Theoretical Frameworks for Personal Relationships

By Ralph Erber ; Robin Gilmour | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter 3
Courtship Antecedents of Marital Satisfaction and Love

Ted L. Huston University of Texas at Austin

Most young adults are inexorably drawn toward marriage like, depending on their level of optimism, moths to fire or plants to the light. "It's like [the idea of marriage] was something that was born in my head," said a participant in a study of courtship ( Greenblatt & Cottle, 1980, p. 10). Men and women are older today on their wedding days compared with a generation ago, but there has been only a slight decline in the percentage of the population that marries ( U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1989; see Surra, 1990, for a review). American society, like most other industrial nations, is replete with strings that first pull individuals into the marketplace of marriage and, eventually, draw them into marriage. The cultural forces at work during mate selection and marriage were eloquently described by Erikson ( 1976), who, in writing about life in an Appalachian community in West Virginia, suggested:

No act in life seems more private, more intimate, than the decision by two people to get married. . . . People "select" their mates now, whatever that may mean. But there are . . . spoken and unspoken encouragements that pass among families and friends beforehand, as well as a million other hints and suggestions that become a part of the marriage scene afterward. While we do not know much about those subtle chemistries, it is clear enough that marriage . . . is something of a community affair. It is validated by the community, commemorated by the community, and every married couple in the world knows something about the pressures exerted on that union by interests outside of it. (p. 281)

Nonetheless, mate selection in most Western cultures is seen by its participants as a voluntary transition, a choice mutually undertaken. Individuals become


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Theoretical Frameworks for Personal Relationships
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 271

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?