Marriage and the Family
READ THIS CASE STUDY
Joe and Mary are married for 6 years. Between them, they have five children. Both of them were previously married. Joe’s ex-wife claimed physical and mental abuse. Joe grew up with a physically abusive father and Mary lived with an over-possessive mother, was insecure, and suggest that ‘men cannot love.’ Mary has a six-month-old baby still breastfeeding. Joe is not happy when Mary is feeding the baby. There is a lack of communication between Mary and Joe when it comes to family issues. He becomes angry. Mary is afraid he will hurt the baby.
Joe had been physically abusive to his biological children. Where there is a conflict, Joe's solution was physical punishment. He was never abusive to Mary or her biological children. Friends have indicated to Mary that Joe needs help, but Mary feels that Joe has changed.
Mary’s older daughter is afraid of Joe because her half-brother has told her stories of Joe’s behavior. Mary depends on Joe for financial support and feels that she cannot separate from him. Joe denies responsibility for former abuse and blames others for his behavior, and states that he loves Mary and his children. Joe and Mary have never discussed abuse.
All writing assignments, discussions, tests, examinations, and projects must be created in a narrative format. Bullets points and lists are unacceptable unless the bullet points and lists are followed by an extensive detailed description or explanation that follows the narrative format – at least a paragraph (6 sentences).
Please follow these directions in the following order:
The first paragraph – Analyze the case
Second paragraph – Recommendations for Joe
Third paragraph – Recommendations for Mary
Fourth paragraph – Recommendations for the children
Lastly at least four APA in-text citations and references (at least one APA in-text citation and one reference for the analysis and one for each recommendation)
Course Materials: Lamanna, Mary Ann and Agnes Riedmann. Marriages and Families, 13th ed. Cengage, 2018.ISBN: 978-128573697-
WEEK 10 LECTURE NOTES – Communication and Managing Conflict
Conflict is a natural part of every relationship. Research psychologists and family counselors are recognizing that denying conflict may be destructive to both individuals and relationships. Family conflict itself is an inevitable part of normal family life. Research shows that unhappily married couples are distinguished by two things:
1- failure to manage conflict
2- the absence of positive affect, or communications of affection between them
Family Cohesion : refers to the emotional bonding of family members.
Stinnett’s Six Qualities of Strong Families:
1- communicating appreciation for one another
2- arranged their personal schedules so that they could do things together
3- high degree of commitment to promoting one another’s happiness and welfare to the family group
4- spiritual orientation; a sense of some power and purpose greater than themselves
5- an ability to deal positively with crisis
6- positive communication patterns
Active Listening : refers to paying close attention to what is being said. Involves giving feedback and checking it out. Active listening in communicating means letting the other person know you are hearing what is being said. You must let the other person know what you are hearing by using the following techniques:
Feedback: repeating what is said in one’s own words
Checking it out: checking in with the other person to see if your perception is correct
Listener backchannels: refers to the usual brief vocalizations, head nods, and facial movements that convey to the speaker that the listener is tracking what is being said.
Conflict and Love : No marriage is perfect. As noted, “marital anger and conflict are necessary forces and a challenge to be met rather than avoided.
Passive-Aggression: when anger is expressed indirectly rather than directly. Examples are chronic criticism, nagging, nitpicking sarcasm, and procrastination.
Sabotage: when one partner attempts to spoil or undermine some activity the other has planned.
Displacement: a person directs anger at people or things that the other cherishes
Communication and Conflict Management: Social psychologist John Gottman specializes in the field of marital communication. Using video cameras, he studied married couples. He kept in contact with more than 650 couples with whom he kept contact for as many as 14 years. Some highlights of the research are as follows:
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: contempt, criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling.
Contempt: expressed as a feeling that one’s partner is inferior or undesirable
Criticism: making disapproving judgments or evaluations of one’s partner
Defensiveness: preparing to defend one’s self against what one presumes is an upcoming attack
Stonewalling: resistance, refusing to listen to one’s partner, particularly to a partner’s complaints
Belligerence: added later after additional research: a behavior that is provocative and that challenges the spouse’s power and authority
Gottman and his colleagues noted that these attitudes and behaviors are attributed to unhappy marriages and signal impending divorce. Noted is that they found similar patterns among gay and lesbian couples.
Gender Difference in Couple Communication
Report Talk: conversation aimed mainly at conveying information. Usually attributed to men
Rapport Talk: conversation aimed at gaining or reinforcing rapport or intimacy
Bonding Fights: Nine Guidelines
Although arguing is a normal part of most loving relationships, there are better and worse ways of managing conflict. Bonding fights may often resolve issues and bring partners closer together by improving communication. The couple should focus on building up and not tearing down each other’s self-esteem. Bonding fights may be characterized by attitudes of and efforts at gentleness, soothing, and de-escalation of negativity. In bonding fights, both partners win.
Guideline 1: Level with Each Other: be candid, honest, open
Guideline 2: Avoid Attacks, Use I-Statements When You Can: allows for more communication, is
honest, less threatening.
Guideline 3: Avoid Mixed, or Double, Messages: simultaneous messages are confusing and
Guideline 4: Choose the Time and Place Carefully: avoid audiences, when the partner is upset, tired,
or otherwise not prepared. Having “gripe times” or discussion times is helpful.
Guideline 5: Focus on Anger Only on Specific Issues: stay with the “now”. Don’t bring up the past.
Guideline 6: Ask for a Specific Change, but Be Open to Compromise: This promotes dialog and can
minimize resentment. Allows each partner to feel equal.
Guideline 7: Be Willing to Change Yourself: be prepared to deal with the compromise and make the
required changes. Action is a part of the communication process.
Guideline 8: Don’t Try to Win: If winning and losing are on the table, it will be harder for one partner
to assume the loser role. Look at the situation as a compromise, a meeting of the minds
for an acceptable alternative.
Guideline 9: Remember to End the Argument: Don’t go to bed with this lingering. Couples must
determine when to end. If there is no immediate solution, agree on when to resume the
Changing Conflict – Management Habits:
One social scientist (Suzanne Steinmetz) traced patterns of how families resolve conflict. Her research showed that individual families assume consistent patterns or habits for facing conflict and that these patterns are passed from one generation to the next. Thus, parents who physically abuse their children teach their children that abuse is an acceptable outlet for tension. This is a promotion of the “cycle of violence”.
It is also noted that in terms of a generational change, some children will choose partners different from their parents in terms of marital conflict style.
Another point is that newer generations are dealing with societal laws that may be useful in promoting alternatives to destructive means of communicating. An example would be the laws regarding domestic violence. Victims of domestic violence are learning they have the right to protect themselves against domestic violence. They are informed on how to pursue these rights. Another example is child abuse laws. Children learn of their rights in school, in advertisements, and learn how to identify abuse. These are examples of how marital behavior can change despite dysfunctional family patterns.
Managing Conflict in Marriages and Families
Six Qualities of Family Cohesion 1. Communicate appreciation for one
another. 2. Arrange personal schedules so they can
do things together. 3. Have a high degree of commitment to
promoting one another's happiness and welfare.
Six Qualities of Family Cohesion 4. Have some spiritual orientation. 5. Are able to deal with crises. 6. Have positive communication patterns.
Conflict and Love All couples experience conflict. How conflicts are addressed and resolved
depends on how secure mates feel in their relationship.
10 Rules for a Successful Relationship 1. Express love verbally. 2. Be physically affectionate. 3. Express appreciation and admiration.
10 Rules for a Successful Relationship 4. Share more about yourself with your
partner than with any other person. 5. Offer each other emotional support. 6. Express your love materially.
10 Rules for a Successful Relationship 7. Accept partner’s demands and put up
with partner’s shortcomings. 8. Make time to be alone together. 9. Do not take the relationship for granted. 10. Do unto each other as you would have
the other do unto you.
Side Affects of Avoiding Conflict Anger “insteads” – substitute for dealing
with emotions: overeating, depression, illness, etc.
Passive-aggression – express indirectly to avoid direct conflict: nagging, criticism, sarcasm.
Horsemen of the Apocalypse Research identified predictors of divorce: 1. Contempt 2. Criticism 3. Defensiveness 4. Stonewalling 5. Belligerence
Managing Conflict Be more gentle when raising complaints. Help soothe spouse by communicating
care and affection. Learn self-soothing techniques. Be willing to accept influence from
spouse. Do best to de-escalate arguments.
Tactics Used by Fight Evaders 1. Leaving the house or the scene when the
fight threatens. 2. Turing sullen and refusing to argue or
talk. 3. Derailing arguments “I can’t take it when
you yell at me.”
Tactics Used by Fight Evaders 4. Stating “I can’t take you seriously when
you act this way.” 5. Using the hit and run tactic of filing a
complaint and leaving no time for a resolution.
6. Saying “okay, you win” without meaning it.
Bonding Fights – Nine Guidelines 1. Level with each other. 2. To avoid attacks, use I -statements
when possible. 3. Avoid mixed, or double messages. 4. Choose the time and place carefully.
Bonding Fights – Nine Guidelines 5. Focus anger only on specific issues. 6. Ask for a specific change, but be open
to compromise. 7. Be willing to change yourself. 8. Don’t try to win. 9. Remember to end the fight.
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