Odyssey of the Heart: Close Relationships in the 21st Century

Odyssey of the Heart: Close Relationships in the 21st Century

Odyssey of the Heart: Close Relationships in the 21st Century

Odyssey of the Heart: Close Relationships in the 21st Century

Synopsis

Written in a personal, story-telling style, Odyssey weaves excerpts of actual relationships with current and classic research to provide a better perspective on our own experiences in light of the principles of relationships. Highlights of its comprehensive coverage include the classic research on personal attraction, dating and meeting others for closeness, and the maintenance and dissolution of relationships. "Recommendations for Growth" provides an opportunity for readers to directly apply current research and theory to their own relationships. Features new to this edition include the latest research and therapeutic techniques on maintaining and enhancing relationships; a new chapter on the family with recent demographic changes and a look at the ongoing debates about the impact of cohabitation, divorce, and blended families; and new chapters on same sex relationships and the dark side of relationships, including why women stay in abusive relationships. Odyssey of the Heart serves as a text for courses on close and/or interpersonal relationships. Its accessibility and inclusion of many actual experiences will engage the general reader.

Excerpt

As the 2000 U. S. Presidential election neared, a dialogue was occurring among candidates and the general public about the unabated high divorce rate in this country and how the divorce rate affects the American family. For over 3 decades, the divorce rate has been between 40% and 50% of all new marriages. All parts of the United States appear to have experienced significant divorce rates during this period. Even areas with major religious affiliations among the general populace have been affected. a up headline in 1999 (November 13, 1999, reported in Iowa City Press-Citizen) said, “Bible Belt States Struggle with Divorce. ” This article noted that although the overall rate per 1,000 people was 4.2 divorces, the rate was 6.4 in Tennessee, 6.1 in Arkansas, and 6.0 in Alabama and Oklahoma. in contrast, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York had rates of less than 3.0. Why might these differential rates be occurring at the start of the 21 century?

One ironical answer is that the so-called Bible Belt states are dominated by protestant churches that are not as active as states dominated by the Catholic Church, which has had a significant premarital counseling program for some time. It is possible that “fundamentalist” churchgoers are more exposed to what the ap article suggested was a “fairytale conception of marriage, ” that is not altered by any of the preparations done by the couple in getting ready for marriage. As we see later in this chapter, the idea of premarital counseling has taken hold, especially among young couples and among politicians in state capitols, as a possible way of redressing the high divorce rate.

In thinking about the complexities of human close relationships, the divorce dilemma is similar to other riddles in that many factors very likely are involved. Simple answers should be mistrusted. the divorce rate in these Bible Belt states may be influenced by the people's adopting the biblical view that the man is head of the household (e.g., the Southern Baptist Church asserted this position in its constitution in 1998). Yet, the close relationship literature suggests that egalitarian relationships in which both partners are treated . . .

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