Marriage Analysis: Foundations for Successful Family Life

By Harold T. Christensen | Go to book overview

Chapter 10
MATE ADJUSTMENT

Upon entering marriage, nearly everyone expects to be happy. Many succeed in this. Others fail. What is it that accounts for the difference?

Four factors are recognized throughout this analysis: (1) a harmonious society, (2) personal maturity, (3) pair solidarity, and (4) marital adaptability. There isn't much that an individual person or couple can do to improve its marriage by way of changing society; it can choose its place of residence, to be sure, and can even help to alter the social conditions which affect it, but at best such an approach to successful marriage is indirect and slow-moving. More significant are the personal qualities of those who marry, and the ways in which these are combined and forged into a working unity. Growing up, becoming involved, choosing a mate, and entering matrimony have been analyzed in earlier chapters. We are ready now to examine processes peculiar to the marriage itself.

Of first importance is a realization that the need for adjustment never ends. Successful marriage requires more than the right kind of preparation beforehand, as necessary as that is; it also demands that the mates ever continue to understand each other better and to adapt to new situations, as these are bound to arise. Becoming married cannot be taken to mean that one has "arrived" at a state of eternal happiness. Learning how to stay married is every bit as worth while as knowing how to get married, though the two are related.


DEFINING THE PROBLEM

We are not regarding marriage itself as a problem. Marriage permits a type and degree of happiness that can be known in

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