WEEK 6 LECTURE NOTES – CHOOSING A MARRIAGE PARTNER
CHOOSING A MARRIAGE PARTNER
· Continuum of social attachment: A conception of social attachment developed by Catherine Ross that emphasizes the quality of the attachment and its relationship to happiness or depression. Her research found that singles are not all socially unattached, isolated, or disconnected and that people who are in relationships that are unhappy are more depressed than people who are alone and without a partner.
· Three Demographic Categories of Singles:
· Never married
LOVE AND MARRIAGE
· ARRANGED MARRIAGES
· unions in which parents choose their children’s marriage partners
· more prevalent in parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa that are less Westernized
· children may not meet their spouse until the wedding
· all arrangements made by the parents
· it is expected that the couple will learn to love one another
· one thought is that by arranging marriages, two families are united by means of a kinship group
· the thought is that family is more important than marrying for love; a united family is preserved by arranged marriages
· in terms of a functional purpose, the following is noted
· affirms and strengthens parents’ power over their children
· helps keep the family traditions and value system intact
· helps consolidate and extend the family property
· enhances the value of the kinship group
· helps young people avoid the uncertainty of searching for a mate
· because of global Westernization, “love marriages” are replacing arranged marriage as the preference for marriage
· free-choice culture: refers to people freely choosing their own mates
· cross-national marriage: arrangement for a spouse from the country of origin for their children
· NOTE: Read the box on page 163: “An Asian-American Student’s Essay on Arranged Marriages”
· LOVE MARRIAGES
· courtly love: popular during the 12th century and later, courtly love is the intense longing for someone other than one’s marital partner—a passionate and sexual longing that ideally goes unfulfilled.
· Marriage Market: refers to the sociological concept that potential mates take stock of their personal and social characteristics and then comparison shop or bargain for the best “buy”/mate they can get.
· Exchange Theory: a theoretical perspective that sees relationships as determined by the exchange of resources and the reward-cost balance of that exchange. This theory predicts that people tend to marry others whose social class, education, physical attractiveness, and even self-esteem are similar to their own.
· Traditional Exchange: the idea that women are responsible for the children, domestic chores, sexual accessibility, and emotional support. Men provide status, protection economic support, and security for the family.
· Marriage gradient: the tendency for women to marry “up” in regard to education, age, occupation, and earning potential. It is thought that greater marital power is for men than for women because educational attainment and earnings are related to power in a marriage. In some instances, men usually have the upper hand.
· Homogamy: marriage between partners of similar race, age, education, religious background, and social class.
BARGAINING IN A CHANGING SOCIETY
· Gender differences in work and family roles have created a gray area in terms of who is in charge in the family
· Women are becoming equally employable and making good money. However, some disadvantages continue due to women having some marginal positions in the economic system. As women move forward in attaining an equal salary, men continue to have the upper hand.
· Fathers are becoming more participatory in the childcare aspect of the family
· HOMOGAMY: when Americans tend to choose partners who are like themselves in many ways. Examples are race, religion, education, and social class.
· HETEROGAMY: marrying someone dissimilar in the race, age, education, religion, or social class
· ENDOGAMY: marrying within one’s own social group
· EXOGAMY: marrying outsides one’s group
· HYPERGAMY: marrying up to improve one’s social and/or economic status
· HYPOGAMY: marrying down
· STATUS EXCHANGE HYPOTHESIS: This hypothesis is used in discussing mixed marriages. The argument presented is an individual might trade his or her socially defined superior racial/ethnic status for the economically or educationally superior status of a partner in a less-privileged racial/ethnic group. An example would be the thought that a minority will marry a white person as a means of attaining higher social status.
COURTSHIP IN A FREE-CHOICE SOCIETY
· ATTACHMENT THEORY: The theory that during infancy and childhood, individuals develop a general style of attaching to others. Go to this link.
· Getting to Know Someone and Gaining Commitment
· Dating and “Getting Together
· usually refers to an exclusive relationship
· Margaret Mead viewed dating as competition in terms of who had the most success (partners). She felt dating encouraged men and women to define heterosexual relationships as situational, rather than ongoing. Secondly, she viewed sex as becoming depersonalized and genitally oriented, rather than oriented to the whole person.
· Cohabitation and Marriage
· has become more acceptable within some cultures
· some view it as a “trial marriage”
· selection hypothesis: assumes that the individuals who choose serial cohabitation are different from those who do not.
· experience hypothesis: cohabitating experiences themselves affect individuals so that once married, they are more likely to divorce.
· Courtship violence is associated with cohabitation. This includes dating violence. Indicators of a possible violent partner early in the relationship are:
1. handles ordinary disagreements or disappointments with inappropriate anger or rage
2. has to struggle to retain self-control when some little thing triggers anger
3. goes into tirades
4. is quick to criticize or to be verbally mean
5. appears unduly jealous, restricting, and controlling
6. has been violent in previous relationships
· Date Rape/Acquaintance Rape: a sexual coercive sexual encounter with a date or an acquaintance.
Mate Selection and Marital Stability
· Age and Marital Stability
· marriages at an older age may be more stable than those that take place in one’s 20s
· factors related to the dissolving of young marriages are immaturity, parental dissatisfaction, social and economic difficulties
· Intergenerational Transmission of divorce risk: the tendency for children with divorced parents to have a greater propensity to divorce than children from intact families
· Mate Selection Risk refers to individuals from divorced families being inclined to choose partners who have characteristics similar to those in their family of origin. For example, the selection of a partner can be one who is abusive, has a drug/alcohol problem, is impulsive, socially irresponsible, etc. These are not quality traits for a successful marriage.