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Soc 3CC3-Nov 13

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Gail Coulas

Soc 3CC3- Nov 13 what’s going on at different stages of the marriage? -there is a transition period after you marry -first years of marriage couple has to establish their life pattern (how they’re going to live together) -first 4 years are thought to be critical -first 4 years is most satisfying but also most unstable because things just might not work out because you begin to find out who you are -shifts from individualism to “we” -been raised to think about what you want -all of a sudden every decision you make affects both of you -issue with marriage or cohabitation is you decide in your mind ‘this is for real’, some psychological shift that now it’s the real deal -might have some friends who are slowly drifting to living together, its pragmatic, becomes an issue of wanting to be together and drifting to living together -a lot different from finally saying at some point that it’s for real, forever -sharing bank account, financial issue where you share everything is a big leap -level of commitment that says it’s more than temporary -marriage is a marker, made a real statement to society -have made a commitment and are now responsible for someone else Families negotiate: a) couple arrangements b) parenthood arrangements c) financial responsibilities (how you will spend your money) d) domestic responsibility (who’s responsible for what work -first years of marriage you begin to make these couple arrangements (what night of the week to go out, to go to the gym, etc) -shift from being an individual and independence to an interdependence and how you allocate your time, economics, relationship, ideas about children and family, money, residence, leisure how you balance them and interelate them so you’re both happy -couples have 8 developmental tasks to becoming a connected couple 1) find, furnish and set down into a home -where will you live? -how will we furnish it? -who will pay for what? -what kind of mortgage you can afford -place should reflect both of you, should be a place where both people feel comfortable -can be a real issue of negotiation if both people are very stubborn 2) establishing mutually satisfactory ways of supporting each other financially - money is one of the biggest issues: not having enough, not saving in the same way, spending on different things -different couples have different arrangements -some people have joint everything, other people have separate accounts and a separate joint account, other people do it percentage wise depending on how much you make 3) allocating responsibilities that each partner will assume -who does what and when - having a child can affect these responsibilities and can lead to inequality - the women is nursing so it’s pragmatic to stay home and do the housework so father takes care of lawn and car for example -if you have a partner who travels a lot then you have to pick up all the pieces -who does what and when can shift, and most people do it on a pragmatic basis by what is the quickest way to get things done - sometimes things just don’t get split equally because it doesn’t make sense to divide everything half and half, instead one person focuses on certain tasks while the other focuses on a separate set of tasks “my job is the car, your job is the dishes “ - doesn’t always have to follow gender lines, men can do laundry, dishes, clean etc but it does have to fall under an agreement that you both think is fair -if it’s not fair you’re just going to end up angry -depends on time, talent, reciprocity, schedules, illness, personal dynamics -real issue is fairness, as long as its fair it’s ok 4) development of problem solving and constructive conflict resolution -how do you resolve conflict and begin to discuss things, or do you always just slip it under the rug and not deal with it -some families never resolve conflict and then it just blows up on them, when others are bickering all the time and are probably happy because everything is in the open -you aren’t going to live with someone and not have disagreements -often the fight you have will be about something safe rather than something that really bothers you - different families have different techniques, you just have to decide what works 5) fertility -how are you going to control it and when and if you will have children -huge deal 6) issue of starting a family -is that a part of our future? 7) interacting with family on both sides -just because you marry someone doesn’t mean you’ll feel an instant connection to their family -but they are now your family and they are just as important as your family - in-laws are your family and they’re your children’s blood - how do you interact, where do you go for Christmas, what’s alone time and what’s family time? -different families set up different rules 8) maintaining couple motivation and morale - expected to be with someone for 60 years -how do you connect and make that connection last? - build and shape a joint philosophy of life that you both want - these things are more a process of habituation, most people slowly organize what their life will be life, family and couple structure tends to be habituated (what became normal and worked) rather than actually sitting down and making rules - often trial and error - shift to this couple relationship, shifts again when you become parents -everything shifts, type of house you need etc - a lot of issues and decisions are pragmatic - U shaped curve to marital satisfaction and stability -most couples are happy during first part but not that stable -stability increases with children, demands for childcare, increasing life pressure, increasing lack of intimacy and couple time, finances, career -pressure can be difficult to meet the needs for children -that’s the beginning of the relationship, have to negotiate what you’re like as a couple, as parents, how you’ll spend your money/organize it, who does what and when in your life -looking at family in life cycle, if all this is successful you’ll make transition to next -If something is blocked, next stage might not be as positive or there might be a problem -issue isn’t that you can’t have roadblocks, it’s how you handle them Marriage in Middle Years -tend to be 40-60 ish -marital relationship coincides with launching of kids and gradual empty nest -parental responsibilities are less and less, shift where parents let go of their kids -relatively new phase in developmental cycle -women born before 1900’s were usually older at the time of their last child launching so it was normal not to have an empty nest, or to be in your 60’s and still have a kid if you had your last child later on in life -we clump our kids together and have less of them -lots of families with an extended empty nest or that never have children -the more professional a woman is at her job, the later she will have children which means the couple will have an extended amount of time together before they have children -how you negotiat
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