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Chapter 4

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COUPLE  &  FAMILY  RELATIONSHIPS:  CHAPTER  4   1     Society  and  Marriage   • The  wedding  ceremony  has  two  functions:     o Public  acknowledgment  that  a  new  family  has  been  legally  created     o Ritual  marking  the  change  in  status  and  roles  among  all  family  members     • Many  wedding  customs  are  reminders  of  earlier  practices     • The  wedding  ceremony  contains  the  traces  of  property  transfer  and  the  bride   price   • Throwing  rice,  etc.  wished  fertility   • Pioneer-­‐era  North  America  –  marriages  occurred  when  a  traveling  clergyman   came  by   • Upper  Canada  –  only  Anglican  and  Roman  Catholic  clergy  could  conduct  legal   marriages     • Many  were  married  of  their  own  faith  but  they  were  not  recognized  by  the   government     • Peak  in  marriages  during  June  and  September,  reflecting  the  agricultural  basis  of   Canadian  society   • In  June,  crops  were  planted  and  work  slackened,  in  September,  the  harvest  was   in     • Quebec  –  weddings  were  low  in  March  because  the  Roman  Catholic  church   discouraged  marriage  during  lent     • Depression    -­‐  marriages  were  delayed   • WWII  –  marriages  of  young  people  increased  as  men  went  off  to  war   • Since  1991  –  marriage  rates  have  closely  followed  economic  upswings  and   downturns   • Three  factors  may  be  involved:  women’s  greater  education,  poor  opportunities   for  young  workers,  and  an  increase  in  couples  living  together  before  marriage   • Fewer  marriages  in  Quebec  –  more  couples  living  in  common  law  unions   Law  and  Marriage     • Marriage  is  governed  by  law   • Brothers  and  sisters  cannot  marry,  you  can’t  marry  more  than  one  person,   divorce  is  necessary  before  you  can  marry  again,  both  partners  must  be  18,  but   one  or  both  may  be  16  with  parental  consent   • Same-­‐sex  marriages  were  illegal  before  2003  –  “registered  domestic   partnerships”  law,  giving  each  partner  the  status  of  “spouse”,  regardless  of  sex   • Alberta  –  Adult  Interdependent  Relationships  Act  –  applied  to  unmarried  same-­‐ sex  and  opposite-­‐sex  couples  but  might  include  other  close  relationships  such  as   parent  and  child   • Civil  Marriage  Act  became  law  July  20 ,  2005   • Definition  of  marriage  as  “the  lawful  union  of  two  persons  to  the  exclusion  of  all   others”   • Partners  have  the  right  to  sexual  access  to  the  other,  divorce  can  be  granted  if  a   partner  refuses  sex  or  is  unfaithful,  if  they  are  cruel,  assault  laws  apply,  both   have  the  right  to  family  assets,  responsibility  to  each  other,  the  right  to  decide   the  upbringing  of  their  children     • Some  couples  draw  up  a  marriage  contract  –  a  legal  document  that  alters  the   effect  of  law,  usually  as  it  applies  to  property     • In  most  provinces,  spouses  have  equal  share  of  property  and  assets  gained   during  the  marriage   • Cohabitation  agreement  for  common-­‐law  couples  –  outlining  the  partner’s  rights   and  responsibilities     • Quebec  –  common  law  partners  are  known  as  “de  facto  partners”,  and  no   statutory  provisions  give  them  rights  regarding  property  division,  the  family   residence,  and  spousal  support     • Other  provinces  vary  in  the  length  of  time  the  unmarried  couple  must  live   together  before  spousal  rights  are  recognized     Marriage  in  the  Family  Cycle   • In  the  past  –  marriage  was  a  right  of  passage   o Signaled  adulthood   o Approved  sexual  relations   o Cohabitation   o Parenthood   • In  patriarchal  cultures,  men  work  to  support  the  family  and  women  provide   physical  and  emotional  care  for  members   • Marriage  is  being  delayed  and  individuals  are  having  sexual  relations  before   marriage   • More  women  are  in  the  workforce  and  aren’t  dependant  on  men   • Contraceptives  delay  parenthood   • Marriage  is  a  commitment  to  a  new  family  system   • The  couple  needs  to  learn  to  depend  on  each  other  first  for  satisfaction  of  their   needs   • Each  spouse  brings  a  history  of  traditions  and  expectations   • They  must  decide  which  to  keep,  change,  or  drop   • They  must  renegotiate  as  a  couple  their  relationships  with  these  groups  in  their   miscrosystems   • Ethnic  couples  may  have  additional  stress  due  to  differences  between  the   messages  that  the  media,  schools,  and  other  institutions  of  white  Christian   majority  give  off  about  families  and  the  values  of  their  ethnic  group     • Conflict  over  the  definition  of  sex  roles  still  exists   o Immigrants  from  Muslim  countries  may  expect  more  subservience  in   women  than  is  usual  among  English  or  French  Canadians   • Intercultural  marriage  may  make  adjustment  more  difficult   o “Firsts”  (fight,  pregnancy,  death)  are  a  particular  challenge   • Risk  of  divorce  increases  when  a  white  woman  marries  a  non-­‐white  man   • Mixed  marriages  among  Asians  are  the  most  stable       COUPLE  &  FAMILY  RELATIONSHIPS:  CHAPTER  4   3     Why  Marry?   Status   • Those  in  arranged  marriages  may  be  less  disappointed  if  love  fades   • May  have  common  interests,  affection,  and  concern  to  make  the  marriage   pleasant   • Canadians  consider  whether  their  partner  earns  enough  money  so  that  they  can   have  the  lifestyle  that  they  want   • Marriage  gives  couples  a  legal  and  social  status  that  they  do  not  gain  through   cohabitation   • Marriage  to  immigrate  to  Canada  is  considered  marriage  of  convenience,  which   is  considered  fraud   • Victims  typically  meet  the  fraudster  while  on  vacation  and  once  they  arrive  in   Canada,  they  abandon  their  fiancées     • Marriages  are  only  valid  under  the  law  of  the  country  it  took  place  and  under   Canadian  law   • Critics  say  that  polygamy  encourages  patriarchy  and  devalues  women,  but   supporters  dub  it  the  ultimate  “feminist  lifestyle”     • Minimizes  housework   • Negative  –  young  girls  marrying  much  older  men     Economics   • Children  once  old  enough  could  help  with  farm  chores   • Quebec  parish  in  the  1930s  –  for  a  farm  to  be  productive,  it  required  the  labour   of  all  family  members   • Current  Canadian  law  –  both  partners  have  a  duty  to  support  each  other   financially,  either  by  making  money  or  caring  for  the  home  and  children   • Married  and  cohabitating  couples  are  less  likely  to  be  poor  than  a  single  person   • Grants  rights  to  support  and  property  division   Sex   • Usually  marriage  limits  sexual  relations  to  an  exclusive  partner   • Reflected  in  Canadian  divorce  law  in  which  adultery  is  grounds  for  divorce   • With  improved  contraception,  child-­‐bearing  can  be  separated  from  sexual   relations   • Sexual  access  is  not  always  present  in  marriage,  such  as  when  illness  prevents  it   or  when  partners  choose  not  to  have  sexual  relations   • Divorce  may  be  granted  on  grounds  of  cruelty  or  marriage  breakdown   Children   • The  stability  of  the  marriage  relationship  allows  children  to  survive  physically   and  to  become  socialized  and  productive  members  of  society     • Children  are  entitled  to  financial  support  regardless  of  their  parent’s  marriage   status   • Higher  levels  of  female  employment  and  social  benefits  have  made  it  possible  for   women  to  raise  children  alone,  although  usually  not  in  luxury   Identity   • The  wife  has  taken  her  husband’s  name   • Quebec  –  since  1981,  spouses  are  required  to  keep  their  birth  surnames   • The  couple  forms  a  unique  family  culture  and  worldview   • Provide  a  sense  of  purpose  and  meaning  for  each  individual   • Women  no  longer  need  to  depend  on  their  husband  for  economic  identity     Love  and  Support   • Marriage  serves  to  look  after  the  emotional  needs  of  the  partners,  arises  from   the  idea  of  romantic  love   • A  person  expects  to  find  unfailing  love  and  support   • Marital  violence  and  divorce  –  not  always  the  case   • Emotional  needs  can  also  be  met  by  family  members,  friends,  lovers   Why  Marry?   • The  legal  provisions  for  support  and  sexual  fidelity  provide  the  couple  a  degree   of  security   • Feel  secure  enough  to  incur  short-­‐term  costs  or  long-­‐term  benefits     • Marriage  is  regarded  as  superior  to  other  relationships   • Pressure  is  put  on  couples  who  are  dating  or  living  together  to  get  married   • Social  life  tends  to  be  organized  on  a  couple  basis     • Those  having  problems  view  marriage  as  a  cure  to  their  problems   • Individuals  come  to  marriage  looking  for  self-­‐fulfillment,  and  for  emotional   growth  and  satisfaction   Marriages  Yesterday     Aboriginal  Societies     • All  Aboriginal  peoples  in  Canada  engaged  in  hunting  and  food  collecting,  most   fished,  and  some  developed  simple  agriculture   • Their  lives  were  attuned  to  the  seasons   • Men  were  responsible  for  most  large  game  hunting   • Men  were  responsible  for  protecting  the  group  from  enemies  and  waging   warfare   • Women  gathered  food,  prepared  and  preserved  food,  clothing,  and  household   equipment   • Women  in  hunter-­‐gatherer  societies  provided  60-­‐90%  of  the  calories  consumed   by  he  group     • Marriage  formed  links  among  groups     • Reserve  system  established  –  survival  depended  on  adopting  ways  of  the   colonists  or  accepting  handouts   COUPLE  &  FAMILY  RELATIONSHIPS:  CHAPTER  4   5     Victorian  Ontario   • Middle  and  upper-­‐class  19  century  British  and  English-­‐Canadian  society   • Money  based:  lived  in  houses  and  accumulated  elaborate  furnishings   • Men  worked  outside  the  home  or  inherited  wealth     • The  wife  may  have  servants  to  cook,  clean,  make  clothing,  raise  children   • The  husband  controlled  the  money   • The  wife’s  dowry  and  any  money  she  inherited  was  under  her  husband’s  control   • Upper  Canada  –  women  gained  some  property  rights  in  1859   • A  women  had  rights  to  all  property  brought  into  the  marriage  or  inherited  after   marriage,  but  she  had  no  rights  to  any  money  earned  during  the  marriage   • 1884  –  a  woman  gained  right  to  all  property  she  brought  into  the  marriage,   inherited  or  earned,  and  she  could  bequeath  it  to  anyone  she  chose     • The  husband  had  exclusive  custody  of  the  children   • A  woman  could  leave  at  the  risk  of  extreme  poverty  and  the  complete  loss  of  her   children   Rural  Quebec   • Much  of  life  was  governed  by  the  Roman  Catholic  Church   • Men  spent  their  time  growing  crops,  raising  animals,  maintaining  buildings  and   equipment     • Women  cooked,  sewed,  cleaned,  spun,  and  knit   • Women  waited  on  men  and  often  ate  after  they  were  finished   • The  wife  joined  the  husband’s  family   • The  son  who  would  inherit  the  land  brought  his  wife  to  live  with  his  parents   • Men  managed  finances,  women  rarely  had  a  way  of  earning  money   Marriage  Pros  and  Cons  in  Past  Societies   • Structural-­‐functional  viewpoint  –  the  family  was  a  unit  that  ensured  survival  of   its  members  through  separate  roles  for  men  and  women   • Exchange  theorists  point  out  tradeoffs  in  these  roles   o Men  hunted  and  women  preserved  the  meat   • Feminists  –  women  were  exploited   The  “Modernization”  of  Marriage     • The  wife  usually  plans  to  keep  working  after  marriage  because  they  need  her   income   • The  husband  does  more  housework   • World  wars  –  women  had  to  replace  men  in  factories  and  offices   • Afterwards,  most  women  returned  to  their  traditional  role     • Women  who  did  work  after  marriage  did  so  to  buy  houses  or  new  furniture   • Once  there  were  children,  they  stayed  home  at  least  until  they  were  in  school   • 1970s  –  the  wife’s  income  was  necessary  to  maintain  their  buying  power   • 2006  –  58%  of  women  had  jobs,  making  up  47%  of  the  workforce   • Women  more  than  men  increase  the  time  spent  on  housework  after  a  child  is   born   • Men  do  lower  level  tasks  than  higher  level  ones   • Husbands  tend  to  do  the  highest  share  of  work  when  partner’s  earnings  are   equal   Roles  in  Marriage   Conventional  Roles   • Based  on  the  structural-­‐functional  notion  that  men  and  women  have  separate   spheres  of  action,  and  that  the  home  is  the  proper  place  for  women,  just  as  the   labour  force  is  for  men   • Originated  in  the  middle  class  of  the  19  century   • This  type  of  family  is  now  a  minority  in  Canada   • Distinct  advantages  if  the  marriage  lasts  and  is  secure   • Specializations  of  tasks  allows  each  partner  to  become  expert  in  particular  areas   • Families  have  less  security  in  poorer  economic  times   • Little  security  for  women  if  partners  separate   Shared  Roles   • Most  common  roles  in  marriage  are  shared  roles,  where  both  partners  share   work  and  responsibilities   • Women  are  sharing  the  provider  role  and  men  are  spending  more  time  in  chores   and  childcare   Dual-­Career  Roles   • Dual-­‐career  roles,  in  which  both  partners  are  committed  to  their  careers     • The  difference  between  shared  roles  and  dual-­‐career  roles  is  the  priority  set  on   the  career   • Couples  often  shared  chores  based  on  other  factors,  like  who  likes  to  cook   • Neither  partner  seems  to  be  in  a  better-­‐bargaining  position     • The  presence  of  a  child  makes  long  work  days  and  business  trips  harder  to   schedule   • High-­‐income  households  are  more  likely  to  pay  for  domestic  h
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