Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Confronting Relationship Challenges

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Confronting Relationship Challenges

Article excerpt

Confronting Relationship Challenges. Steve Duck & Julia T. Wood (Eds.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 1995. 278 pp. Softcover ISBN 0-8039-5649-5. $19.95 paper.

"And they lived happily ever after" exists in fairy tales, but rarely in the lives of flesh and blood people. This volume, edited by Steve Duck and Julia Wood, brings to the reader a collection of essays and reviews on emerging areas (such as shame, enemies, codependency) and more established "dark side" issues (such as divorce, intimate violence, grief). Each chapter has something new to say. In particular, there are vivid discussions of ideological and dialectical processes. For example, Coleman and Ganong write:

. . . There is a . . . suggest

ion

that those who do not conform to the family ideal should be disdained. . . . This ideology helps explain why policymakers and government bodies can intrude so thoroughly into family life at the time of legal divorce,. . . yet be reluctant to provide ongoing support to divorcing parents and their children (p. 75).

The chapters by West on intimate violence and on HIV/AIDS rely on an analysis of ideology to bring out important points. Bowen and Michal-Johnson's chapter on HIV/AIDS, for instance, describe 14 metaphors for high-risk sexual encounters (caveman, fairy tale, going with the flow, etc.).

The book also offers insights that highlight dialectical processes. Retzinger's chapter on shame and anger in relationships describes shame: "Like a thermostat,

it

helps to regulate the tension between closeness and distance; shame may be evoked if persons are either too close or too distant" (p. …

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