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Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 1020
Tuuli Kukkonen

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 COUPLE & FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS: CHAPTER 4 5  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 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 help Reverse Conv
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