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  1. INTIMACY &COMMITMENT The Canadian Family Dynamic Instructor: Gail McCabe PhD RSSW Thursday, June 5, 2008

  2. Intimacy & Commitment • Intimacy: closely acquainted or associated; very familiar on a fundamental or essential level • Commitment: dedication to a long-term course of action; engagement; involvement

  3. Establishing Intimacy • Homogamy (likeness or similarities of individuals) • Endogamy (within groups) • Exogamy (outside groups)

  4. Establishing Intimacy • Social or Structural Characteristics • Social Status (123) • Arranged Marriage vs. Free Choice • Individualistic Explanations • Sociocultural Explanations • Sexualization and Sexual Scripts

  5. Social Status • Class endogamy • Occupational endogamy • Educational endogamy • Mesalliance: marriage with a person of a lower social position • Hypergamy: female marries into a higher social class • Hypogamy: female marries into a lower social class

  6. The “Marriage Squeeze” • Imbalance in the sex ratio (# of males and females available for marriage) if there is a shortage • 1950s; men faced a shortage of women • 1980s-90s, shortage of men and is predicted that there will be a shortage of women

  7. Race and Ethnicity • Inter-racial marriage restricted in US until 1967 • Women tend to marry within their group • Immigrants from China, India and Japan have higher tendency to marry people from native country than those from Greece, Italy, Africa or France

  8. Arranged Marriage vs. Free Choice • Arranged marriages preserve family property, furthers political linkages, protects economic and status concerns, continuity and stability • Based on dowry or size of bride’s price, reputation of potential spouse’s kin group

  9. Social Construction of Love • At first sight? Fell in it? Made it? Have it? Would like to find it? • What is it? Dictionary: “intense affection for another based on shared experiences or interests, and an intense attraction to another person based largely on sexual desire”

  10. Individualistic Explanations of Partnering • Instinctive and Biological Theory • Parental Image Theory-Freud • Complimentary Needs Theory- Winch

  11. 1. Instinct and Biological Theory • What guides people to each other is instinct • Based on genetic similarities

  12. Parental Image Theory-Freud • Tend to fall in love with a person similar to opposite sex parent (so unconscious?) • Oedipus Complex: mother is object of love • Electra Complex • See p. 133

  13. Complimentary Needs TheoryRobert Winch • Mate selection complimentary rather than homogamous • Psychological needs and individual motivation

  14. Sociocultural Explanations of Partnering • Influenced by age, race, religion, class, proximity • Value Theory • Role Theory • Exchange Theory • Sequential Theories

  15. Value Theory • Sharing similar values: what is good, worthwhile, moral • When people share similar values, they validate each other promoting emotional satisfaction and enhances the means of communication • If couples do not hold the same values or are attacked, resentment may result • P. 135

  16. Role Theory • Expectations of their own behaviour and that of their mates • Would you marry someone who you expect to do _________ rather than someone who does not?

  17. Exchange Theory • Bargaining and transactions in mate selection • Behaviour is purposive and goal oriented • Goal is to get something positive out of it • Presented with alternative to current relationship that is perceived as superior/better  may see termination of current relationship in pursuit of the better one

  18. Sequential Theories  Murstein’s Stimulus-Value-Role 1. Stimulus  drawn to another (attractiveness, intellect, voice), if mutual 2. Value comparison  value compatibility thru verbal interaction ( i.e attitudes towards life)  if couple believes they share values, they will be attracted to each other (an attractive choice) 3. Role stage  must share role definitions as well as values (lover, parent)

  19. Sequential Theories  Bert Adams Mate selection priorities: 1.Conditions or barriers, proximity 2. Early attractions: physical qualities, similar interest 3. Deeper attractions: personality similarity 4. Defining the other as “the one” or the “best I can get”

  20. Dating • Dating came about because marriage became based on love and sexual attraction • Dating is opportunity to know what is expected of self and others • Computer match-ups, videotape selections, singles clubs and groups, newspaper ads, singles bars

  21. Dating cont. • Dating came about because marriage became based on love and sexual attraction • Dating is opportunity to know what is expected of self and others • Computer match-ups, videotape selections, singles clubs and groups, newspaper ads, singles bars

  22. Engagement • Exists in some form in all societies • Marriage is seldom taken lightly, societies provide social structure or instill awareness in the couple and community that the relationship is to be taken seriously

  23. Sexuality and Intimacy • Sexual expression is regulated and controlled through social norms, roles • Expectations differ for males and females, in public and private places, for married and singles etc • Laws punish the prostitute, distributor of child pornography or the rapist • All societies control sexuality

  24. Sexualization and Sexual Scripts • Sexualization – sexual socialization • process by which people learn and internalize their sexual self-concepts, values, attitudes, behaviors • Symbolic interaction theory claims that people become sexual beings trough social interaction • Sexual Scripts/Cultural Scripts • Blueprint of what sexuality is and how it is practiced: who, what when, where, why of sexuality • Scripts are the plans that we have in our heads • An script is a cognitive scheme that affects his or hers actual conduct

  25. According to Simon and Gagnon sexual scripting occurs on three levels: • Cultural scenarios • Interpersonal scripts • Intrapsychic • Sexual life cycles tend to be subsumed under headings of premarital, marital, extra-marital and post marital experiences

  26. Statistics • 1970: 57% of Canadians surveyed thought pre-marital sex was wrong • 1991: 22% felt this way • 1980s: AIDs and awareness raising appears; High risk behaviors • Sexual permissiveness, incidence and prevalence • Sexual revolution was real but restricted to premarital and heterosexual behavior

  27. Establishing Commitment • Marriage as a social institution • Canadian Marriage and Cohabitation Trends • Non-marital cohabitation • Cohabitation and marital stability • Variations in marriage rates • Power in Conjugal Relationships • Characteristics of conjugal power • Conjugal power and decision making in intimate relationships • Theory of resources • Egalitarian ethic • Marital Quality • Dimensions of marital or relationship quality • Marital conflict • Marital quality between generations • Marital quality over the lifecourse

  28. Marital Status and Well Being • Married men and women are: • happier and less stressed • less emotional and health problems than unmarried men and women • more likely to abstain from smoking, drink moderately, avoid risk-taking behaviour • live longer

  29. Marital Status and Well Being • Married women have more economic resources “safety net” • Men receive more emotional support in marriage

  30. Canadian Marriage & Cohabitation Trends • Fewer the # of women to men, higher the # who marry and at a younger age • Marriage rates dropped during the Great Depression, rose during and after the WWII and declined again over the last two decades

  31. Factors Contributing to Decline and Delays in Marriage • Increase in nonmarital sexual activity • Increase in the independence of young people • A reduction in fertility • Temporary shortage of males • Increase in divorce • Increase in nonmarital cohabitation

  32. Cohabitation • More common in Quebec • Among older couples with children (unlike rest of Canada) • See p. 158 figure 6.1 • Couples who cohabited before marriage reported lower quality marriages, lower commitment to the institution of marriage • More individualistic views of marriage and greater likelihood of divorce

  33. Egalitarian Ethic • Husbands who were more progressive (less traditional) were found to show increases in marital quality • Wives who held non traditional gender role attitudes reported increases in negative aspects of the marriage (less happiness, more disagreements )

  34. Marital Quality • Social attachment is more important and a better predictor of well-being than legal status of being married • Catherine Ross- 4 levels of marital status: no partner, partner outside of the household, living with a partner and married partner • Marital quality is essentially a relative agreement by partners on what issues are important, sharing similar tasks and activities and demonstration of affection • Newlyweds study: happiness, equity, competence and control • Conflict is natural and inevitable therefore the quality of marriage is not based on whether the conflict exists, but on how the conflict is measured

  35. Evaluating Marital Quality • Begins in the 1920s • Dyadic Adjustment Scale by Graham Spanier (32 items) • Satisfaction: Do you confide in your mate? Are you happy? • Cohesion: Exchange ideas and do things together? • Consensus: Agreement on finances, religion, friends, household tasks • Showing love and affection • Susan Hendriks developed a seven-item relationship assessment scale

  36. Marital Alternatives • Jessie Bernard: Marriage can be successful to the extent that it provides the highest satisfaction possible, not imaginable • Costs and rewards • How much better or worse they would be without their present spouse and how easily that spouse could be replaced • 7% of intact marriages are stable but unhappy

  37. Marital Quality Over the Life Course • U shaped pattern • Marital satisfaction high at beginning • Declines when children born • Marital satisfaction increases when children leave home and remains high through retirement

  38. What Keeps Long Term Marriages Going? • Survey of 100 couples married 45+years • Mate is best friend • Like mate as a person • See marriage as a long term (sacred) commitment • Agree on aims and goals • Laugh together frequently

  39. Survey Findings (1992) • 94% faithfulness is most important factor for a successful marriage • 63% happy sexual relationship • 53% sharing chores • 46% living away from in-laws Marital quality, regardless of how it’s measured, is remarkably stable phenomenon, unaffected by gender or marital duration