Sarnoff and Sarnoff believe we need to be constantly aware of the
fear of love in order to counter its destructive effects on love. They do
not see marital problems resulting from childhood experiences, bad
parenting, abuse, or early conditioning. They suggest we are able to
control our love lives if we work hard at understanding and countering
our fears (and resentment) of intimacy. They recommend many ways
of countering these fears at each stage.
Types of marriages
There are many classifications of marriages; I'll summarize a few.
David Olson (1981) observed 1000 young couples married only one or
two years as they discussed short stories about typical marital
conflicts. He found nine types of marriages, five were husband
dominated and three wife dominated and one equal:
Husband-led disengaged --the most common type. Even this
early in the marriage, their love was not very strong; yet, they
rarely fight. The male is the boss. Remember, this is 1980; we
Husband-led cooperative --the second most common.
Emotional involvement is only average. They argue moderately
often but they cooperate (with the husband's preferences given
priority). Wife works, no children. They don't socialize much but
get along with in-laws.
Shared-leadership cooperative --third most common and
probably increasingly common. Average amount of love and
conflict, but the decision-making is truly shared. Both work and
like their jobs.
Wife-lead disengaged --fourth most common. Little conflict
but little love too. Wife's views and preferences tend to
dominate. Husband is financially insecure. This couple socializes
to a moderate degree; husband gets along well with his mother
and his mother-in-law.
Husband-lead engaged --few marital problems and lots of
emotional involvement. They are sociable and satisfied with
Wife-lead congenial --they get along well, financial situation
is OK, average emotional involvement with each other and low-
key about everything. Husband shares some of wife's
Wife-lead confrontive --the wife tends to be a homemaker, a
mother and quite sociable; she leads. There is considerable
marital conflict, emotional involvement is only average. Both
get along well with in-laws.
Husband-lead confrontive --lots of conflict (second only to
9), husband is dominate, doesn't like his wife working, and has
conflicts with his mother-in-law. Wife doesn't like his job or
hers, if she works. Relatively uncommon type.