Rethinking Marriage: Public and Private Perspectives

By Christopher Clulow; Tavistock Institute of Marital Studies | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
Rethinking marriage

Christopher Clulow

T here are times in most marriages when a crisis, and sometimes an absence of crisis, forces the partners into a reappraisal of their relationship. Predictable passages -- setting up home, starting a family, children leaving home, ailing parents -- and unexpected events -- a sudden illness, an affair, relocation at work, redundancy -- can destabilize the balance of married life and demand changes. They interact with the long-standing psychological traits of individuals and their partnerships to bind some couples together while blowing others apart. This interaction between external events and inner-world realities results in varied outcomes, confirming Anthony Powell's dictum that "it is not what happens to people that is significant, but what they think happens to them" ( Powell, 1971). Couples may be so disturbed by their interpretation of events that one or both partners come to believe they have a marital problem for which they need help. Or, perhaps, the problem they have is, indeed, "marital", for it is presented in the context of the couple and not as a request for individual help, or help with a child, or assistance in managing other vicissitudes of life that can affect marriage.

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Rethinking Marriage: Public and Private Perspectives
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Biographical Notes vii
  • Chapter One - Rethinking Marriage 9
  • Chapter Two - Learning from Divorce 27
  • Chapter Three - Public Perceptions: Private Experiences 39
  • Chapter Four - Theological Images of Marriage 51
  • Chapter Five - Fidelity as a Moral Achievement 71
  • Chapter Six - Sexuality and the Couple 95
  • Chapter Eight - "Good-Enough" Marriage 123
  • References 135
  • Index 141
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