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Property Settlement and Martial Separation Agreement

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					   Chapter 8

Marriage and Marital
   Relationships
               Marriage
• Most Americans choose to live in
  monogamous, sexually based, primary
  relationships.

• Cross-culturally, the reasons for and
  consequences of marriage differ, as does
  the structure of the marriage.
• Critical thinking: marriage because of
  love?
             Why Marriage?
• Love and commitment are not key aspects of a
  durable and long-lasting marriage in all cultures.
• Social and economic reasons motivate people
  to marry.
• Functions of Marriage in a Kinship System:
  – Procreation
  – Passing on the Family Name
  – Transmission of Family Property

  – People also marry for companionship, desire for
    children, happiness, money, convenience,
    dependence, and the fear of AIDS.
         Why Marriage?
• Functions of Marriage in the U.S.:
  –   Personality Formation
  –   Status Ascription
  –   Socialization
  –   Tension Management
  –   Reproduction and Replacement of Members
  –   Economic Cooperation
  –   Stabilization of Adults
          Marital Status and
             Well-Being
• Marriage Protection Hypothesis-Married people
  are generally happier, healthier, and engage in
  fewer risky behaviors than do unmarried people.

• For women, marriage is an economic safety net.

• Men receive greater mental health benefits from
  marriage.
           Marriage Trends
• Marriage Rates Vary According to:
  – Macro Level Factors Such as War, Economic
    Conditions, and Composition of the
    Marriageable Population
  – Geographic Factors Due to State-by-State
    Marriage Laws
  – Season and Day Due to Social and Religious
    Norms Governing Marriage Ceremonies
      Sociological Perspective.

• The structural-functional analysis:
• explains marriage in terms of society’s need or
  demand for the legitimacy of children. The
  “principle of legitimacy” (Bronislaw Malinowski).
• Feminist perspective: focusing on traditional
  gender-role socialization as a basis for marriage.
• Conflict theory: marriage as a social institution
  that benefits only the powerful and the rich.
• Symbolic interactionist: the meaning of marriage
    THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE

•   Marriage: marriage is a legal contract with specified rights and obligations.
•   Critical thinking: cultural variation?
•    Marriage as a Commitment: Commitment is a key factor in any
    intimate, emotionally satisfying, and meaningful relationship.
•   Marriage as a Sacrament.
•   most people in this country continue to at least regard marriage as a
    significant religious institution based on a sacred commitment to each other
    and their God. Vs civil marriages
•   Marriage as a Legal Contract.
•   Legal Marriage is a legally binding agreement or contractual relationship
    between two people that is defined and regulated by the state. Vs
•   social marriage is a relationship between people who cohabit and engage in
    behavior that is not validated by the state.
•    Marriage in the United States is a legal and financial contractual agreement
    that is regulated by certain legal requirements.
•   Marriage as a social obligation: fulfill expectations
     Some Legal Aspects of the
        Marriage Contract.
•   Every state in this country has laws that specify who can marry whom in terms of age and
    sex.

•   Sexual Orientation: In no state in this country can people of the same sex legally marry,
    therefore they are denied survival rights, tax benefits, and shared health care benefits.

•   Heterosexuals as the norm, monogamy is required, Bigamy is illegal.

•    Many states also have laws which that prohibit adultery (extramarital sexual intercourse) and
    fornication (sexual intercourse outside marriage).

•   The Incest Taboo: Laws prohibit sexual relations or marriage between a variety of relatives
    ranging from parents and siblings, to non-blood-related in-laws. Some states even prohibit
    marriage between affinal relatives (e.g., brothers-in-law).

•   Age Restrictions: In the past restrictions were tied to puberty, now the concern is maturity.

•   Blood Tests: In two-thirds of the states, when a couple applies for a license to marry they
    must be tested to determine if they have an STD, however; there is little routine testing for
    AIDS prior to marriage.
    CHANGE AND CONTINUITY IN
    THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE
•   Historically, marriage has been based on the concept of coverture (the idea that a
    wife is under the protection and influence of her husband). Marriage has extended
    the rights of men vis-a-vis women and children.

•   Provisions of the Modern Marriage Contract.
•   Modern marriage contracts are little different from those based on the old principle of
    coverture. Weitzman identified four provisions in modern contracts: the wife is
    responsible for caring for the home; the wife is responsible for the care of any
    children; the husband is head of the household; and the husband is responsible for
    the support of the family.
•   i.     Residence: Although a wife is no longer required to take her husband’s name,
    a husband retains the legal right to decide where the couple will live.
•   ii.    Property Rights: Most states recognize the individual ownership of property. If
    no one has proof of ownership, most courts determine that the husband is the owner,
    especially if the wife did not work outside the home during the marriage. Common-law
    property states give quite an advantage to husbands. In community property states,
    wives and husbands own all assets jointly and equally.
•   iii.   The Law: Because of a husband’s conjugal rights, in about half of the states a
    wife cannot charge her husband with rape. A husband has no legal obligation to
    compensate his wife for domestic services, but if a third party injures the wife, he can
    sue for the value of the domestic services that he lost.
               The Marriage
•
              Contract Today
    Women no longer have to take their husband’s surname. A current practice for some
    women is to hyphenate their name after marriage. Some couples attack gender-
    stereotypical wedding rituals and traditions.

•   Marriage Traditions in the United States
•   i.     Engagement: The engagement signals the more public expression of a
    couple’s relationship. Although the engagement functioned as a binding commitment
    in the past, today it seems more symbolic and ritualistic. The engagements performs
    several key functions: helps define the goal of their relationship as marriage, lets the
    pool of eligibles know that each person is “spoken for,” and provides the couple with
    the opportunity to seriously and systematically examine their relationship.
•   ii.    Prenuptial Agreements: Are developed and worked out in consultation with an
    attorney and filed as a legal document. They are negotiated ahead of time regarding
    the settlement of property, alimony, or other financial matters in the event of death or
    divorce. Prenuptial agreements are no longer utilized only by the wealthy.
•   iii.   Personal Contracts: Serve primarily as guides to future behavior, but are
    sometimes legal contracts. As far back as 1855, Lucy Stone and her husband-to-be
    wrote their own personal contract in protest against the inequality of women in
    marriage.
•
           The Wedding.
• Today’s couples tend to prefer traditional weddings, but increasingly
  they are infusing the wedding ceremony with a touch of personal
  style. Cultural or ethnic weddings are also rising in popularity.
  Weddings today are far more expensive than in the past. The
  average amount spent on weddings has increased to $27,852, an
  almost 100 percent change since 1990.
• i.    Marriage Vows: As people change their views of marriage, they
  are also changing or modifying many of the rituals and traditions of
  weddings. Couples are also defining for themselves what their
  marriage will be by writing their own personal marriage agreement
  (a written agreement between a married couple in which issues of
  role responsibility, obligation, and sharing are addressed in a
  manner that is tailored to their own personal preferences, desires,
  and expectations).
       MARRIAGE AND GENDER

• Jessie Bernard: “his marriage” and “her marriage.”
• A. “Her” Marriage.
• Bernard found that wives were much less happy in their marriages
  than their husbands. Married women also reported much higher
  rates of anxiety, phobia, and depression than any other group in
  society except single men. Wives had a higher rate of suicide than
  husbands. Daniel Goleman found that men tend to rate almost
  everything as better than do their wives.
• B. “His” Marriage.
• Men seem to prefer marriage to being single, and when asked if
  they would marry the same person again, they respond in the
  affirmative twice as often as do their wives. Married men live longer,
  have better mental and physical health, are less depressed, have a
  lower rate of suicide, are less likely to go to prison, earn higher
  incomes, and are more likely to define themselves as happy than
  are single men.
         TRANSITIONS AND
    ADJUSTMENTS TO MARRIAGES
•   Marital adjustment: the degree to which a couple gets along with each other or has a good
    working relationship and is able to satisfy each other’s needs over the marital life course. It is an
    ongoing process.

•   A Typology of Marital Relationships.
•   There is no single model for a well-adjusted marriage. Helpfulness, love, mutual respect, and
    selflessness are but a few of the many characteristics associated with marital adjustment. Cuber
    and Harroff identified five distinct types of marriages.
•   i.      The Conflict-Habituated Relationship: Extensive tension and conflict are managed or
    controlled. The couple engage in verbal arguments or fights about everything and anything.
•
    ii.    The Devitalized Relationship: Involves little conflict but also little passion and attention to
    each other. The couple were once in love but the excitement and passion are gone, and duty
    remains.
•   iii.   The Passive-Congenial Relationship: Similar to above, but the passivity in this marriage
    was always there.
•
    iv.      The Vital Relationship: Highly involved couples, who that have not lost their individual
    identities. They enjoy each other when they are together, but do not monopolize each other’s time.
•   v.       The Total Relationship: Constant togetherness with few tensions and conflicts. Total
    relationships are rare.
    HETEROGAMOUS MARRIAGES

•   Marriages between people who vary in certain social and demographic characteristics are
    classified as heterogamous.
•   A.      Interracial Marriages.
•   Although legal restrictions have been removed, the sociocultural norms concerning these
    marriages remain the most inflexible of all mate selection boundaries. Racial endogamy in
    marriage is still strong.
•   i.      African Americans: Have the highest rate of endogamous marriages and the lowest rate of
    exogamous marriages. If they do marry interracially, most often their partner is white. Men are
    twice as likely as women to have a white mate.
•   ii.     Native Americans: Interracial marriage has had a significant impact on contemporary
    Native American family life; they are the least likely among major racial groups to exhibit racial
    endogamy in marriage patterns.
•   iii.    Asian Americans: Asian American families are becoming increasingly acculturated. The
    incidence of interracial marriage among the Chinese has increased dramatically in recent years
    and more recent research suggests that the rate is increasing among Korean American women as
    well. Although the rates of interracial marriage vary from one Latino group to another, overall the
    rates have increased in recent decades.
•   iv.     Whites: Interethnic marriage among non-Latino whites is now so commonplace that most
    people don’t pay much attention to it. Estimates are that three-fourths of United States-born whites
    are married interethnically.
•
            Interfaith Marriages.

• People are more willing to cross religious than racial
  boundaries in selecting a spouse today than in the past.
  Like interracial marriages, interfaith marriages vary
  according to location and population. Most religions
  actively encourage same-faith marriages. High rates of
  out-marriages among Asian Americans have led
  sociologists and other social scientists to theorize about
  why Asian Americans choose to intermarry with whites.
  Some Asian Americans argue that the cultural
  stereotype of or fetish for Asian women is a major
  reason that many males (particularly white males) are
  attracted to Asian women.
•
          Interethnic Marriages

•   i. Latinas/os: Like Asian Americans, Latinas/os
    increasingly marry outside of their racial or ethnic
    groups. Most Latina/o interracial or interethnic
    marriages occur among young, higher-income, and
    well-educated individuals. The rates of interracial
    marriage are far higher in the West. Although interfaith
    couples are less often the victims of society’s
    disapproval than are interracial couples, cross-faith
    marriages are not without difficulty. Some studies
    indicate that racially and religiously heterogamous
    marriages have somewhat higher divorce rates and
    slightly lower levels of satisfaction than do
    homogamous marriages.
         MARITAL SATISFACTION,
      COMMUNICATION, AND CONFLICT
        RESOLUTION IN MARRIAGES
•   Research has consistently shown that in comparison to their unmarried
    counterparts, married people report being happier and generally more
    satisfied with their lives. Because marital success is a relative concept,
    researchers have based much of their findings on marital satisfaction as
    reported by married couples and on the divorce rate.
•          A.       Successful Marriage.
•   Although the divorce rate leveled off in the 1990s, almost two-thirds of the
    marriages entered into in recent years are expected to end in divorce or
    separation. According to some researchers, these statistics are a clear
    indication of a decline. On the other hand, general survey data repeatedly
    indicate that although the rate at which couples report marital happiness or
    satisfaction has declined in recent years, an overwhelming majority of
    married couples say that they are “happy” or “very happy.”
•   Effective Communication.
•   Communication is essential to the success of marriages and other intimate
    relationships. Two key components of communication are what is said and how it is
    said. In general, successful communication includes a number of conditions and
    skills.
•   C.      Self-Disclosure.
•   Self-disclosure is a key element in effective communication and higher levels of
    marital satisfaction. Research on self-disclosure consistently shows that reciprocal
    self-disclosure is positively related to marital satisfaction. As in many other aspects of
    heterosexual relations, women and men tend to differ in terms of disclosure.
•   D.      Conflict and Conflict Resolution.
•   Good communication alone does not prevent conflict. Even when couples have
    positive and effective communication skills and high levels of self-disclosure, there
    are likely to be times of disagreement, conflict and fighting.
•   John Gottman believes that the four most destructive behaviors to marital happiness
    are criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. When conflict is managed
    through negotiation and compromise, it can strengthen the bonds of affection
    between partners.
•
               Marital Conflict
• Conflict within marriage is inevitable.

• Unresolved conflict can lead to low satisfaction
  and even marital disruption.

• Marital adjustment is increased when couples:
   – Present differences;
   – Negotiate solutions; and
   – Mutually resolve problems.
Power in Intimate Relationships
• Power is the ability to influence others and
  affect their behavior.
• Power is often measured by determining
  who makes decisions and performs certain
  tasks.

• Social norms determine who has authority,
  or legitimate power.
      Characteristics of Power
• Power is the capacity to influence others, not
  necessarily the exercise of that ability.

• An individual’s power must be viewed relative to
  specific social systems and statuses.

• Resources are the primary determinant of a
  person’s ability to influence others.
  Power and Decision Making
• Blood and Wolf in 1960: Resource Theory:

• the balance of power within marriage is
  weighted toward the partner who has the
  greatest resources, as perceived by the
  other partner.
     Resource Theory Issues
• The resource theory proposition is a
  conceptual core around which other
  theories have been developed.

• Cultural Resources Theory Stresses:
  – The Cultural Context in Which Decision-
    Making Occurs
  – Structural and Material Conditions
  – Meanings Attributed to Those Conditions
                  Marital Quality
• Individual well-being is less rooted in legal marriage
  than in having a high degree of social attachment.

• Marital Quality May Refer To:
  – The Psychological State of One Partner
  – The Condition of the Relationship
  – The State of a Social System


   – Egalitarian ethic positively related to martial
     satisfaction.
  Dimensions of Marital Quality
• Degree or Nature of Differences

• Degree or Nature of Communication

• Quality of the Relationship

• Degree of Social Support and Influence of
  Social Networks
     Measure marital quality:

• The four components of The Dyadic
  Adjustment Scale: (by Graham Spanier)
• satisfaction
• dyadic cohesion
• dyadic consensus
• affectional expression
    Evaluating Marital Quality
• Spanier’s Dyadic Adjustment Scale:
  – Satisfaction–Happiness
  – Cohesion–Togetherness
  – Consensus–Agreement
  – Affectional Expression– Demonstrations
    of Affection and Love, Sexual Relations
     An Exchange Perspective
         on Marital Quality
• Marital alternatives may be a better predictor of
  marital disruption than are measures of
  satisfaction.
• Unhappy marriages may stay intact because the
  spouses have no alternatives or perceive the
  costs of dissolution as higher than the benefits.


• Question: from an exchange point of view,
  why many women stay in abusive marriages?
       Marital Quality Between
             Generations
• Compared to Older               • These Differences are
  Cohorts, Younger                  Due to Changes Over
  Persons Report:                   Time in:
  – Lower Levels of Interaction     – Economic Resources
  – Higher Levels of Conflict       – Work and Family Demands
  – Similar Levels of               – Wives’ Gender Role
    Happiness                         Attitudes
  – A Stronger Commitment to        – Premarital Cohabitation
    Lifelong Marriage
         Marital Quality over
          the Life Course
• Satisfaction with marriage is high in the
  early years, declines in the middle years,
  and increases during the empty nest.

• When plotted, this relationship exhibits a
  U-Shaped Curve.
       Egalitarian Ethic
• Feminist Couples Attempt to Create
  Higher Marital Quality Through:
  – Critiques of Gender Injustices and
    Dialogues About Expectations
  – Public Acts of Equality
  – Husband’s Active Support of Wife’s
    Activities and Career
  – Monitoring of Each Other’s Contributions
  – Emotional Involvement of Both Partners

				
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