• 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
• Tiger Woods story at beginning
• Once you have filtered out people, found the
right person – ready to marry
• Individual Motivations for Marriage
– Personal Fulfillment
– Economic Security
• 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
– Emotional support
– 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
– Behavioral indexes
– Marriage involves commitments to the family
members of the spouse
– 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.
• Declaration of Intent
– Premarital education/counseling
– Counseling before divorce
– Cooling off period of 2 years after children
– Divorce not due to “being unhappy”
• Data on 600 marriages in Louisiana
– 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.)
• The wedding is a rite of passage that is
both religious and civil.
• Women as property
• Public experience
• Blood tests, license
• Artifacts worn – old, new, borrowed, blue
• Married by clergy
• Reducing the cost of the wedding
• The honeymoon has personal and social
– The personal function is to provide a period of
recuperation from the demands of preparing
for and being in a wedding ceremony and
– 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.
Social Research – the wedding
• Page 196 and 197 of text
• Generally positive experiences
• Summarize your wedding night
– “he was thinking about his old girlfriend”
• If you could replay your wedding night
what would you change:
– “different person”
• 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.
• Enhanced self concept
• The married person begins adopting
values and behaviors consistent with the
• Less time will be spent with friends
because of the new role demands as a
• What spouses give up in friendships, they
gain in developing an intimate relationship
with each other.
• 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
• Time spent with parents and extended kin
radically increases when a couple has
• Emotional separation from one’s parents is
an important developmental task in
building a successful marriage.
Changes after Marriage
• Spending habits
– Short and long term goals
Diversity in Marriage
• 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
Diversity in Marriage
• Although much of marriage and family life in Canada is
similar to that in the United States, some of the
differences include the following:
• Bilingual families: English and French
– Definitions of Family
• Common-law couples considered family
– Same-sex relationships
• Legalized same sex relationships and court protection
• 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
• Half the divorce rate as U.S.
• Islamic tradition emphasizes:
– Close family ties with the nuclear and
– Social activities with family members
– Respect for the authority of the elderly and
• About 60% of military personnel are married and/or
• Military families are unique in several ways:
1. Traditional Sex Roles.
– Typically, the husband is deployed and the
wife takes care of the family in his absence.
2. Loss of Control – Deployment
– Military families have little control over their
lives and the threat of death or injury is
– The context of separation from each other for
months at a time increases the vulnerability of
both spouses to other partners.
4. Separation from Extended Family/Close Friends
5. Lower Marital Satisfaction and Higher Divorce
6. Employment of Spouses
7. Resilient Military Families.
– Most military families are amazingly resilient.
• 13-15% of marriages in the United States are
• Negative reactions to relationship
• If both spouses are devout in their (different)
religious beliefs, they may have problems in
• 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.
• 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.
• 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
• Research shows that there is no difference
in reported marital satisfaction between a
group of ADMs and ASMs.
• Marital success refers to the quality of the
marriage relationship measured in terms of
marital stability and marital happiness.
• Characteristics of Successful Marriages:
3. Common Interests
4. Not Materialistic
5. Role Models
8. Personal and Emotional Commitment to Stay
9. Sexual Desire
10. Equitable Relationships
11. Marriage/Connection Rituals
12. Absence of Negative Attributions
14. Economic Security
• Theoretical Views of Marital Happiness
– Family Developmental
• Couple Identification of the Conditions of
• Marital Happiness Across Time
• Healthy Marriage Initiative
The Future of Marriage
• 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
• Openness to interracial, interreligious, cross-
national, age-discrepant, relationships will