1990's. If you are a father and not very involved at home, better get
with it! Gender roles were discussed at length in chapter 9.
Handling Marital Problems
Marital adjustment: What are the common problems?
David Olson of the University of Minnesota, who has studied over
15,000 married couples, recently said that 50% of married people will
never be happy, unless they get unusually good therapy. Other
researchers agree (Strean, 1985); about 30% of marriages are "empty
shells"--little love, little talk, little joy. Only about 25% of couples have
"really good marriages." The remaining 25% could achieve a good
marriage if they got therapy and/or really worked on obtaining the
necessary skills via training or marriage enrichment (or, you can add,
self-help). Olson believes the needed skills and characteristics are:
communication skills (chapter 13), conflict resolution skills (chapter
13), compatible personality, agreement on values and religion (chapter
3), and good sex (later section).
Women have more complaints about their spouses and marriages,
compared to men (Brehm, 1985). Is this because women are more
critical and want more or because men give less? I'd guess both.
Women initiate the break up of dating and marriages more often than
men. Although the underlying "causes" are unknown, these are the
commonly stated marital problems (Weiten, 1986):
Having unrealistically blissful expectations of marriage
guarantee our disappointment (discussed in chapters 6 and 8).
Living together may help us "get real" about what to expect
from a relationship. In any case, it helps to be totally honest
and discuss your feelings, your expectations, and your
weaknesses, long before marriage.
Partners may have very different role expectations, i.e. who
does the cooking, deciding, working outside the home, etc.
Make these decisions jointly, honestly, and openly, don't just
hope that the husband will do half the cooking and that the wife
will stay home with the kids. Research indicates, contrary to
popular belief, that the wife's working outside the home does
not increase marital problems or harm the children's
All marriages have money problems. If not "there isn't enough
money," then the conflict is likely to be "I want to spend our
money on something else." Work out these problems ahead of
time in terms of basic priorities as much as possible.
Poor "communication " is the most common complaint (68%)
among couples seeking counseling. The average couple talks