Psychological Self-Help

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905
more intimate. When there were eight or ten children, mom was very
busy with house work and child care, and dad had to work long hours
to earn the money. Marriage was for survival. If there are only one or
two children, mom will probably (70% of the time and increasing) go
to work outside the home. This means that mom and dad share the
financial responsibilities and the housekeeping/child care roles.
Marriages today are started for love. From there, marriages develop in
many different directions, including about half heading towards anger
and divorce. 
Spouses are now asked to be more than "good providers" and
"good homemakers," they are expected to be faithful lovers, fun
companions, best friends, co-parents, and wise, understanding mutual
helpers. Marriage is for intimacy, not just for economic security and
not just for "a good mother to my kids." Love isn't dead; it is very
alive. Love has become more complex, more challenging, and,
perhaps, more valued, e.g. in the 1950's we strove to do a good job
(doctor, lawyer, housewife, mother), now we seek to enjoy our jobs,
friends, loves, family, and leisure time (Veroff, Douvan, & Kukla,
1981). Furthermore, today, because social and religious prohibitions
against divorce are less, because we have fewer children later in life,
because economic conditions are better, and because women are
personally and economically more independent, we are much freer to
change partners if we aren't getting what we want out of the
relationship. And, we are changing partners frequently, but not
without pain. 
It is these kinds of complexities and decisions that this chapter
focuses on: How should I find and select a partner? Is it reasonable to
expect my potential partner to make major changes if I want him/her
to improve? Do I really love this person? When should I make a
commitment to another person? When should we have sex? How long
should I wait to get married? Should I have more experience with the
opposite sex before getting married? Should we get married or live
together first? How good should sex be? If our sex should be better,
how do we make it so? When should we have children and how many?
Is my marriage working okay? What characterizes marriages that last?
When should I seek marital counseling? When should I leave the
marriage? What are the consequences of getting a divorce? These are
life's toughest questions because there are no simple answers. Each
individual's problem calls for a unique solution. Thus, simple answers
are not given here, only some relevant information and possible
solutions to consider. 
Meeting, Dating, and Selecting a Lover
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