Family, Marriage, and Parenthood

By Howard Becker; Reuben Hill | Go to book overview
touched the more important and complex aspects for those who will not be able to make an adjustment without counseling and clinical assistance.Specifically, the type of earlier sex experience and attitudes toward sex are a part of the personality pattern (not apart from it) and are more fundamental than the knowledge at the time of marriage of the techniques of sexual intercourse. Likewise, a reasonable similarity of ideals, standards of conduct, customs, attitudes toward the economic role of husband and wife, etc., is much more important than the details of budget making. Furthermore, a mastery of the mechanisms of adaptability, the ability to meet situations temporarily unpleasant, is more important than uncovering the details of the eccentricity of a distant relative. That is to say, attitudes are more important than mechanics. Attitudes, because they are highly involved and symbolically interrelated, are slow to change; techniques can be learned quickly and easily.In other words, preparation for marriage from an educational standpoint is a part of the larger pattern of preparation for life. Instruction, therefore, may well be integrated into the general educational program, the nature of this instruction being determined by the available knowledge, checked and tested, of the factors which make for or against marital success. Since research has shown that primary in the causation of marital conflict are the influences which result in personality maladjustment, educational efforts need to be in the direction of facilitating the development of adjusted personalities. So far as marriage entails the introduction of persons to problems fundamentally like and yet somewhat different from those outside marriage, attention may be directed to these, yet never isolated from the larger educational program.Medical therapeutics has gone through these stages of development. In the first stage the therapist treated the symptoms of disease; in the second, the disease itself; and at the present time, the patient as well as the disease. Much of marital therapeutics is still in the symptoms stage. As research and therapy converge toward the further understanding and treatment of the functioning personality in the marriage configuration so will they advance the science and art of marital adjustment.
SELECTED READINGS
BURGESS ERNEST W., and COTTRELL LEONARD S., JR., Predicting Success or Failure in Marriage ( New York: Prentice-Hall, 1939), chap. 2.
FLÜGEL J. C., The Psychoanalytic Study of the Family ( London: Hogarth, 4th ed., 1931).
FOLSON JOSEPH K., "Changing Values in Sex and Family Relations," American Sociological Review, 2 ( 1937), pp. 717-726.
HAMILTON GILBERT V., A Research in Marriage ( New York: Boni, 1929).
KIRKPATRICK CLIFFORD, "Community of Interest and the Measurement of Marriage Adjustment," The Family, 18, pp. 133-137.
LANDIS JUDSON T., "Length of Time Required to Achieve Adjustment in Marriage," American Sociological Review, 11 ( 1946), pp. 666-677.

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