QUESTION 3

A couple, Andy and Eleanor, with whom you have mutual individual relationships has recently started to have problems in the marriage. They have been married for 4 years, and recently they have each stated, on separate occasions, how they “just don’t get along like they used to.” Both seem to want more from the marriage, though both seem to be at a breaking point. The couple is fairly young (Eleanor, 26, Andy, 34) and do not have any children. Both have expressed the desire to find greater satisfaction from the relationship and each has considered romantic alternatives to their relationship.

Choose to either discuss this issue with Andy or Eleanor. Knowing what you know about attachments in adult relationships, myths, misconceptions, and truths of marriage, the evolving nature of love, and other areas of research from the course material, write a letter of support to either Andy or Eleanor. Frame your letter in the language of the course and be sure to consider relevant and recent research.



OUTLINE FOR QUESTION 3


For all sections, please be sure to include relevant and correctly formatted citations.



I. MATERIAL FROM TEXTBOOK (Organized By Chapter)


Chapter 1
  • We choose who we are and how we want our lives to be.
  • other-esteem: involves respect, acceptance, caring, valuing, and promoting others
  • May not have power to change everything, but we have power over our attitudes
  • Maslow's Self-Actualization Theory
    --Hierarchy of needs:
    --Most basic needs are physiological: food, water, shelter, air.
    --Safety needs next: protection from threat, fear, anxiety
    --Love needs next: acceptance, belonging, love
    --Ego and esteem needs: respect, liking self and others, competence, creativity, freedom
    --Need for self-actualization: individuality
    --People are not motivated by all five needs at the same time. Cannot self-actualize when focused on basic needs.
  • Choice theory—everything we do can be explained in terms of our attempts to satisfy our basic needs: survival, love and belonging, power or achievement, freedom or independence and fun (William Glasser)
    • The need to love and belong is the primary need because we need people to satisfy other needs
    • You might not have control over how you are feeling, but you do have power over what you are doing
    • Total behavior—our best attempt to get what we want to satisfy our needs
      • Composed of:
        • Acting
        • Thinking
        • Feeling
        • Physiology
    • One way to practice reality therapy: WDEP
      • Wants and needs
        • What do you want?
      • Direction and doing
        • "Even though problems may be rooted in the past, we need to learn how to deal with them in the present by learning better ways of getting what we want" (Corey and Corey, 2010, p. 23).
        • What are you doing?
      • Self-evaluation
        • “Does your present behavior have a reasonable chance of getting you what you want now, and will it take you in the direction you want to go?”
      • Planning and Action
        • Once you determine what you want to change, the next step is to formulate a plan.
      • These are designed to promote change

Chapter 2
  • Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters and Wall (1978) three forms of attachment
    • Secure
    • Anxious Avoidant
    • Anxious Ambivalent
      • Secure pattern—characterized by feelings of intimacy, emotional security and physical safety when the infant is in the presences of an attachment figure
      • Anxious-avoidant pattern—insecure attachment, because their attachment figures consistently reject them
        • Tend to use disconnection or avoidance as defense
      • Anxious ambivalent pattern—exhibit intense distress at their caretaker’s departure and an inability to be comforted upon return of the caretaker
    • Early experiences with an attachment figure become internalized in the child and these patterns serve as a blueprint for future relationships with others
  • Resiliency—amazing ability to adapt to adversity

Chapter 3:
  • You can learn to engage in a dialogue with your self-defeating thoughts and beliefs and acquire a more positive and constructive set of beliefs.
  • mindfulness: involves becoming increasingly observant and aware of external and internal stimuli in present moment and adopting open attitude of accepting what is rather than judging present situation; you become fully present in the moment
  • acceptance: process of connecting with present experience without judgment or criticism
  • Forgiveness and letting go of resentment and regret are essential to working through unfinished business that prevents us from living in the present

Chapter 4:
  • wellness: lifestyle choice and involves lifelong process of taking care of our needs on all levels of functioning (physical, psychological, social, intellectual, spritiual); deliberate lifestyle choice characterized by personal responsibility and optimal enhancement of all levels of functioning; preventing illness; process of conscious choice and effort
  • Factors that contribute to sense of well-being: how we work, play, relax, eat, think, feel, keep physically fit, relationships with others, values, beliefs, spiritual needs
  • Communication via your body
    • Eyes can express excitement or emptiness
    • Mouth can be tight or at ease
    • Neck can hold anger or tears as well as tension
    • Chest can be tight and may inhibit crying, laughing, or breathing
    • Diaphragm can block anger or pain
Chapter 5:
  • stress: event or series of events that leads to strain and often physical and psychological health problems
    • eustress: good stress that challenges us to find creative solutions to the problems of everyday living
    • distress: negative effects of stress that can deplete, fragment, or harm us leading to helplessness or exhaustion
  • John Gottman: couples can effectively deal with differences, disappointments, and conflict if they maintain a sense of humor
    • Laughter has a physiological effect: releases endorphins, lowers blood pressure, reduces perception of pain, decreases stress-related hormones, and strengthens immune system

Chapter 6:
  • Love means trusting person you love to not deliberately hurt you. It means trusting yourself to ride out the difficult times.
  • Myths about love
    • The myth of eternal love
      • Love changes over time
    • The myth that love implies constant closeness
      • Instead, we need closeness AND solitude
    • We fall in and out of love
      • Instead, we “grow in love” (implies choice and effort)
    • Exclusiveness of love
      • Instead, important to have other genuine relationships
    • True love is selfless
      • Instead, love involves both giving and receiving
      • Impaired givers—have a high need to take care of others yet appear to have no ability to make their own needs known
      • “Selfless people often depend on others to maintain their feelings of selflessness.”
    • Love and anger are incompatible
      • They can coincide, expressing anger respectfully
  1. "unless we learn how to love ourselves, we will encounter difficulties in loving others and in allowing them to love us. We cannot give to others what we do not possess ourselves" (p. 174).

Chapter 7: Relationships
  1. ** Meaningful relationships: a personal view
      • Culture plays an influential role in your relationships
      • Relationships are most meaningful when they are dynamic rather than fixed
      • Important qualities of a relationship
        • Each person in the relationship has a separate identity
        • Each is able to give and receive honest and respectful feedback
          • Focus on telling others how YOU are in your relationship with them, rather than how THEY are
        • Each person assumes responsibility for his or her own level of happiness and refrains from blaming the other when he or she is unhappy
        • Both people are willing to work at keeping their relationship happy
        • Both people are able to have fun and to play together; they enjoy doing things with each other
        • If the relationships contains a sexual component, each person assumes responsibility for the enjoyment of the relationship
        • The two people are equal in the relationship
        • Each person finds meaning and sources of nourishment outside of the relationship
        • Each person is moving in a direction in life that is personally meaningful
        • If they are in a committed relationships, the maintain this relationship by choice, not out of duty, or because of convenience
        • They are able to deal with conflict in their relationship
        • They do not expect the other to do for them what they are capable of doing for themselves
        • They encourage each other to become all that they are capable of becoming rather than trying to control the other person

    1. "We see relationships as most meaningful when they are dynamic rather than fixed. Any relationship may have periods of joy and excitement as well as times of pain and distance" (Corey & Corey, 2010, p. 197).
    2. “As long as the individuals in a relationship are willing to accept this, their relationship has a chance to change as well” (Corey & Corey, 2010, p. 197).
3. If you want to improve your relationships with another, making changes in yourself is more likely to be successful than insisting that the other person does
4. Express frustrations in a constructive tone and do not yell to make matters worse
5. Do not ever allow the violence of silence take place, do not withhold feelings because it may lead to a ticking time bomb
6. UNderstand each other's communication style and how culture may affect the way things are perceived.
7. Keep in mind all the signs of an abusive relationship or when termination may be necessary
8. Consider gender differences
  • Gender differences in looking for relationships
    • Women: promising financial prospects and a good career
    • Men: physical attractiveness
    • NOTE: people tend to like and love others whoa re similar to themselves , who reciprocate expressions of affection, and who are physically attractive
9. Effective communication is basic for a healthy relationship. Failing to listen, being too concerned w/ getting your point across, rehearsing, defensiveness, stereotyping, telling others how they are, overreacting, using sarcasm and avoiding responsibility present barriers to communication.
10. “A healthy relationship is one in which people are able to express feelings and thoughts that may be difficult to hear, yet the message is delivered in such a way it does not assault the other person’s character” (p. 203)
11. “Dealing with anger by growing silent generally does not help the situation; both parties tend to pay a price for withholding their feelings” (p. 203)
12. “Conflict can be a healthy sign of individual differences and an integral part of a good relationship” (p. 204)

Corey & Corey (2010) Discuss John Gottman and Nan Silver (2009) and the work The Seven Principals for Making Marriage Work. Corey & Corey discuss some of the key characteristics of a successful relationship:

1. Intimate familiarity: couples should know each other's concerns, goals, and hopes.
2. Fondness and admiration: Couples who feel honor and respect for one another can more easily rejuvenate their relationship.
3. Connectedness: When individuals honor each other, they are able to appreciate each other's perspective.
4. Shared sense of power: This characteristic pertains to when couples disagree. Couples look for common ground rather than insisting their way has to be supreme.
5. Shared goals: Partners incorporate each other's goals into their concept of what their intimate relationship is about.
6. Open communication: Each person in the relationship can talk fully and honestly about his or her convictions and beliefs. Key Characteristics taken from Corey & Corey (2010, p. 200-201).

"Developing meaningful intimate relationships requires time, work, and the willingness to work through difficult times. Further, to be a good friend to another, you must first be a good friend to yourself, which implies knowing yourself and caring about yourself" (Corey & Corey, 2010, p. 201).
  1. Corey, G., & Corey, M. (2010). I never knew I had a choice: Explorations in personal growth. (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.


4. Myths and Misconceptions About Love

  1. The myth of eternal love
    • The notion that love will endure forever without any change is unrealistic because our experience of love changes over time.
  2. The myth that love implies constant closeness
    • Many of us tolerate only so much closeness, and at times we are likely to need some distance from others...there are times when separation from our loved one can be beneficial.
  3. The myth that we fall in and out of love
    • We really don't fall out of love any more than we fall into it. When love ceases, one or both partners have neglected it, and have failed to replenish and renew it. Like any other living, growing thing, love requires effort to keep it healthy.
  4. The myth of the exclusiveness of love
    • One of the signs of genuine love is that it is expansive, not exclusive. By opening yourself to loving others, you also open yourself to loving one person more deeply.
  5. The myth that true love is selfless
    • Love involves both giving and receiving...it is important that we recognize our own needs and consider the value of allowing others to take care of us and return the love we show them.
  6. The myth that love and anger are incompatible
    • Denied or unexpressed anger can do more damage to the relationship. Anger can be expressed respectfully; it does not have to be judgmental or explosive.


We really don’t fall out of love any more than we fall into it. When love ceases, one or both partners have neglected it, and have failed to replenish and renew it. Like any other living, growing thing, love requires effort to keep it healthy. (Corey & Corey, 2010 p. 181)

“Most people believe that when you forgive someone, you are doing something for them. The truth is, when you forgive, you are doing it for yourself” (Corey & Corey, 2010 p. 204).

Commitment
"Love means making a commitment to the person I love. Commitment to another person involves risks, but commitment is the essential context of an intimate relationship. This means that the people involved have invested in their future together and that they are willing to stay with each other in times of crisis and conflict. Commitment entails a willingness to stay with each other in times of pain, uncertainty, struggle, and despair, as well as in times of calm and enjoyment. A major component of commitment is to give honest feedback to the one we love, even though it may be difficult to give and to hear. Some people have difficulty making a long-term sense of commitment. Loving and being loved is both exciting and frightening, and we may have to struggle with the issue of how much anxiety we can tolerate.
(Corey & Corey, 2010, p. 177)

Chapter 7: Relationships
Address Conflict and Confrontation Effectively

1.Recognize the conflict (healthy sign)
2. Confrontation is an act of caring, not an attack
3.Resist the temptation to plan your next response while the other person is speaking to you
4. Identify your motivation
5.Accept responsibility for your own feelings.
6.Don’t make dogmatic statements about the other person
7. Don’t walk away from conflict
8. Recognize the importance of forgiving those who have hurt you
9. Recognize that it is essential to forgive yourself
(Corey & Corey, 2010 p. 204-205)

“It is difficult to change that which you are not aware of. However, with awareness you can catch yourself in familiar behavior patterns and begin to modify what you say and do.” (Corey & Corey, pg. 204)

Dealing with Communication Barriers:


Some Communication Barriers:
-Failing to really listen to the other person
-Selective Listening
-Being overly concerned with getting your point across without listening to the other person
-Silently rehearsing what you will say next rather than listening
-Becoming defensive, with self-protection being your main concern
(Corey & Corey, 2010, p.207)

Effective Personal Communication
-One is listening while the other speaks; one is listening in order to understand
-Do no rehearse your response while the other is speaking
-Language is specific and concrete (I feel… I don’t like…)
-The listener takes a moment before responding to reflect on what was said
-There is respect for each other’s differences
(Corey & Corey, 2010, p. 209)

Chapter 13: Meaning and Values
Important in a Relationship to consider what you value and your meaning of life is
You hope your relationship helps to complete your life and not prevent you from taking part in it
(p. 374)
-three important questions on our quest for meaning
-Who am I?
-Where am I going?
-Why?
Our Quest for Identity (p.374-376)
-challenged to reexamine our patterns, behaviors, relationships and ways of thinking
-need to be able to listen to our inner self and trust it, then we will be open to new possibilities
-Values: core beliefs that influence how we act, affect how we live our lives and whether we are happy or not
Our Search for Meaning and Purpose (p. 376-379)
-our challenge is to create meaning for ourselves, our why? In life
-Bellah and colleagues (1985) say we find meaning through intense relationships we have in our life rather than just self-realization
"Healthy relationships are two-sided transactions characterized by reciprocal giving and taking" (Corey & Corey, 2010, p. 379).
-need a balance between concern for yourself and others (not good to sacrifice yourself with nothing in return)
The Foundations of Meaning (p. 380-382)
-Philosophy of Life: made up of the fundamental beliefs, attitudes, and values that govern a person’s behavior
-Ruiz (2000) The Four Agreements: help to heal relationships with significant people and improve life
Step 1: Awareness of where you are now and where you want to be
Agreement 1: Say what you mean and speak with integrity
Agreement 2: Don’t take things personally. What they say and do comes from their subjective view of reality
Agreement 3: Don’t make assumptions. Communicate as clearly as possible what you really want
Agreement 4: Always do your best. Helps to avoid self-judgment and regret
-let’s have agreements that make us happy
-continuous and lifelong journey, be open to new learning and revise and rebuild our conceptions
-create time to be alone in reflective thought
Spirituality (p. 383-386)
-can help us get in touch with our powers of thinking, feeling, deciding, willing and acting
-viewed as a journey and a way of experiencing life
-a mental attitude that can be practiced at any time
-involvement in spirituality can create a feeling of belonging and caring connection with others
Becoming Aware of How Your Values Operate (p. 387-388)
-Are you values appropriate for you at this time in your life?
-respect that others have different values from your own, neither one is right or wrong
Breaking Down the Barriers that Separate Us (p. 395-396)
-always barriers to understanding each other
-awareness of your obstacles and differences is the first step
-this leads to increased communication and breaking down those walls
-be willing to test, adapt and change your perceptions

Corey & Corey Meaningful Relationships: A Personal View (p.197)
Corey and Corey provide a list of qualities that make up a good relationship. I have condensed and paraphrased the list:
- Each partner has a separate identity
- Each partner gives and receives honest feedback
- …assumes responsibility for his/ her own happiness
- …are willing to work at a healthy relationship
- …can have fun and play together
- …take responsibility for sexual enjoyment
- Both partners are equal
- …are able to find meaning beyond the relationship
- ….are individually working on goals, work, play, and relationships with others
- They chose to stay with each other and not out a sense of duty
- They deal with conflict constructively
- They are not dependent on each other for their sense of personal worth
- Encouragement instead of control



Corey, G., & Corey, M. (2010). I never knew I had a choice: Explorations in personal growth. (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.

II. PEER-REVIEWED RESOURCES

1. Marital virtues and their relationship to individual functioning, communication, and relationship adjustment.

Veldorale-Brogan, A., Bradford, K., & Vail, A. (2010). Marital virtues and their relationship to individual functioning, communication, and relationship adjustment. Journal Of Positive Psychology, 5(4), 281-293. doi:10.1080/17439760.2010.498617.

Abstract:Extant research has documented both individual well-being and couple communication as important predictors of marital adjustment. In the recent years, researchers have looked beyond problem-based predictors, shifting the focus from pathology and communication to include positive actions and ways of being. This study used Fowers' [(2005) Virtue and psychology: Pursuing excellence in ordinary practices. Washington, DC: APA Press] framework of virtue ethics to test additional potentially important linkages. This framework posits that characteristics, such as compassion and generosity, which are foundational to relationship adjustment. This study examined the direct and indirect links among individual functioning, marital virtues, communication, and marital adjustment. Data were collected from a sample of 422 married and cohabitating individuals using a self-report survey. Individual well-being significantly and consistently predicted virtues, communication, and relationship functioning. Marital virtues and communication were found to mediate the relationship between individual well-being and relationship adjustment. In addition, communication was found to mediate the relationship between marital virtues and relationship adjustment. Findings provide support for the notion that character strengths - enacted as marital virtues - influence communication and relationship adjustment. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Summary:This article discusses the characteristics that are important to relationship adjustment and success. Components such as martial virtues and communication were found to mediate the relationship between adjustment and well-being. Similarly, communication was found to mediate the relationship between adjustment and marital values. All of the factors are inter-connected with each other and each play a role in relationships. The article stresses the important role that such factors play in maintaining a healthly relationship.



2. Attitudes Towards Marriage: Embeddedness and Outcomes in Personal Relationships
Riggio, H. R., & Weiser, D. A. (2008). Attitudes toward marriage: Embeddedness and outcomes in personal relationships. Personal Relationships, 15(1), 123-140. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6811.2007.00188.x

Abstract:This study examines marriage attitudes, attitude embeddedness, personal relationship outcomes, and parental marital status and conflict using 400 undergraduate students. In a conceptual replication of Prislin and Ouellette (1996) , more embedded marriage attitudes are more predictive of evaluations of general marriage issues and relationship scenarios than less embedded attitudes. Consistent with findings that marriage attitudes influence relationship quality ( Amato & Rogers, 1999 ), more embedded attitudes predict relationship conflict, commitment, desirability of alternatives, and expectations of relationship success. Recollections of high parental conflict are associated with greater relationship conflict, and individuals with divorced parents report more negative marriage attitudes. Future research on relationship attitudes, their strength, and consequences of parental divorce and conflict for offspring marriage attitudes is discussed. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Summary: This article examines marriage attitudes, personal relationship outcomes, and marital status and conflict. The study found that the different marriage attitudes influenced relationship quality. More embedded attitudes predicted more relationship conflict, commitment issues, and expectations of relationship success.


3. Fostering family resiliency: a review of the key protective factors
Benzies, K., & Mychasiuk, R. (2009). Fostering family resiliency: a review of the key protective factors. Child & Family Social Work, 14(1), 103-114.

ABSTRACT
The aim of this integrative review was to identify the protective factors that contribute to family resiliency. Families are comprised of individuals who interact across levels in a socio-ecological system. Family resiliency does not develop through evasion of risk, but through successful application of protective factors to engage in adverse situations and emerge from them stronger. In an effort to move away from pathological labelling, this review provides a foundation for strength-based family interventions. Thirteen peerreviewed databases were searched for articles and information regarding family resiliency. Careful review yielded 24 protective factors that foster resiliency across three distinct but interactive levels: individual, family and community. The protective factors identified in this review of the literature offer an excellent starting point for development of clinical interventions to support family resiliency.

Summary
This articles several factors that this couple could cultivate in their own lives that would contribute toward resiliency in a family. In this study, a family is defined as any combination of two or more persons who are brought together over time by ties of mutual consent, birth and/or adoption who, together, assume responsibilities for family functions (Benzies & Mychasiuk, 2009). The aspects identified that might apply to this couple are internal locus of control, self-efficacy, emotional regulation, positive belief system, effective coping systems, education, skills or other training, maintaining good mental and physical health, and temperament. The article goes on to identify community and family variables that also can help.

4. Spanier, G, (1976). Measuring Dyadic Adjustment: New Scales for Assessing the Quality of Marriage and Similar Dyads. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 38(1), 15-28

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/350547?uid=3739864&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21100761108791

Abstract: This study reports on the development of the Dyadic Adjustment Scale, a new measure for assessing the quality of marriage and other similar dyads. The 32-item scale is designed for use with either married or unmarried cohabiting couples. Despite widespread criticisms of the concept of adjustment, the study proceeds from the pragmatic position that a new measure, which is theoretically grounded, relevant, valid, and highly reliable, is necessary since marital and dyadic adjustment continue to be researched. This factor analytic study tests a conceptual definition set forth in earlier work and suggests the existence of four empirically verified components of dyadic adjustment which can be used as subscales [dyadic satisfaction, dyadic cohesion, dyadic consensus and affectional expression]. Evidence is presented suggesting content, criterion-related, and construct validity. High scale reliability is reported. The possibility of item weighting is considered and endorsed as a potential measurement technique, but it not adopted for the present Dyadic Adjustment Scale. It is concluded that the Dyadic Adjustment Scale represents a significant improvement over other measures of marital adjustment, but a number of troublesome methodological issues remain for future research.

Summary: Each party in the marriage was to fill out the 32 question scales and rate where their marriage fell. There were four subscales and the people answered questions based on a likert scale. After the assessment scores were looked at and discussed between the clients to get a deeper insight at their marriage. Those that had high matches seemed to have talked about having a stronger and healthier marriage.

5. Counting Couples Workshop. (2001). Improving Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage and Cohabitation Data in the Federal Statistical System. Retrieved at http://www.childstats.gov/pdf/other_pubs/ccr.pdf

Overview: This report presents the highlights of a national workshop attended by research, policy, and data experts from academia, nonprofit organizations, and government. It summarizes the presentations, the recommendations of the discussion groups, and the consensus of workshop participants on targets of opportunity for improving data on marriage, divorce and cohabitation. The targets of opportunity were developed by integrating the recommendations of the discussion groups and do not constitute a formal plan of action on the part of any federal or state agency.

Summary: This detailed report gives information about all different kinds of populations of marriages. There are all different kinds of cultures involved as well as a diverse pool of people that the statistics were taken from. There are plenty of tips on maintaining a marriage as well as ways to prevent divorse. This was all presented at a conference in Maryland and is laid out in a presentation format seperated from one appendix to another.




Nelson, J. A., Manning Kirk, A., Ane, P., & Serres, S. A. (2011). Religious and spiritual values and moral commitment in marriage: Untapped resources in couples counseling? Counseling and Values, 55, 228-246.

This article addresses religion and spirituality, and how the two have been neglected in couples counseling until more recent years. Some reasons may be the fear of imposing personal values on clients and a lack of training by therapists. M.P. Johnson, Caughlin, & Huston (1999) define moral commitment as “the sense that one is morally obligated to continue in a relationship” (p. 161, as cited in Nelson, Manning Kirk, Ane, & Serres, 2011). They suggest that there are three parts to moral commitment which are: a) that marriage is permanent and involves following rules, b) that you are morally obligated to a specific person, and c) that you have a desire to be consistent and finish what you have begun (Nelson, et al., 2011).

Counselors have recently gained a renewed interest in the inclusion of these aspects into counseling. These things may be important to a couple’s success, and failure to address them may be neglectful. Research suggests the importance of commitment and religious values to marital success (Nelson, et al., 2011). Religion is said to be predictive of success when values and experiences of religion are shared between a couple, as it provides a set of guidelines or a “road map” to follow.

Most participants in this study indicated that there was some connection between religious values and commitment in their marriage, and many couples articulated specific ways that religion guides their moral commitment. Those that did not framed their relationship in terms of honesty, trust and communication rather than moral commitment. One important note that the authors share is that the couples with religious values deemed commitment to be more central to their marriage (Nelson, Manning Kirk, Ane, & Serres, 2011).

6. Conflict Styles in Newlywed Couples
Segrin, C., Hanzal, A., & Domschke, T. J. (2009). Accuracy and bias in newlywed couples' perceptions of conflict styles and the association with marital satisfaction. Communication Monographs, 76(2), 207-233. doi:10.1080/03637750902828404

Abstract: Styles of handling conflict are highly consequential to marital success. The behavioral model predicts that spouses’ accuracy in perceptions of each other will be associated with marital quality, whereas the benevolent perception model predicts that benevolent perceptions, even when objectively inaccurate, will be associated with marital quality. To investigate the role of perceptions of marital conflict styles, 194 couples married for less than five years completed self- and partner-reports of conflict styles and marital satisfaction. Results indicated that spouses were both accurate (i.e., seeing the self the same as one’s partner sees the self) and biased (i.e., seeing the partner the same as one sees the self) in their perceptions of each others’ conflict styles. Little support existed for the accuracy model of perception and marital satisfaction, but more consistent support was obtained for the benevolent perception model in which more positively toned perceptions, regardless of their consistency with partners’ self-perceptions, were associated with higher marital satisfaction. Results of actor-partner interdependence analyses revealed numerous actor effects for conflict styles and satisfaction, and partner effects for the styles of conflict engagement and withdrawal and partners’ marital satisfaction.

Summary: It is my opinion (as mentioned in my other post) that communication is the biggest factor in the success of any marriage and that is why I have focused on this for this question. With two people being nearly 10 years apart in age, it is not unlikely that they might have problems with communication and/or dealing with conflict. This article looks at the different types of conflict and helps us to understand what might be going wrong for the couple in the question. It is certainly something worth exploring with them.
external image pdf.png Conflict Styles.pdf



7. Bachand, L. L. & Caron, S. L. (2001). Ties that bind: a qualitative study of happy long-term marriages. Contemporary Family Therapy, 23(1), 105-121.
Article:

Abstract:
An abundance of literature exists concerning the marital relationship. While most research focuses on divorce and the social consequences of this phenomenon, more recently social scientists have focused on the marriages that remain intact. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into what factors make marriages last. This study used qualitative methodology to gain further insight into long-term marriages. Interviews were conducted with 15 heterosexual couples who had been married for at least 35 years and who identified their
marriage as happy. Results indicate that for each couple the factors contributing to the longevity of their happy marriage were numerous and unique. While the most commonly mentioned factors included friendship, love, and similar backgrounds or interests, a wide range of responses were elicited.
Summary:
Couples attribute many factors to their long marriages, including friendship, love, similarity, commitment, respect, support, and more. Long, happy marriages are the result of a shared understanding of what marriage means for them. There is no single defining characteristic, though friendship and love are likely both a benefit and a cause for long marriages.


8. Hawkins, D. N. & Booth, A. (2005). Unhappily ever after: effectves of long-term, low-quality marriages on well-being. Social Forces, 84(1), 445-465.
Article:

Abstract:
The present study shows that long-term, low-quality marriages have significant negative effects on overall well-being.We utilize a nationally representative longitudinal study with a multi-item marital quality scale that allows us to track unhappy marriages over a 12-year period and to assess marital happiness along many dimensions. Remaining unhappily married is associated with significantly lower levels of overall happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem and overall health along with elevated levels of psychological distress compared to remaining otherwise continuously married. There is also some evidence that staying unhappily married is more detrimental than divorcing, as people in low-quality marriages are less happy than individuals who divorce and remarry. They also have lower levels of life satisfaction, self-esteem and overall health than individuals who divorce and remain unmarried. Unhappily married people may have greater odds of improving their wellbeing by dissolving their low-quality unions as there is no evidence that they are better off in any aspect of overall well-being than those who divorce.
Summary:
Remaining unhappily married lowers happiness, life satisfaction and self-esteem; also, it is associated with poorer health because unhappily married individuals also appear to have higher levels of psychological distress. Divorced
individuals who remarry have greater happiness than unhappily married people. Remaining unhappily married rather than divorcing is never beneficial on average to the psychological well-being or overall health of the individuals in this study.

9). Role playing therapy is a way to understand your partner and feel empathy for them. Put yoursleves in someone elses shoes for a day and see how you would react.
Marriage Counseling Tools. Retrieved, May 3rd 2012 from: http://www.livestrong.com/article/213024-marriage-counseling-tools/



Mattingly, B. A., & Clark, E. M. (2012). Weakening relationships we try to preserve: Motivated sacrifice, attachment, and relationship quality. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42 (2), 373-386.

Substantial research supports the notion that a willingness to sacrifice is positively associated with relationship satisfaction. Committed or interdependent individuals place their partners’ interests before their own because they experience a transformation of motivation, while non-committed people seek to maximize their self-interest (Mattingly & Clark, 2012). Securely attached men and women tend to be more comfortable with intimacy and sacrifice in a relationship. Those that experience anxious attachment are motivated by both approach motivations (increase satisfaction) and avoidant motivations (decrease satisfaction), but tend to weaken their relationships more than strengthen them.

This study looks at the associations between attachment, sacrificial actions, and relationship quality. It found that attachment avoidance was related to dissatisfaction in relationships in addition to sacrifices driven by avoidant motives. In other words, the individuals that were high in attachment avoidance tended to sacrifice mainly to avoid negative consequences. The research also supports the idea that securely attached individuals experience greater relationship satisfaction and are more likely to use approach-motivated sacrifice (Mattingly & Clark, 2012).



10.
Reference: Lebow, J. L., Chambers, A. L., Christensen, A., & Johnson, S. M. (2012). Research on the Treatment of Couple Distress. Journal Of Marital And Family Therapy, 38(1), 145-168.
Abstract: This article reviews the research on couple therapy over the last decade. The research shows that couple therapy positively impacts 70% of couples receiving treatment. The effectiveness rates of couple therapy are comparable to the effectiveness rates of individual therapies and vastly superior to control groups not receiving treatment. The relationship between couple distress and individual disorders such as depression and anxiety has become well established over the past decade. Research also indicates that couple therapy clearly has an important role in the treatment of many disorders. Findings over the decade have been especially promising for integrative behavioral couples therapy and emotion-focused therapy, which are two evidence-based treatments for couples. Research has also begun to identify moderators and mediators of change in couple therapy. Finally, a new and exciting line of research has focused on delineating the principles of change in couple therapy that transcends approach.

11.
Reference: Kamp Dush, C. M., & Taylor, M. G. (2012). Trajectories of Marital Conflict Across the Life Course: Predictors and Interactions With Marital Happiness Trajectories. Journal Of Family Issues, 33(3), 341-368. doi:10.1177/0192513X11409684
Abstract: Using typologies outlined by Gottman and Fitzpatrick as well as institutional and companionate models of marriage, the authors conducted a latent class analysis of marital conflict trajectories using 20 years of data from the Marital Instability Over the Life Course study. Respondents were in one of three groups: high, medium (around the mean), or low conflict. Several factors predicted conflict trajectory group membership; respondents who believed in lifelong marriage and shared decisions equally with their spouse were more likely to report low and less likely to report high conflict. The conflict trajectories were intersected with marital happiness trajectories to examine predictors of high and low quality marriages. A stronger belief in lifelong marriage, shared decision making, and husbands sharing a greater proportion of housework were associated with an increased likelihood of membership in a high happiness, low conflict marriage, and a decreased likelihood of a low marital happiness group.

12.
Reference: Campbell, K., & Wright, D. W. (2010). Marriage Today: Exploring the Incongruence Between Americans' Beliefs and Practices. Journal Of Comparative Family Studies, 41(3), 329-345.
Abstract: This paper provides a literature review of the incongruence between Americans' beliefs and practices regarding marriage. In the United States, marriage is conceptualized as a monogamous, lifelong partnership. Yet American practices do not support this conceptualization, which is evidenced by infidelity and divorce rates that approximate 25-50 percent. This paper explores the incongruence and examines how cultural shifts in marital practices have contributed to higher rates of infidelity and divorce. Information is presented about the purpose of marriage, and attitudes and practices regarding infidelity and divorce. We present these topics using a sociohistorical context and describe how the nature of marriage has changed over time. It is argued that the purpose of marriage has shifted from being a social obligation to a choice based on personal fulfillment; and that this shift puts individuals at greater risk of infidelity and divorce. Throughout the paper, and particularly in the concluding section, we offer commentary about how the incongruence between marital beliefs and practices can be reconciled at the intra-personal, interpersonal, and contextual levels.

Examining the Individual within Marriage
Examining changes in life satisfaction and marital adjustment
Gordon, C. L., & Baucom, D. H. (2009). Examining the individual within marriage: Personal strengths and relationship satisfaction. Personal Relationships, 16, 421-435.

Important Information
-how one’s positive affectivity may relate to the couple’s satisfaction
-positive illusions—idealizing their partner and overlooking faults
-can help but couples need to realistically cope with the negative parts and address them
-how fond are you of your partner? Relates to marital satisfaction
-an individual’s positive affectivity can lead to increased positive illusions
-target cognitive and behavioral factors that may be preventing positive affect
-optimism, coping skills (limit individual stress from entering the marriage), and personal expansion (serve as a renewable resource of stimulation) are looked at in this study
- “Clarifying the role that positives play in determining satisfaction is an important step toward creating a foundation for future interventions designed to enhance ‘satisfied’ marriages” (Gordon, C. L., & Baucom, D. H., 2009, p. 431).
-an individual’s experience of marriage tends to be similar to their experience of the world
-work on the individual within the marriage and the marriage may become stronger

Stanley, S. M., Ragan, E. P., Rhoades, G. K., & Markman, H. J. (2012). Examining changes in relationship adjustment and life satisfaction in marriage. Journal of Family Psychology, 26 (1), 165-170.

Important Information
-there are associations between marital happiness and global happiness
-those who were unhappy in their marriage were unhappy in their life—this affected other aspects of well-being
-life satisfaction is part of your subjective well-being and this could later influence marriage satisfaction
-improving your own life satisfaction may be beneficial to future relationship satisfaction
-if you have higher life satisfaction before entering a marriage that will be a protective factor for marital adjustment (life satisfaction stays relatively stable unless you make the effort to change it)
-interventions to increase life satisfaction could have a positive impact on marriage satisfaction
13.
Gillmore, M., Lee, J., Morrison, D. M., & Lindhorst, T. (2008). Marriage Following Adolescent Parenthood: Relationship to Adult Well-Being. Journal Of Marriage And Family, 70(5), 1136-1144.

Abstract:
Research suggests that adult marriages confer benefits. Does marriage following a teenage birth confer benefits similar to those observed for adults? Longitudinal data from a community sample of 235 young women who gave birth as unmarried adolescents were used to examine this question. Controlling for socioeconomic status and preexisting ‘‘benefits,’’ we found that marriage conferred small, though statistically significant, benefits with regard to less economic adversity and less marijuana and polydrug use but no observable benefits with regard to alcohol or other drug use, poverty, psychological well-being, or high school completion, in contrast to prior findings. We conclude that in addition to the marriage benefits observed, stable intimate relationships, whether marital or not, appear to confer psychological benefits in this sample.

Summary: The main reason that I post this article is to note a list of benefits identified in the research about marriage. Gillmore et al (2008) write, "Research consistently has shown that relative to the unmarried, married adults experience greater well-being on a number of factors, including greater affluence over the life course, less substance abuse, less depression, lower suicide rates, better physical health, longer lives, greater happiness and well-being, more emotional satisfaction with partners, and better sex lives (e.g., Burman & Margolin, 1992; Coombs, 1991; DeKlyen, Brooks-Gunn, McLanahan, & Knab, 2006; Hirschl, Altobelli,&Rank, 2003; Ross,Mirowsky, & Goldsteen, 1990; Stack & Wasserman, 1995; Waite, 1995). These benefits have been observed not only in the United States but in other developed nations as well (Stack & Eshleman, 1998). The economic benefits of marriage are presumed to arise from an economy of scale (i.e., ‘‘two can live cheaper than one’’), and greater well-being is presumed to stem from the relationship itself in terms of the availability of mutual support, nurturance, companionship, and so forth (Brown, 2000; Lamb, Lee, & DeMaris, 2003). A critical issue is the causal direction of the effects: Does marriage confer enhanced well-being or are persons with greater well-being more likely to be selected as marriage partners? Most earlier studies used cross-sectional data to compare married
and unmarried persons and thus could not rule out a selection effect."

The results from this article show that single adolescent parents who later marry do receive the economic, but not the psychological benefits. The authors conclude the article by speculating that it is not marriage, but instead a lifelong, committed relationship that confers psychological benefits.

Article:


14.Understanding Infatuation & Devotion:

Abstract: This article discusses the psychology behind infatuation and how some relationships deepen into devotion while others fizzle into indifference. Studies on persons experiencing infatuation report that the normal duration of infatuation ranges from six weeks to six months, depending upon the characteristics and the circumstances of the relationship. Being able to foretell the behavior of the other person, rather than negative experiences, normally is what decreases the earnest excitement of infatuation. The author observes that the danger comes when one believes that the experience of infatuation is synonymous with "falling in love" and associate a decrease in intensity with a decrease in love.

Key Concepts:
  • “Passionate Love is defined as "an intense longing or union with another" and is characterized by feelings of excitement, preoccupation, idealization, sexual attraction, intensity and elation” (p. 16)
  • Companionate Love is defined as "the affection we hold for those with whom our lives are deeply entwined" and it is characterized by a feeling of being profoundly known and understood. Companionate love is comfortable, mutual and relatively consistent. Those who experience companionate love often share history, have similar values and consider each other "soul males." (p. 17)
  • Studies indicate that there is no limit to the number of years one can sustain companionate love, but it is difficult to attain in a relationship lasting less than a year.
  • Lack of predictability in a relationship prolongs infatuation. Being able to predict the behavior of the other person normally decreases infatuation.
  • Five components of devoted long-term relationships: commitment, intimacy, cohesion, interaction, and attention.
    • Commitment = disposition or plan to stay in the relationship during more difficult times, pretending as if there are no other options than to maintain the relationship.
    • Intimacy = ability to reveal our innermost thoughts and feelings and know that we will be safe
    • Cohesion = a product of intimacy; a feeling of closeness and compassion for the other person; prevents us from hurting the other person.
    • Interaction = sharing activities.
    • Attention = positive thoughts and behavior that is considerate and kind to the other person; most clearly demonstrates the respect and high regard one has for the other
    • We typically do not reveal information about ourselves to another person until we believe we can trust them (predict their responses). This provides a good argument that passionate and companionate love are mutually exclusive, however we know by observing some relationships that this is not always the case.
    • A higher level of excitement in the early days of the relationship is not always a good predictor of future satisfaction, commitment, and devotion.
Reference
Applewhite, M. (2005). Understanding infatuation and devotion. Human Development, 26 (4), 16-20.

15. A Psychological Perspective: Marriage and the Social Provisions of Relationships
  1. Cutrona, C. E. (2004). A psychological perspective: Marriage and the social provisions of relationships. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(4), 992-999.
  2. ABSTRACT: The drive to establish connection and intimacy with another person is powerful. This is true among heterosexual and nonheterosexual people, among members of all ethnic and racial groups, and among persons at all levels on the socioeconomic ladder. This drive for connection and intimacy exists among those who want children and those who do not. It exists among those temperamentally suited to be good partners and those who are not.
  3. SUMMARY:
    1. Social provisions of relationships: Cutrona reviews the six different relationship provisions sought in a close relationship according to Robert Weiss:
      1. Attachment: the emotional bond in which security can be derived
      2. Reassurance of worth: being viewed as competent; an individual with value
      3. Guidance : advice and information when needed
      4. Reliable alliance: knowing the other can be trusted to give help and assistance when needed
      5. Social integration: shared values, interests, and companionship
      6. Opportunity to provide nurturance: being needed by someone for love and care
    2. Good marriages require "good" people. "People with 'good hearts' and low anxiety have stable and satisfying marriages. 'Good heartedness' appears to be a mixture of conscientiousness, agreeableness, and a secure attachment style" (p. 994).
    3. "Given that skill level is more readily altered than personality, skill building remains a reasonable strategy for slowing the deterioration and sustaining the quality of marital or cohabiting relationships" (p.995).
    4. Declining love and affection predicts marital dissolution more than an increase in strife. "There is a clear need for methods that will not only decrease destructive conflict but also will increase the store of social provisions and enjoyment that people derive from their relationships" (p. 996).
  4. File


16. Stability and Change in the First 10 Years of Marriage: Does Commitment Confer Benefits Beyond the Effects of Satisfaction?


OVERVIEW: Arguably the simplest explanation for why a marriage dissolves is that one or both spouses become increasingly dissatisfied, diminishing the quality of couple interaction and prompting a separation or divorce in turn. Meta-analytic findings confirm the link between relationship distress and dissolution, but the magnitude
of the association is modest (r .3–.4; Karney & Bradbury, 1995), in part because many unhappy couples remain married. The concept of commitment is often invoked to explain the persistence of these unhappy marriages, under the assumption that relativelycommitted partners are motivated to continue their relationship for
reasons other than their immediate emotional appraisals of the partnership (e.g., Kelley, 1983). A rich literature sheds light on the stabilizing role of commitment in dating relationships (e.g., Arriaga& Agnew, 2001), but the possibility that commitment operates differently in longer term partnerships has led some to call specifically for research on commitment in marriage and on the marital maintenance behaviors that commitment might motivate (e.g., Finkel, Rusbult, Kumashiro, & Hannon, 2002). This article responds to this call, using observational and 11-year longitudinal data from newlywed spouses to address two questions that are largely unaddressed in the marital commitment literature: First, does commitment stabilize marriage? Second, does commitment motivate interpersonal behaviors? Because lowered relationship
satisfaction provides a more parsimonious explanation for why spouses neglect relationship maintenance and contemplate divorce, we tested whether any effects of commitment on relationship outcomes and processes remain after controlling for spouses’ relationship satisfaction judgments.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, commitment emerged consistently as an important predictor of changes in relationship satisfaction during the first 4 years of marriage and, after controlling for satisfaction, as an important antecedent of relationship dissolution over the first 11 years of marriage. This corroborates key predictions in models of interdependence in close relationships, but the most important contribution of this analysis is the finding that only one aspect of commitment—the inclination to maintain the relationship—accounted for variability in reported steps toward dissolution, in actual dissolution, and in the behaviors wives displayed during problem solving, independent of relationship satisfaction. Future research aimed at refining measures of this concept is likely to prove valuable, as are longitudinal and observational or diary studies that clarify the conditions under which intimate partners are more and less likely to maintain the bond they share.

Morrill, M., Eubanks-Fleming, C., Harp, A. G., Sollenberger, J. W., Darling, E. V., & Cördova, J. V. (2011). The Marriage Checkup: Increasing Access to Marital Health Care. Family Process, 50(4), 471-485.


Abstract: Despite the ongoing prevalence of marital distress, very few couples seek therapy. Researchers and clinicians have increasingly been calling for innovative interventions that can reach a larger number of untreated couples. Based on a motivational marital health model, the Marriage Checkup (MC) was designed to attract couples who are unlikely to seek traditional tertiary therapy. The objective of the MC is to promote marital health for as broad a population of couples as possible, much like regular physical health checkups. This first paper from the largest MC study to date examines whether the MC engaged previously unreached couples who might benefit from intervention. Interview and survey data suggested that the MC attracted couples across the distress continuum and was perceived by couples as more accessible than traditional therapy. Notably, the MC attracted a substantial number of couples who had not previously participated in marital interventions. The motivational health checkup model appeared to encourage a broad range of couples who might not have otherwise sought relationship services to deliberately take care of their marital health. Clinical implications are discussed.
-counselors can attract clients for "check-ups" who experience mild to moderate marital problems
-more likely to reuse mental health services after the first time
-counselors can entice first time therapy participants by appealing more to the health aspect


Question 3

III. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES (Video clips, podcasts, lectures, etc.)

  1. Provide link to file or embed on wiki
    1. Provide annotations/summaries of findings/relevance
  2. 1. Eight Keys to a Happier Marriage

    Ta'eed, C. (2007, October 22). Eight keys to a happier marriage. Retrieved from http://zenhabits.net/eight-keys-to-a-happier-marriage/


    Summary: This article was found on a website called zenhabits.net. The author reports on eight essential things that may lead to a happier, healthier marriage. Some of the eight keys include:


    1. Work on your marriage: You need to always think about your marriage and not take it for granted. Marriages move forward, and change while both partners move closer together and become stronger.


    2. Speak plainly: Do not play mind games with each other. Speak directly and use clear communication. This leaves the other person with a proper change to respond.


    3. Accept your partner: Trying to change a person never really works. People will always be who and what they are, going into a marriage thinking you are going to change someone usually does not work.


    4. Make time for both your ambitions and goals: It is too easy to focus on your own goals and ambitions and hope that your partner shares in them. If you do not know your partners goals, ask them. Try to share in each other's goals and ambitions.


    Eight Keys to a Happier Marriage

Thoughts from The 5 Love Languages:
  • “Seldom do a husband and wife have the same primary emotional love language. We tend to speak in our primary love language, and we become confused when our spouse does not understand what we are communicating. We are expressing our love, but the message does not come through because we are speaking what, to them, is a foreign language” (p. 16).
  • “If we want our spouse to feel the love we are trying to communicate, we must express it in his or her primary love language” (p. 17).
  • Love is a Choice: “Most of us do many things each day that do not come “naturally” for us. For some of us, that is getting out of bed in the morning. We go against our feelings and get out of bed. Why? Because we believe there is something worthwhile to do that day. And normally, before the day is over, we feel good about having gotten up. Our actions preceded our emotions. The same is true with love. We discover the primary love language of our spouse, and we choose to speak it whether or not it is natural for us…we are simply choosing to do it for his or her benefit…in so doing, his emotional love tank is filled and chances are he will reciprocate and speak our language. When he does, our emotions return, and our love tank begins to fill” (p. 151).
The 5 Love Languages:
  • Words of Affirmation: giving verbal compliments and encouragement.
  • Quality Time: giving someone undivided attention.
  • Receiving Gifts: giving/receiving a gift that is an expression of love. This can include the gift of physical presence.
  • Acts of Service: doing things you know your loved one would like you to do. Seeking to please your loved one by serving them.
  • Physical Touch: holding hands, kissing, embracing, and sexual intercourse as ways of communicating emotional love.
Reference:
Chapman, G. (2004). The five love languages: How to express heartfelt commitment to your mate. Chicago, IL: Northfield Publishing.

2. Articles about Successful Marriages


Schmitz, C., & Schmitz, E. (2012). Articles about successful marriage. Retrieved from http://www.simplethingsmatter.com/Successful_Marriage.html


Summary: The article discusses what it means to have a successful and happy marriage. The article also includes simple tips to maintain a healthy and happy relationship with your spouse. The website also includes links to marriage quotes, books about marriage, and other products.

Articles about Successful Marriages

An excerpt from the Psychology of and the Study of Marital Process:

An Integrative Account: the Bank Account Model
What is the etiology of these dysfunctional patterns, which are predictive of unhappiness and divorce? This review introduces a new theory, called the Bank Account Model (BAM). The first premise of the BAM is that the answer to the question of the ontogeny of the seven negative patterns in ailing marriages lies in asserting that psychologists have been looking in the wrong place. They have studied almost exclusively the resolution of conflict, and BAM suggests that the seven dysfunctional patterns reviewed here reflect the endpoint of the failure of three related processes. The first process is the couple's ratio of fairly low-level positivity to negativity in nonconflict interaction. Nonconflict interaction consists primarily of the mundane, everyday interactions of married life, each of which holds the possibility of what might be called either “turning toward” or “turning away” from one's partner. An example follows: One spouse is in the bathroom in the morning, in a hurry getting ready for the day, when the partner comes into the bathroom and says, “I just had a disturbing dream.” An example of turning away would be, “I don't have time for this right now,” while an example of turning toward would be, “I'm in a real hurry, but tell me about your dream.” A greater balance of turning away compared with turning toward implies that there will be many moments of what could be called “unrequited interest and excitement,” in which one person's interest and excitement is not responded to by the partner, and many moments of “unrequited irritability,” in which one person's low-intensity anger is not responded to by the partner.
The theory proposes that a greater proportion of turning toward compared with turning away leads to positive sentiment override (__Weiss 1980__), whereas a greater proportion of turning away compared with turning toward leads to negative sentiment override. Physiological soothing of one's partner using a variety of positive affects (e.g. interest, affection, validation, empathy, humor) during everyday stress reduction interactions (typically events-of-the-day discussions and errand talk) is central to contributing to positive sentiment override, and this is accomplished through the simple mechanism of escape conditioning. The second process is the amount of cognitive room that couples allocate for the relationship and for their spouse's world. We call this the “love map.” The husband's love map is particularly predictive of the longitudinal course of marriages. This process has to do with knowing one's partner's world and continually updating that knowledge. The third process, which is another contributor to positive sentiment override is the existence of what we call the Fondness and Admiration System (tapped by the oral history interview). Admiration is the antidote for contempt. Couples who are on a stable and happy trajectory express spontaneous admiration and affection for their partner much more than couples on the trajectory toward divorce. The Fondness and Admiration System affects and is affected by both cognition and behavior.

SUMMARY: This article studies the cause and effect of divorce and changes in marital status. The article draws the conclusion that there is much controversy over which martial therapy techniques are most effective. Through examining different methods, many interesting ideas are brought up as intervention techniques to the dilemma and current epidemic of separation and divorce.
Gottman, J. M. (1998, February). Psychology and the study of the marital process. Annual Reviews, 49, 169-197. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.49.1.169
http://www.annualreviews.org.navigator-millersville.passhe.edu/doi/full/10.1146/annurev.psych.49.1.169

Helpguide.org. (2012). Relationship Help. Retrieved at http://www.helpguide.org/mental/improve_relationships.htm.

Website offers material on rebuilding and maintaining a healthy relationship. Thought it could provide some secondary support from the academic journsla that have been listed above.





2. Helen Fisher’s discussion on love.

TED, Initials. (Photographer). (2008). Helen fisher studies the brain in love. [Web]. Retrieved from
http://www.ted.com/talks/helen_fisher_studies_the_brain_in_love.html


She talks about;

  • the fine line between love and pain,
    • There are times when we will feel pain in a committed relationship
    • These issues are intertwined, because love is such a deeply emotional topic
    • It can be incredibly painful to not have the love that you expect or desire to have
      • This is related to a specific section of the brain (a section that is also stimulated when a person does cocaine).
        • This demonstrates the incredible power of love in a person's life
  • There is also a section of the brain associated with attachment
  • love’s intensity,
  • the reward system of the brain associated with love, the part of the brain that “calculates gains and losses”,
  • “the deep attachments we make to another individual” and how we are intensely motivated on a chemical level to stay together. “romantic love is a drive”
  • She quotes Plato “The god of Love remains in a state of need”
  • Romantic love is an addiction whether good or bad “romantic love is one of the most addictive substances on Earth”
    • Romantic love is conserving yourself for one person (as opposed to sexual drive that looks for many partners)
    • Romantic love is a need and urge, impossible to stamp out
    • Main aspects of addiction are present
      • tolerance
      • withdrawal
      • relapse

Fisher, H. (February 2008). Helen Fisher studies the brain in love. Ted. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/helen_fisher_studies_the_brain_in_love.html


Norment, L. (1993). 10 secrets to a happy marriage. Ebony, 32-36.
Article:

1. Make your mate your best friend.
2. Talk, talk, talk.
3. Listen, listen, listen.
4. Never forget that marriage is a partnership between equals.
5. Have fun together.
6. Be romantic and take your sex life seriously.
7. Maintain your attractive appearance.
8. Learn to change, and to accept change.
9. Don't be afraid to argue, but do so constructively.
10. Respect your partner as an individual.


  • Can Social Media Break up a Marriage?
http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=98638778&m=98638747
Ludden, J. (Speaker). (2010, November 2). Can social media break up a marriage? [Online]. NPR News. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/player/v2/
mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=98638778&m=98638747


And iPhone makes three: Marriage in the Digital Age
-A newscast about technology taking over relationships. This is just another example that technology is hindering our human interaction; specifically our most important relationships are affected by lack of attention to your spouse or significant other.
Ludden, J. (Speaker). (2010, November 2). And iPhone makes three: marriage in the digital age. (Online). NPR News. (2010). Retrieved from <embed src="http://www.npr.org/v2/?i=130698574&m=130993726&t=audio" height="386" wmode="opaque" allowfullscreen="true" width="400" base="http://www.npr.org" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"></embed>


Biblical Reference:
1 Corinthians 7:1-5
Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.
2 But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.
3 The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likeswise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
5 Stop depriving one another, except by the agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
The zondervan NASB study bible. (1999). Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA: ZondervanPublishingHouse.

The Road Less Traveled
  1. "In a constructive marriage…the partners must regularly, routinely and predictably, attend to each other and their relationship no matter how they feel….Couples sooner or later always fall out of love, and it is at the moment when the mating instinct has run its course that he opportunity for genuine love begins" (p. 118).
  2. Peck, M. S. (1978). The road less traveled: A new psychology of love, traditional values and spiritual growth. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
  3. "Love…is a form of work or a form of courage….directed toward the nurture of our own or another's spiritual growth" (p. 120).
  4. "Mutual loving confrontation is a significant part of all successful and meaningful human relationships. Without it the relationship is either unsuccessful or shallow" (p. 153).

Resolving to keep your marriage together
By Stacy D. Phillips
Phillips, Lerner & Lauzon, LLP


With the New Year upon us, it is a perfect time to reflect on your marriage or personal relationship with that significant other and resolve to keep that union in tack! Many of the divorces I see may possibly have been avoided if only one or the other had put forth the effort to take better care of the relationship.
Here’s my top ten list of ways to kick off the New Year as you resolve to make your relationship work–or to make it better:
  1. Yours, mine and ours: Be aware that both of you need a life aside and apart from one another. That includes separate interests, hobbies and activities you call your own. Respect this about each other and also celebrate it. This only makes your relationship stronger and far more interesting.
  2. Time together: We all certainly get very busy but nothing is more important than ample time together away from the office and the kids. Take regular vacations together. Spend leisure time doing the things you mutually enjoy and make those times special. Also, take one night a week and make it "date night." Take turns surprising one another with what you’ll do during that evening. Keep that time sacred. Don’t let anything interfere. It’s better to neglect the world than one another!
  3. Take good care of yourself: Not only should you keep your appearance up–I always suggest people dress and take care of themselves as if they were forced to date–but also make sure you take care of your physical well-being. That means going to the gym, or working out regularly, consuming a healthy diet, staying in shape and getting ample rest.
  4. Always keep the lines of communication open: A good many relationships fail because of misunderstandings. The only way to prevent them, and to allow the other person to know what you need and want, is through a steady stream of open dialogue. And stay calm and on-point when you do talk things out. Only yell if the house is on fire or one of the pets has fallen in the pool!
  5. Handle criticism with subtlety: Be gentle and try not to judge too harshly. Also, don’t review old mistakes that your partner or spouse has made. There is no point in keeping score when it comes to complaints, criticisms and difficult moments. Doing so only serves to demoralize one another and diminish the integrity of the relationship. Allow for some margin of error. When you do criticize, do it in the way you would want it done to you: with sensitivity.
  6. When you have problems with the children: Don’t be reluctant to seek help from a third party. An objective opinion and additional support helps to preserve the marriage by relieving a great deal of tension. Don’t forget: children are bound to have problems; but these problems don’t need to impact the sanctity of your marriage.
  7. Court one another: Gifts, compliments and random acts of kindness, no matter how small, go a long way. Resolve this year to treat your partner with the same courtesies you did when you were dating. It’s easy to take advantage of one another. This year, pretend as though you’re trying to "win" that person all over again!
  8. Be romantic: This is one of the most important resolutions you can make as you start the new year. It’s so easy to take the other person for granted after the courtship is over! Resolve to do just one romantic thing every single day for your mate. This in and of itself may keep your relationship strong.
  9. Discuss the terms and conditions of your relationship: If these are not spelled out in your "yearly contract," make certain you clarify them. Most of the marital disputes that break up a marriage are over sex and money. And, some people’s expectations become a surprise to the other party only after the marriage has fallen apart.
  10. Re-negotiate your contract: Marriage is just like any other contract. Its terms and conditions should be reviewed and reconsidered from time-to-time. Renew your relationship contract every year. Right before your anniversary is the perfect time, in fact. And, remember: be flexible and don’t forget you have to give to get.


Stacy D. Phillips is a co-founder of Phillips, Lerner & Lauzon, which specializes in high-profile family law matters. She is co-chair of the Women's Political Committee and a member of Divorce Magazine's North American Advisory Board. She can be reached at (310) 277-7117. View her firm's //Divorce Magazine// profile here.

http://www.divorcemag.com/articles/Relationships/resolving_keep_marriage.html

http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/Spice-up-marriage-save/2011/01/18/id/383162

summary: this is an online news article. All the 10 tips are agreeable. It gives the ten best tips to rekindle what was once there. Like any marriage intervention, it takes work and time.


For all sections, please be sure to include relevant and correctly formatted citations.













SANDBOX (Please Review These Resources and Consider Inclusion Above)







1. John Gottman’s 7 Principals of Making Marriage Work (I couldn’t find a list outside of a book for sale)
Gottman, John. (2000). The seven principles for making marriage work. Crown Publishing Group.
John Gottman's 7 Principal of Making Marriage Work
In his book, The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work, Gottman discusses behaviors that he has observed in marriages that are successful and those that are detrimental to marriage based on his research conducted at his lab in Seattle, Washington. He has outlined seven principles that will reinforce the positive aspects of a relationship and help marriages endure during the rough moments.
1. Enhance Your Love Maps. Gottman defines a love map as the place in your brain where you store information pertaining to your partner. This is crucial in really knowing your partner, their dreams, hopes, interests, and maintaining their interest throughout the relationship.
2. Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration. This means laying down a positive view about your spouse, respecting and appreciating their differences.
3. Turn Toward Each Other Instead of Away. Acknowledging your partner's small moments in life and orienting yourself towards them will maintain that necessary connection that is vital for the relationship.
4. Let Your Partner Influence You. It is important to maintain your own identity in a relationship, but it is equally important to yield to your partner and give in. If both partners allow one another this influence, then they will learn to respect one another on a deeper level.
5. Solve Your Solvable Problems. It is important to compromise on issues that can be resolved, which Gottman believes can be accomplished by these five steps: soften your startup, learn to make and receive repair attempts, soothe yourself and each other, compromise, and be tolerant of each other’s faults.
6. Overcome Gridlock. Major issues that cannot be resolved because both partners’ views are so fundamentally different involves understanding of the other person and deep communication. The goal is to at least get to a position that allows the other person to empathize with the partner's view, even if a compromise cannot be reached.
Create Shared Meaning. Create a shared value system that continually connects the partners through rituals/traditions, shared roles and symbols.[8]

2. Helen Fisher’s discussion on love.
TED, Initials. (Photographer). (2008). Helen fisher studies the brain in love. [Web]. Retrieved from https://millersville.desire2learn.com/d2l/lms/content/viewer/main_frame.d2l?ou=313809&tId=3635887
She talks about;
- the fine line between love and pain,
- love’s intensity,
- the reward system of the brain associated with love, the part of the brain that “calculates gains and losses”,
- “the deep attachments we make to another individual” and how we are intensely motivated on a chemical level to stay together. “romantic love is a drive”
-She quotes Plato “The god of Love remains in a state of need”
-Romantic love is an addiction whether good or bad (tolerance, with-draw, and relapse) “romantic love is one of the most addictive substances on Earth”

3. Corey & Corey Meaningful Relationships: A Personal View (p.197)
Corey and Corey provide a list of qualities that make up a good relationship. I have condensed and paraphrased the list:
- Each partner has a separate identity
- Each partner gives and receives honest feedback
- …assumes responsibility for his/ her own happiness
- …are willing to work at a healthy relationship
- …can have fun and play together
- …take responsibility for sexual enjoyment
- Both partners are equal
- …are able to find meaning beyond the relationship
- ….are individually working on goals, work, play, and relationships with others
- They chose to stay with each other and not out a sense of duty
- They deal with conflict constructively
- They are not dependent on each other for their sense of personal worth
- Encouragement instead of control


Chapter 7: Relationships
"A sign of a healthy relationship is that people are able to express feelings and thoughts that may be difficult for the other to hear, yet the message is delivered in such a way that it does not assault the other person’s character" (Corey & Corey, 2010, p. 203).

Expressions of love as stated in Corey & Corey p. 173 (Some of these might be helpful to reiterate to either Andy or Eleanor):
· I need to have someone in my life I can actively care for. I need to let that person know he (she) makes a difference in my life, and I need to know I make a difference in his (her) life.
· I want to feel loved and accepted for who I am now, not for living up to others’ expectations of me.
· Although I have a need for connection with people, I also enjoy my time alone.
· I am finding out that I have more of a capacity to give something to others than I had thought.
· I am beginning to realize that I need to love and appreciate myself more fully, in spite of my imperfections. If I can accept myself for who I am, then maybe I can accept love from others.
· There are special times when I want to share my joys, my dreams, my anxieties, and my uncertainties with another person. When I am listened to, I feel loved. (Corey & Corey, 2010, p. 173)


Chapter 6 Love: The uncertainty of live. I look at the possibility that these two need to communicate more on his or her feeling sof emotions. They started out in the honeymoon state and have reached a bump in the road. Bot individuals need to take a step out and talk about his or her emotions, but I think they may be holding back, because:
they are beginning "discover what each other is really like....." and by releasing this information they may "question the positive [and negative] reactions that we receive others." (Corey and Corey 2010, page 186)

Communication Barriers that people tend to throw up. People should repeat what others are saying, I think this is an effective way to make sure both persons in a disagreement know where the other person is coming from.

Support for Marriage Education and Communication Skills:


Browning and Rodriguez (2002) support the notion that marriages thrive today when the couple itself has the commitment and skills essential for success. Assuming that the couple is committed to one another—or at least committed to trying to make things work—it is therefore the skills that need to be learned, and more and more, these skills refer to communication skills. The authors further not that there are three things that marriage education can do for a couple:
  1. First, marriages stay together because couples learn how to handle conflict, and marriage education is about learning how to do this. This does not necessarily mean that successful couples solve the problems producing their conflict. “The couple establishes, however, a mode of communication that does not damage the self-cohesion or self-esteem of the other partner, and the two of them develop a pattern that integrates them as they work on issues in an ongoing way” (p. 135).
  2. Second, marriage education helps couple communicate in such a way that more positive messages are used (versus negative messages).
  3. Third, couples learn to take ownership of their own messages. For example, in a good communication, people express their own, individual thoughts, rather than mind reading or attributing negative motives to another person while defending oneself.
  4. Fourth, good communication skills should include holding and validation: “one need not always agree with one’s partner, but one must validate the other’s feelings and words and support or “hold” together one’s partner’s sense of self-cohesion, even in the midst of serious disagreement (p. 136).


Browning, D. S. & Rodriguez, G. G. (2002). Reweaving the social tapestry toward a public philosophy and policy for families. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.


John Gottman- Principals of Making Marriage Work (2000), to help endure rough time periods. Keep in mind the following:
1. Enhance Your Love Maps. Gottman defines a love map as the place in your brain where you store information pertaining to your partner. This is crucial in really knowing your partner, their dreams, hopes, interests, and maintaining their interest throughout the relationship.
2. Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration. This means laying down a positive view about your spouse, respecting and appreciating their differences.
3. Turn Toward Each Other Instead of Away. Acknowledging your partner's small moments in life and orienting yourself towards them will maintain that necessary connection that is vital for the relationship.


Myths about love- sometimes we get caught up in the novelty of love and don’t realize that it’s not perfect. Some noteworthy myths include:
1. The myth of eternal love – love cannot endure without CHANGE
2. The myth that love implies constant closeness – occasional separation is healthy
3. The myth that love and anger are incompatible – anger can be expressed respectfully
Lastly, here is some support for communication skills, which Browning and Rodriguez (2002) use to support the notion that marriages survive only when couples have the tools for success. They suggest that learning these 4 skills can help a marriage tremendously:
1. Learn how to handle conflict
2. Use positive messages
3. Couples take ownership of their own messages. For example, in a good communication, people express their own, individual thoughts, rather than mind reading or attributing negative motives to another person while defending oneself.
4. Communicate through holding and validation: you don’t have to agree with each other, but you have to respect each other.

Dealing with Communication Barriers:


Some Communication Barriers:
-Failing to really listen to the other person
-Selective Listening
-Being overly concerned with getting your point across without listening to the other person
-Silently rehearsing what you will say next rather than listening
-Becoming defensive, with self-protection being your main concern
(Corey & Corey, 2010, p.207)

Effective Personal Communication
-One is listening while the other speaks; one is listening in order to understand
-Do no rehearse your response while the other is speaking
-Language is specific and concrete (I feel… I don’t like…)
-The listener takes a moment before responding to reflect on what was said
-There is respect for each other’s differences
(Corey & Corey, 2010, p. 209)


Carol Rogers (1961) said to use this rule the next time you are in an argument or discussion with your Andy… “Each person can speak up for himself only after he has restated the ideas and feelings of the precious speaker accurately, and to that speaker’s satisfaction” (Corey & Corey, 2010, p. 208).

Sometimes separating or ending a relationship is the right thing to do. Before you make any decisions, ask yourself these questions:

Has each of you sought personal therapy or counseling?

Have you considered seeking relationship counseling?

Are you both interested in maintaining your relationship?

Have you each taken time to be alone, to focus, and to decide what kind of life you want for yourself and with others?

What do you each expect from the dissolution of the relationship? (Corey & Corey, 2010, p.215-216)


http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/201104/marriage-problems-why-couples-fight

This article talks about the pain of disconnection that some married couples experience.

Check out the Kendra Cherry reference under Question 1 which talks about different theories of love. The one that caught my eye and is pertinent to this situation was the theory of compassionate vs. passionate love.


Excerpts from A Lasting Promise: A Christian Guide to Fighting for your Marriage by Scott Stanley, Daniel Trathen, Savanna McCain, & Milt Bryan

From the Chapter The Power of Commitment (2002, pp. 190-193)
· “Instead of asking ‘What have you done for me lately?’ ask yourself, ‘What am I doing to improve and strengthen my marriage? You have the most control over your own dedication and behavior, not your partner’s. In most relationships, positive behavior is eventually reciprocated, so the best thing you can do to encourage your partner to be more positive is to act more positively yourself.”
· “You can decide to make the relationship better by refusing to fall into the score-keeping trap.”
· “Remember what you used to have together. Spend some time reminiscing together about the good old days. What attracted you to each other? What did you do on your first date? What kinds of things did you do for fun? Do you still do any of these things?”
· “Decide to turn things around. This is fundamentally a decision of your will.”

From the Chapter Communicating Safely and Clearly (2002, pp. 60-61)
Here are some tips for conflict resolution in marriage:

Rules for the Speaker
· “Speak for yourself. Don’t mind read. Talk about your thoughts, feelings, and concerns, not your perceptions or interpretations of the Listener’s point of view or motives. Try to use “I” statements, and talk about your own point of view.”
· “Talk in small chunks. It is very important to keep what you say in manageable pieces to help the Listener actively listen. A good rule of thumb is to keep your statements to just a sentence or two, especially when first learning the technique.”
· “Stop and let the Listener paraphrase. If the paraphrase was not quite accurate, you should politely restate what was not heard in the way it was intended to be heard. Your goal is to help the Listener hear and understand your point of view.”

Rules for the Listener
· “Paraphrase what you hear. To paraphrase the Speaker, briefly repeat back what you heard the Speaker say, using your own words if you like, to make sure you understand what was said. The key is that you show your partner that you are listening as you restate what you heard, without any interpretations. If the paraphrase is not quite right (which happens often), the Speaker should gently clarify the point being made. If you truly don’t understand some phrase or example, you may ask the Speaker to clarify or repeat, but you may not ask questions on any other aspect of the issue unless you have the floor.”
· “Don’t rebut. Focus on the Speaker’s message. While in the Listener role, you may not offer your opinion or thoughts. If you are upset by what your partner says, you need to edit out any response you may want to make, so you can continue to pay attention to what your partner is saying. Wait until you get the floor to state your response. Any words or gestures to show your own opinions are not allowed, including making faces. Your task is to understand. Good listening does not equal agreement. You can express any disagreement when you have the floor.”

Stanley, S., Trathen, D., McCain, S., & Bryan, M. (2002). A Lasting Promise: A Christian
Guide to Fighting for Your Marriage. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.


It would be interesting to ask Andy and/or Eleanor about their childhood attachment experiences. This study was examined in the context of dating relationships, not marriage relationships, but it's still interesting nonetheless. "According to a 2010 study, Attachment theory predicts that an individual’s childhood experiences with primary caregivers guide expectations for and behavior in future attachment relationships, particularly with romantic partners (Collins & Sroufe, 1999). The main finding of this study was that attachment security not only concurrently, but prospectively, predicted the quality of participants’ dating relationships, even when relevant indicators of T1 interpersonal functioning were controlled statistically. More specifically, individuals who coherently discussed their childhood experiences (a) interacted more harmoniously with their romantic partner concurrently and 1 year later and (b) described their relationships more positively concurrently and 1 year later."
Holland, A. S., & Roisman, G. I. (2010). Adult Attachment Security and Young Adults' Dating Relationships over Time: Self-Reported, Observational, and Physiological Evidence. Developmental Psychology, 46(2), 552-557. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Depressive Symptoms in Young Adults: The Role of Attachment Orientations and Romantic Relationship Conflict
Establishing and maintaining healthy romantic relationships is an important developmental task of early adulthood. Although romantic relationship involvement, per se, has generally been associated with greater wellbeing among adults (Umberson and Williams 1999), certain aspects of romantic relationships (e.g., maladaptive conflict behaviors) have been linked with depressive symptoms (Reese-Weber and Marchand 2002). Consequently, young adults’ romantic relationships are an important avenue of investigation for better understanding their depressive symptoms.
Interpersonal perspectives on depression emphasize the maladaptive behaviors used by depressed individuals during their interactions with others as being a key factor in the development and maintenance of their depressive symptoms (Brown and Harris 1978). Depressed individuals’ maladaptive interactions with significant others are considered to play an especially critical role (Hinchcliffe et al. 1978). Attachment theory is a framework for understanding both close relationships and emotion regulation strategies (Bowlby 1980). Not surprisingly, researchers have begun to recognize its usefulness for understanding the impact of romantic relationships on depressive symptoms (Davila et al. 2004).
According to attachment theory (Bowlby 1969/1982), internal working models of self and others develop in the context of early parent-child interactions. Internal working models are cognitive representations of early caregiving experiences, and individual differences in the quality of these relationships are believed to reflect the degree to which the primary caregiver provided sensitive and consistent caregiving to the infant. Three patterns of attachment were identified by Ainsworth et al. (1978) in their research based on mother-infant dyads. Securely attached children seek comfort from their caregivers in times of distress. Children with an avoidant attachment style choose to alleviate negative emotions through their own efforts. Anxiously/ambivalently attached children are inconsistent in their attempts to seek comfort from caregivers. Their caregiver attempts are thought to reflect their uncertainty about the caregiver’s availability.
It has been argued that individuals’ experiences in early close relationships shape their adult love relationships (Hazan and Shaver 1987). Indeed, research on adult love relationships has revealed patterns of attachment (Collins and Read 1990; Hazan and Shaver 1987) similar to those identified by Ainsworth et al. (1978). Adult attachment orientations are an outgrowth of internal working models of early parent-child relationships, and they are believed to provide a set of expectancies that serve as a guide for one’s own behaviors, as well as expectations for others’ in adult love relationships (Simposon and Rholes 1998).
Although a growing number of studies provide evidence for the impact of attachment orientations on romantic relationships (Collins and Read 1990; Creasey 2002) and depressive symptoms (Davila et al. 2004), the mechanisms that account for these associations remain unclear. One means by which attachment orientations may impact young adults’ romantic relationships and depressive symptoms is by shaping the manner in which young adults manage conflict. How conflict is managed has a significant bearing on relationship functioning (Shantz and Hartup 1992). Gottman (1994) has consistently found that when individuals are not equipped with effective conflict resolution strategies, their romantic relationships are more likely to dissolve.
Marchand-Reilly, J. F. (2009). Depressive Symptoms in Young Adults: The Role of Attachment Orientations and Romantic Relationship Conflict. Journal of Adult Development, 16(1), 31-38. doi:10.1007/s10804-009-9049-z

From the National Marriage Project’s Ten Things to Know Series
David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead
The following website talks about the top ten myths of marriage which was a worksheet Dr. Baker provided. http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/marriage/mf0043.html

“Marriage attitudes are also predictive of individual judgments of the likelihood of experiencing a happy or unhappy marriage, and a divorce…Individuals with more positive attitudes toward marriage view their marriages (current and future) as likely to be happy and successful; individuals with negative marriage attitudes do not have such positive expectations. Given the important role of expectations in guiding behavior, expectations about having successful relationships or not may be particularly important cognitions for relationship perceptions and behaviors” (Riggio & Weiser, 2008, p. 135).
Riggio, H.R., & Weiser, D.A. (2008). Attitudes toward marriage: Embeddedness and outcomes in personal relationships. Personal Relationships, 15(1), 123-140. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6811.2007.00188.x



Myths About Marriage:
1. Having children usually increases marital satisfaction for both partners.
2. Men reap far greater benefits from marriage than women.
3. College-educated women are less likely to marry than women with less education.
4. Single people have more sex and consider their sex lives more satisfying than married couples.
5. The high divorce rate weeds out unhappy marriages, leaving the average marriage happier than 20 years ago.
6. Cohabitation before marriage decreases the chance of divorce.
7. The majority of couples who divorce are high-conflict couples.
8. Divorce proceedings are usually initiated by men.
9. Children do better in stepfamilies than single-parent homes.
10. If divorced parents put forth positive attitudes about relationships, their children are no more likely to divorce than children of married parents.
11. Husbands’ marital satisfaction is higher when wives are full-time homemakers than when they are employed.
12. Wives’ marital satisfaction is higher when they are full-time homemakers than when they are employed.
13. Husbands make more lifestyle adjustments in marriage than wives.
14. The more someone gives their spouse information, positive and negative, the greater the marital satisfaction of both partners.
15. “Until death do us part” means significantly more time today than it did 50 years ago, due to higher life expectations.
16. Following a divorce, the economic standard of living drops roughly the same amount for both partners.
17. Married women are at a greater risk for violence than single women.
18. The factors most often cited by long-married couples are reasons for their successful marriages are romantic love and good luck.
19. Children are better off with divorced parents than with parents who are unhappily married.
20. The quality of a married couple’s sex life is the single best statistical predictor of overall marital satisfaction.
Caldwell, B. E., & Woolley, S. R. (2008). Marriage and Family Therapists' Endorsement of Myths About Marriage. American Journal of Family Therapy, 36(5), 367-387. doi:10.1080/01926180701804626


Immature versus Mature Love –
Fromm (1976) regarded love as primarily one of orientation, and made a clear distinction between pseudo (or immature) versus mature love. Immature love is focused on acquiring and possessing the other person, or other’s love. These individuals espouse love that is self-serving and ego centered. On the other hand, a mature orientation of love is characterized by productivity and giving. One is more concerned with loving rather than simply being loved. In giving, the love enriches and enhances the other’s sense of aliveness. Love is a productive orientation in that it makes the person who loves more loving, and generates love in the other (Le, 2005, p. 74).
Le, T. N. (2005). A Measure of Immature Love. Individual Differences Research, 3(2), 72-87. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.



Marraige Encounter: What Makes it Work?

Ronald R. Regula
The Family Coordinator, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Apr., 1975), pp. 153-159
http://www.jstor.org/pss/582278?searchUrl=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dmarraige%2Bproblems%26gw%3Djtx%26prq%3Ddeath%2Bgrief%26hp%3D25%26wc%3Don&Search=yes
The purpose of this paper is to identify and explore the psychodynamics at work in the Marriage Encounter experience. The work draws from observation and participation in Marriage Encounters, as well as from research into the literature of self-disclosure and central person. The conclusions of the author are that there are powerful dynamics operating in the Marriage Encounter, and that they can cause definite movement and change in individuals and their marital relationships.





Adult Attachment Styles: Relations with Emotional Well-Being, Marriage, and Parenting
http://www.jstor.org/action/doBasicSearch?Query=adult+attachment+&gw=jtx&prq=adult+attachment+AND+marraige&hp=25&wc=on
Brenda L. Volling, Paul C. Notaro, Joelle J. Larsen
Family Relations, Vol. 47, No. 4, The Family as a Context for Health and Well-Being (Oct., 1998), pp. 355-367
The current study examined the pairings of adult attachment styles among married couples raising young children. Spouses in dual-secure marriages reported more love for their partner, less ambivalence about their relationships, were more integrated into their social networks, and felt more competent as parents than couples in dual-insecure marriages. Differences in relationship dynamics were found in secure husband-avoidant wife and secure wife-avoidant husband marriages. There was no relation between adult attachment styles, parenting behavior, and the security of infant-parent attachments. Future work would benefit by focusing on the dyadic constellations of adult attachment styles and their implications for family relationships.


Article on Marriage and Partnership
Clulow, C. (2007). Marriage, partnership and adult attachment. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 22(3), 291-294. doi:10.1080/14681990701499674


Summary: Major problems in many marriages can stem from a lack of communication among partners. This leads to more intense feelings of disconnect and can ultimately result in a couple pushing each other away. Marriage is a time of growth for two individuals operating as one marital “unit.” Not only do individuals need to experiment with their own values, but they must compare them with the value system of their partners to see how their values relate. Unless both members of the relationship are willing to go along with this, marital development may be hindered. Clulow (2007) agrees with this sentiment and offers one way to right the ship when he says, “Rigidly held assumptions inhibit such development, and couple psychotherapy is one response to the problems that can follow from inflexible patterns of relating that has as its aim fostering the capacity for ‘affective mentalisation’” (p. 292).



Conflict Styles in Newlywed Couples
Segrin, C., Hanzal, A., & Domschke, T. J. (2009). Accuracy and bias in newlywed couples' perceptions of conflict styles and the association with marital satisfaction. Communication Monographs, 76(2), 207-233. doi:10.1080/03637750902828404

Abstract: Styles of handling conflict are highly consequential to marital success. The behavioral model predicts that spouses’ accuracy in perceptions of each other will be associated with marital quality, whereas the benevolent perception model predicts that benevolent perceptions, even when objectively inaccurate, will be associated with marital quality. To investigate the role of perceptions of marital conflict styles, 194 couples married for less than five years completed self- and partner-reports of conflict styles and marital satisfaction. Results indicated that spouses were both accurate (i.e., seeing the self the same as one’s partner sees the self) and biased (i.e., seeing the partner the same as one sees the self) in their perceptions of each others’ conflict styles. Little support existed for the accuracy model of perception and marital satisfaction, but more consistent support was obtained for the benevolent perception model in which more positively toned perceptions, regardless of their consistency with partners’ self-perceptions, were associated with higher marital satisfaction. Results of actor-partner interdependence analyses revealed numerous actor effects for conflict styles and satisfaction, and partner effects for the styles of conflict engagement and withdrawal and partners’ marital satisfaction.

Summary: It is my opinion (as mentioned in my other post) that communication is the biggest factor in the success of any marriage and that is why I have focused on this for this question. With two people being nearly 10 years apart in age, it is not unlikely that they might have problems with communication and/or dealing with conflict. This article looks at the different types of conflict and helps us to understand what might be going wrong for the couple in the question. It is certainly something worth exploring with them.



Marital Therapy, Retreats, and Books: The Who, What, When, and Why of Relationship Help-Seeking. By: Doss, Brian D.; Rhoades, Galena K.; Stanley, Scott M.; Markman, Howard J.. Journal of Marital & Family Therapy, Jan2009, Vol. 35 Issue 1, p18-29, 12p, 2 Charts.


Abstract: When doubts creep in and marriages begin to falter, where do couples turn for assistance? In a longitudinal study of 213 couples over the first 5 years of marriage, results indicated relationship help-seeking was relatively common, with 36% of couples seeking some form of outside help during this period. Individual and relationship difficulties predicted increased use of relationship books and marital therapy in the following year; therefore, these behaviors appear to be important outlets for relationship assistance. In contrast, attending marriage retreats/workshops was related only to demographic variables. Results of the present study suggest that the most common types of relationship help-seeking by community couples are understudied and likely underutilized in the dissemination of empirically based marital interventions. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]; DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2008.00093.x; (AN 35867617)

Doss, Brian D., Rhoads, Galena K., Stanley, Scott M., Markman, Howard J. (2009). Marital therapy, retreats, and books: The who, what, when and why of relationship help-seeking. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 35 (1), 18–29.

Quotes from the report:
“Fortunately, there is evidence that most types of research-based marital therapies are effective in treating relationship discord (e.g., Christensen et al., 2004; Dunn & Schwebel, 1995). However, most distressed couples do not seek marital therapy. Indeed, only approximately 37% of divorcing couples report seeking any type of counseling or therapy for their relationship (Johnson et al., 2002)” (as cited in Doss et al., 2009, p. 18).

“During the first 5 years of marriage, relationship help-seeking was relatively common in this sample. In total, 77 couples (36%) sought some sort of enrichment or assistance for their relationship. Of those 77 couples, 30 couples sought marital therapy, 41 couples attended workshops or retreats, and 49 read relationship-themed books. Results suggested that couples typically first sought help for their relationship through relationship-oriented books or workshops; only 36% of couples chose marital therapy as their first resource. In contrast, the majority of couples who chose to read a relationship-oriented book or attend a relationship workshop had not done any other form of help-seeking examined in the present study” (Doss et al., 2009, p. 24).

“However, it is important to note that neither positive nor negative observed communication predicted seeking marital therapy. Therefore, it may be the perception of communication problems, rather than observable communication difficulties, that leads couples to seek marital therapy” (Doss et al., 2009, p. 25).

Marriage advice:
Abstract: They hypothesis that attachment insecurity would be associated with remaining in an unhappy marriage was tested. One hundred seventy-two newly married couples participated in a 4-year longitudinal study with multiple assessment points. Hierarchical linear models revealed that compared with spouses in happy marriages and divorced spouses, spouses who were in stable but unhappy marriages showed the highest levels of insecurity initially and over time. Spouses in stable, unhappy marriages also had lower levels of marital satisfaction than divorced spouses and showed relatively high levels of depressive symptoms initially and over time. Results suggest that spouses at risk for stable, unhappy marriages can be identified early and may benefit from interventions that increase the security of spouses’ attachment to each other.

Davila J. & Bradbury T. N., (2001). Attachment Insecurity and the Distinction Between Unhappy Spouses Who DO and Do Not Divorce. Journal of Family Psychology. 15(3), 371-393.


"We see relationships as most meaningful when they are dynamic rather than fixed. Any relationship may have periods of joy and excitement as well as times of pain and distance."
(Corey & Corey, 2010, p. 197)

"Each person assumes responsibility for his or her own level of happiness and refrains from blaming the other when he or she is unhappy.......You should not expect another person to make you happy, fulfilled, or excited......when you solely rely on others for your personal fulfillment and confirmation as a person, there are going to be problems."
(Corey & Corey, 2010, p.198)

"They are able to deal with conflict in their relationship. Couples often seek relationship counseling with the expectation that they will learn to eliminate conflict, which is an unrealistic goal. More important than the absence of conflict is being able to deal with conflict constructively." (Corey & Corey, 2010, p. 199)

"From The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, John Gottman and Nan Silver (1999) describe some key characteristics of a successful relationship: Intimate familiarity, fondness and admiration, connectedness, shared sense of power, shared goals, and open communication."
(Corey & Corey, 2010, p.200


Kim, H.K., & McKenry, P.C. (2002). The relationship between marriage and psychological well-being. Journal of Family Issues, 23(8), 885-911.

"However, the contribution of the quality of the relationship
did not reduce the effect of marital status per se on psychological
well-being. Findings revealed that becoming divorced/separated was
positively associated with depressive symptoms, and the effects of becoming
divorced/separated remained strong even after controlling for the
quality of the marital and cohabiting relationships. This is consistent with
Glenn and Weaver’s (1988) argument that marital status is one of the
strongest correlates of psychological well-being regardless of the characteristics
of the relationship."

The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman

This book discusses how spouses could have different ways of expressing love towards each other and how these styles may be incompatible with one another. For example, a husband may feel loved if his wife gives him words of affirmation, but a wife may feel loved if her husband helps her around the house. If the husband tries to show his love for his wife by giving her words of affirmation because that is how he likes to receive love, unfortunately, it may not work for him. The wife may say to the husband that she wishes he would help around the house more because that is love in action as opposed to meaningless words. Couples need to figure out what love language their partner speaks and demonstrate their love for their partner in the partner's language and not their own. Chapman discusses five different love languages which are "Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch" (2004, p. 10). These are pretty self-explanatory. Words of Affirmation means you compliment and praise your spouse. Quality Time means you make time to talk to your spouse and go on dates together. Receiving Gifts means giving gifts to your spouse and especially meaningful gifts or gifts for no reason. Acts of Service means helping your spouse with the housework or projects they are working on. Physical Touch means holding hands in public, kissing your spouse frequently, etc.

Chapman, G. (2004). The five love languages: How to express heartfelt commitment to your mate. Chicago, IL: Northfield Publishing.