Chapter 29 Choosing Marriage
Lesson Essential Questions • What are the purposes of an engagement period? • When is breaking an engagement a wise choice? • What are the societal significances of weddings? • How are contracts and customs connected to weddings? • What are ways to plan a successful wedding?
Imagine a couple admiring an engagement ring on a woman’s hand. Think about the symbolism of this and if this symbolism is the true meaning of an engagement. Explain your reasoning.
29.1 The EngagementLEQ 1: Purposes of Engagement • Time to prepare for the wedding • Time to prepare for marriage • Allows couples to address issues that may affect or influence their marriage • This is a time of transition that leads to the joining of two lives into one future.
Couples Learn About Each Other • Identify differences-will they threaten the success of the marriage? Relationships are successful when each partner knows his or her values & expectations • Develop teamwork-Use teamwork skills: trust, communication, compromise • Establish new relationships-new family & friends are added to the bride/groom’s life. Sometimes children from previous relationships are involved. • Seek advice-premarital counseling helps couples focus on their reasons for marrying. It lets them address questions about their relationship. • HOW LONG IS THE TYPICAL ENGAGEMENT?
Teamwork in your life • Make a list of ways you use teamwork skills (such as trust, communication, and compromise) in your life. • In a brief sentence explain how you use these skills.
LEQ 2: Broken Engagements • About 1/3 of all engagements end before marriage. Many of these are broken with good reason. • Some couples find they are not ready to make the needed sacrifices & compromises for marriage. • As people grow and have different experiences, it may cause a strain on a relationship. • Lack of parental approval ends some engagements.
29.2 Making Wedding PlansLEQ 3: A Ceremony with significance • Weddings mark personal and often spiritual union of two people. They are a formal, legal display of commitment. They are important because society wants to promote stable relationships. Marriage provides the structure for having & raising children.
LEQ 4: Contracts & Customs • When a couple marries, they enter into at least one contract with each other. • Marriage is overseen by the state and made official with a marriage license. • Couples may also include customs in their weddings. • Customs can include regional, ethnic, or family traditions. Customs give a sense of continuity with past generations. • Discussion: What kinds of wedding customs are you aware of? Has anyone you know ever done any specific ones at their wedding?
Marriage Laws • Sometimes marriage laws have rules about minimum age, mental soundness, and certain diseases. In some states, marriage may be illegal among people with close blood ties like cousins. • In the US, marriage is controlled by each state. Couples have to meet the requirements of the state where the ceremony will be held, then the marriage will be valid, or legal. • Some states require a blood test be done before getting a marriage license to check for many types of sexually transmitted diseases. • Each state has a time frame for getting a license. Most require a license to be applied for at least 3 days, but not more than 30 days before the wedding. A marriage ceremony must be performed by an authorized person and be witnessed. Once the witnesses and the person who marries the couple sign the license, the marriage contract becomes legal.
Prenuptial Agreements • Special concerns and additional agreements made before the wedding is called a prenuptial agreement. • Prenups seem to deal with 3 issues: • Protecting the property-money or possessions from another marriage stay with the family • Establishing ownership-if the marriage ends, ownership of property will be already be determined by the prenup • Defining roles-It may state who will take time off from work to raise the children, or who will manage the $.
Ceremonies • The bride & groom have the opportunity to add personal touches to their wedding. • Turn to a partner and discuss your answer to today’s Warm Up Question: Explain something you would like to have or do as part of your wedding ceremony if you get married. (For today’s purposes we will presume you WILL get married) What would you need to do to make these wishes come true?
Ceremonies • Couples can have a civil or religious ceremony Wedding vows are exchanged at both types of ceremonies. • Civil ceremonies-a judge or justice of the peace marries the couple. These civil ceremonies can be performed almost anywhere. It is not as formal as a religious ceremony. • Religious ceremonies-are usually held in a house of worship. A religious official marries the couple. The readings, music & vows reflect the couple’s beliefs. • The wedding & festivities must also fit within the family’s budget.
Wedding Receptions • The bride & groom are received by family and friends and the wedding is celebrated. Receptions can be simple or elaborate. • Personal touches can be made to the reception. A couple may choose to include specific location, food, music, and decorations according to their taste and budget.
LEQ 4: Customs • Wedding customs vary depending on religious, ethnic background, and even geography. • Many couples exchange rings. A ring is a traditional symbol of marriage and sometimes engagement. It’s circle represents unity and timelessness. Gold is popular because of its strength and enduring quality. • Many couples have engagement parties or wedding showers. It allows families & friends to celebrate the upcoming wedding together. People bring gifts the couple can use in their new life together.
The Honeymoon • People go on a honeymoon after the wedding. This is a time for the couple to relax and spend time together. This is a time to adjust to marriage. • Some couples have destination weddings where family and friends accompany them to an exotic location for the wedding and vacation afterwards.
LEQ 5: Planning a Successful Wedding • Most weddings need a great deal of planning to go smoothly. Weddings can be time consuming and complicated to make all of the decisions about the arrangements. Couples must take the time to prepare if they want a successful wedding.
Management skills • Turn to your partner and discuss: • What are some of the management skills needed to plan a wedding reception? • What decisions and arrangements need to be made? • What options do couples have in terms of location, activities, food and costs?
Managing Expenses • Traditionally the bride’s family paid the costs of the ceremony and reception. The groom’s family paid for the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. Today, expenses may be split differently. • Usually though, parents who are not paying for the wedding are not involved in the planning of the wedding.
Thinking of Others • May couples want to please their families, especially those who are paying for the ceremony. When planning, keep in mind tips to avoid conflicts among family members: • Thoughtfully word announcements and invitations to make sure everyone is included • Carefully plan photograph and seating arrangements • Use a professional wedding planer if possible • Have good communication with both families • Keep those involved with the wedding informed • Be sensitive to the feelings of others so the event is meaningful to everyone
Chapter 30 Building a Strong Marriage
Lesson Essential Questions • What are qualities that help make a marriage strong? • What does the U-shaped Satisfaction curve mean for married couples? • What are skills that can strengthen a marriage? • What are resources for married couples?
30.1 Qualities of a Strong MarriageLEQ 1: What makes a marriage strong? • Strong marriages are important to society because generally people who are married are healthier than single people, and they tend to be wealthier and happier too. Couples in successful marriages tend to have successful children. • Everyone has a different opinion about what makes a marriage rewarding. In a strong marriage partners work with each other to get what each wants from the marriage. • Certain traits underlie all strong happy marriages. All traits are needed, but none come without effort, even sacrifice. Problems arise when these traits are absent. There are 5 traits to a strong marriage: commitment, realistic expectations, acceptance, flexibility and thoughtfulness.
Commitment • Couples work together to overcome problems. • They take satisfaction in finding solutions. • Couples have a high level of marriage commitment-they put each other first: before work, extended family, and even their children. This firm commitment is what helps hold a marriage together through stress and crises. • Some couples must make this commitment intentional.
Make a List • Marriage partners can demonstrate their commitment in a variety of ways. Marriages are as unique as the people involved in them, as are ways of showing commitment. Some ways of showing commitment, however, are common to all marriages. Make a list of 5 ways that a married couple can show commitment to one another. If you imagine a specific couple, it may be easier to make your list. Think of both unique and common ways of showing commitment.
Realistic Expectations • One of the most important factors in what makes a happy marriage is the couple’s expectations. • Many people enter marriage with higher expectations than can be met. Or sometimes, when a person feels his needs are not being met-this can cause tension and stress in the marriage. • Here are some sources of unrealistic expectations:
Sources of Unrealistic Expectations • The way couples are portrayed in the media. • Some people believe getting married will make their problems disappear.
Acceptance • Partners in a strong marriage accept and value each other for who they are. • They see that both partners offer strengths and weaknesses to the marriage. Both have attractive and unattractive points. They are tolerant of differences among them. Each resists the urge to show the other what he/she thinks is the right way to act or feel. • Partners have empathy. This means they identify with one another’s feelings. • They respect differences. You cannot change your partner. Attempts to do this are often met with anger and disappointment. • Have a positive attitude. • Advice and helpful criticism can have a place in a marriage. Criticism is used though only for issues that are serious. They use I-messages and avoid you messages.
Flexibility • Being flexible when it comes to change is part of building a strong bond. Those who accept change and learn to make the most of it have a better change of keeping a strong relationship.
Thoughtfulness • Dating or engaged couples work hard to please each other. Those gestures often decrease after marriage. Acts of thoughtfulness are needed to build and maintain a strong marriage. • Thoughtfulness involves showing empathy and concern. It means making an extra effort to support your partner.
Problem Solve • Thomas and Norah have been married for 5 years. Recently Norah has been feeling a lot of work-related stress. People in her office have resigned and her work responsibilities have increased greatly. When she comes home, she is tired and brings work home with her. What are some ways Thomas can demonstrate thoughtfulness in this situation? What results might these thoughtful actions have?
LEQ 2: The U-Shaped Satisfaction curve • Many newlywed couples believe that the excitement of their wedding will last forever. Very few marriages keep that level of happiness. Scientists have studied happiness and found a pattern called the U shaped curve. • During the first year, couples enjoy activities and make decisions together. They tend to be satisfied. • Marital satisfaction seems to lessen with the birth of the couple’s first child. Time and $ are stretched. The parents do things together less often. They joys gained from raising children may more than offset the drop in happiness in the marriage. • Marital satisfaction tends to hit a low when children enter school. Another low point when children are teens. • When children start to leave home and resources become more plentiful, marital happiness rises again and continues to increase into middle age.
30.2 Skills and Resources for MarriageLEQ 3 Skills for Marriage • Couples who choose marriage expect to be happy. It doesn’t come without work, though. • There are adjustments that must be made when a couple marries. They have to deal with new relationships, routines of daily life need to be established, and they must adjust to their sexual life as married partners.
Resolve conflicts • Every couple has conflict, but not everyone deals with it in the same way. Excessive arguing is a warning sign in a relationship. It can signal lack of compatibility. • Common problems in a marriage involve money, sex, work, child rearing, in-laws, and how time is spent. • Resolving conflict should be a balance of give and take (compromises). When one person does all of the giving, rarely is the marriage happy.
Small Group discussion: Resolve conflicts • If a couple has fought about an issue five times without resolution, it is a conflict not likely to be settled by further fighting. What other alternatives are there at this point? Do married couples have to resolve all conflicts?
Communicate • Communication is vital to marriage. It makes every other skill possible. They should be able to explain their worries without fear of judgment or ridicule. Using I-messages helps couples communicate without being hurtful to the partner. • Choose kind words • Be a good listener • Express appreciation and love • Show trust • Make time to talk • Hold back on judgments
Video Clip: • The Notebook-Fight Scene
Interview • Brainstorm and write 5 interview questions that you would direct to a married person or a married couple on the topic of communication. • Tonight for homework you will interview a married person or couple about communication using the questions you write. Record the interviewee’s answers and report your discoveries to the class tomorrow.
Share Intimacy • You talk about problems you wouldn’t share with anyone else. It is a closeness that develops from a personal relationship. • Although intimacy can be expressed through sexual activity, there are many other ways that are just as valuable.
The Need for Intimacy • Partners must find a level of intimacy that satisfies them both. • Family & household responsibilities can interfere with time spent together. • When sex is linked to emotional closeness, a marriage may be happy for your lifetime. When it is linked to physical attraction, a marriage may be less secure and satisfying. • When partners stop making an effort to be close, they begin to feel estranged.
Spend time together • Time can be more valuable than money to married people. You can build a strong marriage without spending much money on each other. To build and keep intimacy you must spend time together. Sharing activities expresses love and builds closeness.
Make Decisions together • People have major choices to make together. They must decide where to live, whether to have children, and more. • Comparing options lets them choose the best option. • Decisions that are mutual (agreed by both partners) are the best ones. • Common values: knowing that your spouse cares about the same things as you do helps you find options that are right for both of you. Shared values is important also.
Manage the Family finances • Conflicts over money are a leading cause of marital breakup. To manage this resource while avoiding arguments, a couple can: • Talk about money • Make a financial plan and stick to it • Establish priorities • Assign financial responsibility to the one who handles it better. • Always save some money
LEQ 4: Resources for Married Couples • For building a strong marriage, a couple’s first resource is themselves. To reach some goals, though, they need help from others. To manage their lives and maintain a rewarding relationship, couples can turn to a number of outside resources: • Family & friends • Marriage enrichment • Marriage counseling