Psychology 2035A/B Chapter 10: Chapter 10 - Marriage & relationships

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CHAPTER 10- MARRIAGE & INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS
-Marriage – “the legally and socially sanctioned union of sexually intimate adults”
-social trends have challenged the “traditional” model of marriage:
o1. Increased acceptance of singlehood – since the 1960s, the median age at which
people marry has been increasing
o2. Increased acceptance of cohabitation – “living together in a sexually intimate
relationship without the legal bonds of marriage”
3. Reduced premium on permanence
o4. Transitions in gender roles – role expectations are more varied, flexible, and
ambiguous
More women than ever are in the workforce
o5. Increased voluntary childlessness
o6. Decline of the “nuclear family
-The percentage of women in the United States (over age 16) who work outside the home has
been rising steadily, although it has leveled off in recent years.
Cultural Influences on Marriages
-Romantic love seems to be experienced in all cultures.
-cultural differences in romantic love as a prerequisite for marriage.
o80% of world cultures practice arranged marriages.
oPriority is placed on the family’s, rather than the individual’s, welfare.
Selecting a Mate
-Monogamy - “the practice of having only one spouse at a time."
-Polygamy - involves “having more than one spouse at a time."
oPolygamy is practiced in many cultures.
oIt is most common where women have little or no independence, access to
education, or political power.
-Endogamy “the tendency of people to marry within their own social group."
-Homogamy – “the tendency of people to marry others who have similar personal
characteristics."
Predictors of Marital Success
-Family background – people whose parents were divorced are more likely to divorce
themselves.
-Age – those who marry at a younger age are more likely to divorce.
-Length of courtship – longer periods of courtship are associated with marital success.
-Personality – perfectionism and insecurity are loosely associated with marital problems.
-Premarital interaction – quality of premarital communication is especially crucial.
oIn particular, negativity, sarcasm, insulting remarks and being unsupportive are
all associated with marital distress.
Marital Adjustment Across the Family Life Cycle
-The family life cycle is “an orderly sequence of developmental stages that families tend
to progress through."
1. Between families: the unattached young adult
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-As people postpone marriage, this stage will likely lengthen.
2. Joining together: the newly married couple
-This “honeymoon” phase is characterized by high levels of satisfaction.
3. Family with young children
-Birth of the first child brings a major transition and potential stress, especially for
mothers.
-The key to reducing stress during this transition is having realistic expectations.
4. Family with adolescent children
-Adolescence is rated as the most difficult stage of parenting, and marital satisfaction
is at its lowest point.
-Conflict is especially likely between teens (both males and females) and mothers.
-In addition, many couples are also caring for their own aging parents. These double
responsibilities spurred the term, the “sandwich generation."
5. Launching children into the adult world
-Also called the “empty nest” phase, it was traditionally thought to create feelings of
loss.
-However, women’s roles extend beyond parenthood, and this is now generally
associated with greater marital satisfaction.
-Problems usually only occur when adult children return to “the nest."
6. The family in later life
-Marital satisfaction tends to climb in the postparental period when couples have more
time to devote to one another.
-This continues until a spouse’s health begins to decline and/or a spouse dies.
Vulnerable Areas in Marital Adjustment
Work and Career Issues- balancing career and family
-Work and marital adjustment
oHusbands and wives struggle to balance the demands of work and family.
oHowever, benefits of multiple roles to both spouses include:
Social support
Increased income
Having more in common
Financial Difficulties
-Serious financial worries tend to cause:
oIncreased hostility in husbands
oIncreased depression in wives
oLower marital happiness in both spouses
-Happy couples engage in more joint decision making regarding finances.
Inadequate Communication-
-Communication difficulties are the most frequently cited problem among both husbands
and wives.
-Marital satisfaction is correlated with how well conflict is handled, not whether there is
conflict.
-Five communication patterns that are risk factors for divorce are:
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