

  12. Marriage as a CommitmentCovenant Marriage: A Stronger Commitment? • In Louisiana, couples can choose a standard marriage contract or a covenant marriage contract. • A “covenant marriage” permits divorce only under conditions of fault (abuse, adultery, or imprisonment on a felony) or after a marital separation of more than two years. • Fewer than 3% of couples that marry in Louisiana have chosen a covenant marriage.

  13. Marriage as a Rite of PassageWeddings • The wedding is a rite of passage that is both religious and civil. • While love is a private experience, marriage is a public experience in the United States. • It is not unusual for couples to have weddings that are neither religious nor traditional.

  14. Marriage as a Rite of PassageWeddings • Food for thought… • Weddings: College Student Perceptions • Women prepare more. • The wedding is for the bride’s family. • The bride wants the wedding documented. • The bride prefers a formal wedding. • Both parents should be invited if they are still married. • Racial background affects perception of who should pay for the wedding.

  15. Marriage as a Rite of PassageWeddings • Food for thought… • Wedding night fun statistics • 29.7% said the best part of the wedding night was “just being with my new partner”. • 17.8% said “sex” • 23.1% listed the accommodations and the partner’s demeanor as the worst part. • 6.3% said “sex”

  16. Marriage as a Rite of PassageHoneymoons • The honeymoon has personal and social functions: • The personal function is to provide a period of recuperation from the demands of preparing for and being in a wedding ceremony and reception. • The social function is to provide a time for the couple to be alone to solidify the change in their identity to a married couple.

  17. Changes after MarriageLegal Changes • Unless the partners have signed a prenuptial agreement, after the wedding, each spouse becomes part owner of what the other earns in income and accumulates in property.

  18. Changes after MarriagePersonal Changes • The married person begins adopting values and behaviors consistent with the married role, including: • Changes in how money is spent • Discovering that one’s mate is different from one’s date • A loss of freedom

  19. Changes after MarriageFriendship Changes • Less time will be spent with friends because of the new role demands as a spouse. • What spouses give up in friendships, they gain in developing an intimate relationship with each other.

  20. Changes after MarriageMarital Changes • Experience loss of freedom • Feeling more responsibility • Missing alone time • Change in how money is spent • Sexual changes • Power changes • Discovering that one’s mate is different from one’s date

  21. Changes after MarriageParents and In-Law Changes • Time spent with parents and extended kin radically increases when a couple has children. • Emotional separation from one’s parents is an important developmental task in building a successful marriage. • The behavior of in-laws affects how their children and their spouses like and perceive them.

  22. Diversity in MarriageHispanic Families • Hispanics tend to have higher rates of marriage, early marriage, higher fertility, nonmarital child rearing, and prevalence of female householder. • They have two micro family factors: male power and strong familistic values: • Male Power: Husband and father; the head of the family • Strong Familistic Values: Family is most valued social unity in the society

  23. Diversity in MarriageCanadian Families • Although much of marriage and family life in Canada is similar to that in the United States, some of the differences include the following: • Language • Bilingual families: English and French • Definitions of Family • Common-law couples considered family • Same-sex relationships • Legalized same sex relationships and court protection • Children • Wait longer and have less children • Government Programs for Families • Universal childcare centers for a low fee, medical costs covered by the state, parental leave for up to a year is paid for at the rate of employment insurance • Divorce • Half the divorce rate as U.S.

  24. Diversity in MarriageMuslim American Families • 9/ll resulted in an increased awareness that Muslim families are part of American demographics. • 5.8 million adults in the U.S. and 1.3 billion worldwide self-identify with the Islamic religion. • The three largest American Muslim groups in the U.S. are African Americans, Arabs, and South Asians.

  25. Diversity in MarriageMuslim American Families • Islamic tradition emphasizes: • Close family ties with the nuclear and extended family • Social activities with family members • Respect for the authority of the elderly and parents

  26. Diversity in MarriageMilitary Families • About 60% of military personnel are married and/or have children. • Military families are unique in several ways: • Traditional Sex Roles. • Typically, the husband is deployed and the wife takes care of the family in his absence. • Loss of Control – Deployment • Military families have little control over their lives and the threat of death or injury is always present.

  27. Diversity in MarriageMilitary Families • Infidelity • The context of separation from each other for months at a time increases the vulnerability of both spouses to other partners. • Separation from Extended Family/Close Friends • Lower Marital Satisfaction and Higher Divorce • Employment of Spouses • Resilient Military Families. • Most military families are amazingly resilient.

  28. Diversity in MarriageInterracial Marriage • Less than 5% of marriages in the United States are interracial. • Segregation in religion, housing, and education are factors in the low percentage of Black/white marriages. • Black-white spouses are more likely to have been married before, to be age-discrepant, to live far from their families of orientation, to have been reared in racially tolerant homes, and to have educations beyond high school.

  29. Diversity in MarriageInterreligious Marriages • If both spouses are devout in their (different) religious beliefs, they may have problems in the relationship. • Less problematic is the relationship in which one spouse is devout but the partner is not. • If neither spouse in an interfaith marriage is devout, problems regarding religious differences may be minimal or nonexistent.

  30. Diversity in MarriageCross-National Marriages • Since American students take classes with foreign students, there is the opportunity for romance between the groups, which may lead to marriage. • Cultural differences do not necessarily cause stress in cross-national marriage, and degree of cultural difference is not related to degree of stress. • Much of the stress is related to society’s intolerance of cross-national marriages.

  31. Diversity in MarriageAge-Discrepant Relationships and Marriages • In marriage, these are referred to as ADMs (age-dissimilar marriages) and are in contrast to ASMs (age-similar marriages). • ADMs are also known as May-December marriages. • Research shows that there is no difference in reported marital satisfaction between a group of ADMs and ASMs.

  32. Marriage QualityDefinition and Characteristics of Successful Marriages • Marital success refers to the quality of the marriage relationship measured in terms of marital stability and marital happiness. • Characteristics of Successful Marriages: • Intimacy • Communication • Common Interests • Not Materialistic • Role Models

  33. Marriage QualityDefinition and Characteristics of Successful Marriages • Religiosity • Trust • Personal and Emotional Commitment to Stay Married • Sexual Desire • Equitable Relationships • Marriage/Connection Rituals • Absence of Negative Attributions • Forgiveness • Economic Security • Health

  34. Marriage Quality • Theoretical Views of Marital Happiness and Success • Couple Identification of the Conditions of Marital Happiness • Marital Happiness Across Time • Healthy Marriage Initiative

  35. The Future of Marriage Relationships • Diversity will continue to characterize marriage relationships of the future. • The traditional model of the husband provider, stay-at-home mom, and two children will continue to transition into other forms including more women in the work force, single parent families, and smaller families. • Openness to interracial, interreligious, cross-national, age-discrepant, relationships will increase.

  36. Quick Quiz • Which of the following is considered an individual motivation for marriage? • Love • Companionship • Parenthood • Economic Security • All of the Above

  37. Quick Quiz • _____ is the intent to maintain a relationship. • Engagement • Marriage • Commitment • Social pressure

  38. Quick Quiz • Marriage is considered a _____, or an event that marks the transition from one social status to another. • commitment • honeymoon • wedding • rite of passage

  39. Quick Quiz • _____ and strong familistic values are both considered micro family factors. • Male power • Financial responsibility • Independence • Women’s power

  40. Quick Quiz • Age discrepant marriages are also referred to as: • ASMs • ADMs • CSMs • November-February Marriages