Discussion Topic- ?Marriage and the Family? Love is a difficult conce

 Discussion Topic-  Marriage and the Family 


Love is a difficult concept for many. Some mistake or confuse love with a physical attraction or infatuation. As a child, I recall a rhyme: Love is like a pot of gold, hard to find and hard to hold”. Interesting thought. 

Read the Wikipedia definition of love. Go to the Wikipedia home page and type in the word “love” in Wikipedia. 

Based on the various aspects you are presented with, in your opinion, what is important and how does it fit in with your understanding or concept of love?

State your experience of love, then explain how it fits in with Wikipedia’s versions of love. 

Feel free to use all other references to support your thoughts and arguments, respectively.

 Course Materials: Lamanna, Mary Ann and Agnes Riedmann. Marriages and Families, 13th ed. Cengage, 2018.ISBN: 978-128573697-6  

Loving Ourselves and Others

Chapter Outline ? Personal Ties in an Impersonal Society ? What is Love? ? Two Things Love Isn’t ? Self-Esteem as a Prerequisite to Loving ? Love as Discovery

What Is Love? ? Love is a deep and vital emotion. ? Love satisfies legitimate personal needs. ? Love involves caring and acceptance.

Triangle Theory of Love Three components of love: 1. Intimacy – close, connected feelings. 2. Passion – drives that lead to romance,

physical attraction and sexual consummation.

3. Commitment -the decision to love someone and to maintain that love.

Triangle Theory of Love Three components develop at different

times: ? Passion is quickest to develop and

quickest to fade. ? Intimacy develops more slowly. ? Commitment develops gradually.

The Three Components of Love: Triangular Theory

Six Love Styles 1. Eros 2. Storge 3. Pragma 4. Agape 5. Ludus 6. Mania

Love Isn’t Martyring Martyrs may: ? Be reluctant to suggest what they want. ? Allow others to be constantly late and

never protest. ? Help loved ones develop talents while

neglecting their own. ? Be sensitive to others’ feelings and hide

their own.

Love Isn’t Manipulation Manipulators may: ? Ask others to do something that they

could do. ? Assume that others will happily do

whatever they choose. ? Be consistently late. ? Want others to help them develop their

talents but seldom think of reciprocating.

Six Pillars of Self-esteem 1. The practice of living consciously. 2. The practice of self-acceptance. 3. The practice of self-responsibility. 4. The practice of self-assertiveness. 5. The practice of living purposefully. 6. The practice of personal integrity.

Self-Esteem and Personal Relationships People with low self-esteem ? Experience a persistent need for

affection. ? Are on the alert for criticism and

remember it for a long time afterward. ? Often miss cues that other people are

interested. ? Are prepared for rejection.

Three Basic Styles of Attachment ? Secure – Trust that the relationship will

provide necessary and ongoing support. ? Insecure/anxious – Concern that the

beloved will disappear, a “fear of abandonment”.

? Avoidant – Evades relationships or establishes distance in intimate situations.

Wheel Theory of Love Four stages of love ? Rapport – rests on mutual trust and respect ? Self-revelation – sharing intimate information ? Mutual dependency – developing

interdependence ? Personality need fulfillment – developing

emotional exchange and support

Reiss’s Wheel Theory of the Development of Love

Misconceptions That Limit Our Ability to Maintain Love 1. Infatuation equals love; chemistry is all

that matters. 2. If it isn’t perfect, it wasn’t meant to be. 3. You can’t rekindle passion; once love

dies, you can never get it back. 4. There is one true soul mate for

everyone; if you meet the right person, you will live happily ever after.

Misconceptions That Limit Our Ability to Maintain Love 5. Love conquers all; if a relationship is tough, it

means you have the wrong partner. 6. Love is a static state; once you fall in love,

you get on a high and stay there forever. 7. Love is a feeling, and you either have it or you


  • Loving Ourselves and Others
  • Chapter Outline
  • What Is Love?
  • Triangle Theory of Love
  • Slide 5
  • The Three Components of Love: Triangular Theory
  • Six Love Styles
  • Love Isn’t Martyring
  • Love Isn’t Manipulation
  • Six Pillars of Self-esteem
  • Self-Esteem and Personal Relationships
  • Three Basic Styles of Attachment
  • Wheel Theory of Love
  • Reiss’s Wheel Theory of the Development of Love
  • Misconceptions That Limit Our Ability to Maintain Love
  • Slide 16





·        The book defines it as a deep and vital emotion that satisfies certain needs, combined with a caring for and acceptance of the beloved and resulting in an intimate relationship.

·        Historically in many cultures, love has been seen as a dangerous threat to the legal and moral order.

·        Legitimate Needs: expecting emotional support and understanding, companionship, and often sexual sharing from partners.

·        Illegitimate Needs: also known as “deficiency needs” arise when there are feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, and unworthiness. 

·        Love involves caring and acceptance. This means people should feel free to be themselves, and not have to change. For example, there is a song “My Funny Valentine” which describes loving one for one’s self. 


·        Women are more apt to be aware of their feelings

·        Men are more likely to hold in their inner feelings


·        Intimacy is sharing. This sharing can be either sexual or more psychic, meaning sharing one’s thoughts; self-disclosure. This may be difficult depending on one’s culture. Some cultures do not allow this level of intimacy between the sexes. 

·        Commitment: involves a willingness to work through difficulties. It means a manner of acceptance within the relationship regardless of feelings about an issue. 

Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love presents three components of love that show the process of love beginning, growing, and being maintained: 

·        Intimacy: close connected feeling: a warmness toward another.

·        Passion: the drives that lead to romance, physical attraction, sexual consummation

·        Commitment: the decision/commitment refers to a willingness to maintain the love; work through things

Sternberg’s triangle demonstrates how love can begin and grow. The thought is that love is a process with intimacy and passion leading to a deeper, lasting love known as consummate love. 

Love Styles are based on John Alan Lee’s typology:

·         EROS : Characterized by intense emotional attachment and powerful sexual feelings or desires.

·         STORGE : An affectionate, companionate style of love. Sexual intimacy comes about only after the partners develop an understanding of one another. Friendship comes first.

·         PRAGMA : This is an example of a relationship based on practicalities and rationality. An arranged married is an example. 

·         AGAPE : Also known as altruistic love because it is an unselfish love; loving the other means loving unselfishly with all concern being for the other. This kind of love looks for nothing in return only wanting to make the other happy.

·         LUDUS : This is a frivolous kind of love focusing on sexuality and the enjoyment of multiple partners. 

·         MANIA : This is a form of “fatal attraction” All concern is on the idea of love and wanting to have the object of the love focus on the individual only. This is the most pathological form of love.


·         Four Stages:

·        Rapport: mutual trust and respect

·        Self-Revelation: also known as self-disclosure. The sharing of intimate information about oneself

·        Mutual Dependency:  interdependency

·        Personality Need Fulfillment: satisfying one another’s emotional needs.


A-frame relationships



Consummate love


H-frame relationships


Legitimate needs

Love styles

M-frame relationships




symbiotic relationships

Three basic styles of attachment

wheel of love

Sternberg’s Theory


Love is defined as deep and vital emotion. Love is caring. Love means intimacy, but more than physical intimacy. Love means different things to different people and can be misunderstood. One’s understanding of love is related to culture, environment, and societal norms.  






· Continuum of social attachment: A conception of social attachment developed by Catherine Ross that emphasizes the quality of the attachment and its relationship to happiness or depression. Her research found that singles are not all socially unattached, isolated, or disconnected and that people who are in relationships that are unhappy are more depressed than people who are alone and without a partner.            

· Three Demographic Categories of Singles:

· Never married

· Divorced

· Widowed





· unions in which parents choose their children’s marriage partners

· more prevalent in parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa that are less Westernized

· children may not meet their spouse until the wedding

· all arrangements made by the parents

· it is expected that the couple will learn to love one another

· one thought is that by arranging marriages, two families are united by means of a kinship group

· the thought is that family is more important than marrying for love; a united family is preserved by arranged marriages

· in terms of a functional purpose, the following is noted

· affirms and strengthens parents’ power over their children

· helps keep the family traditions and value system intact

· helps consolidate and extend the family property

· enhances the value of the kinship group

· helps young people avoid the uncertainty of searching for a mate

· because of global Westernization, “love marriages” are replacing arranged marriage as the preference for marriage

· free-choice culture: refers to people freely choosing their own mates

· cross-national marriage: arrangement for a spouse from the country of origin for their children

· NOTE: Read the box on page 163:  “An Asian-American Student’s Essay on Arranged Marriages”


· courtly love: popular during the 12th century and later, courtly love is the intense longing for someone other than one’s marital partner—a passionate and sexual longing that ideally goes unfulfilled. 

· Marriage Market: refers to the sociological concept that potential mates take stock of their personal and social characteristics and then comparison shop or bargain for the best “buy”/mate they can get.

· Exchange Theory: a theoretical perspective that sees relationships as determined by the exchange of resources and the reward-cost balance of that exchange. This theory predicts that people tend to marry others whose social class, education, physical attractiveness, and even self-esteem are similar to their own.

· Traditional Exchange: the idea that women are responsible for the children, domestic chores, sexual accessibility, and emotional support. Men provide status, protection economic support, and security for the family.

· Marriage gradient: the tendency for women to marry “up” in regard to education, age, occupation, and earning potential. It is thought that greater marital power is for men than for women because educational attainment and earnings are related to power in a marriage. In some instances, men usually have the upper hand.

· Homogamy: marriage between partners of similar race, age, education, religious background, and social class.





· Gender differences in work and family roles have created a gray area in terms of who is in charge in the family

· Women are becoming equally employable and making good money. However, some disadvantages continue due to women having some marginal positions in the economic system. As women move forward in attaining an equal salary, men continue to have the upper hand.

· Fathers are becoming more participatory in the childcare aspect of the family

· HOMOGAMY: when Americans tend to choose partners who are like themselves in many ways. Examples are race, religion, education, and social class.

· HETEROGAMY: marrying someone dissimilar in the race, age, education, religion, or social class

· ENDOGAMY:  marrying within one’s own social group

· EXOGAMY: marrying outsides one’s group

· HYPERGAMY: marrying up to improve one’s social and/or economic status

· HYPOGAMY: marrying down

· STATUS EXCHANGE HYPOTHESIS: This hypothesis is used in discussing mixed marriages. The argument presented is an individual might trade his or her socially defined superior racial/ethnic status for the economically or educationally superior status of a partner in a less-privileged racial/ethnic group. An example would be the thought that a minority will marry a white person as a means of attaining higher social status.




· ATTACHMENT THEORY: The theory that during infancy and childhood, individuals develop a general style of attaching to others. Go to this link.  

· Getting to Know Someone and Gaining Commitment

· Dating and “Getting Together

· usually refers to an exclusive relationship

· Margaret Mead viewed dating as competition in terms of who had the most success (partners). She felt dating encouraged men and women to define heterosexual relationships as situational, rather than ongoing. Secondly, she viewed sex as becoming depersonalized and genitally oriented, rather than oriented to the whole person.

· Cohabitation and Marriage

· has become more acceptable within some cultures


· some view it as a “trial marriage”

· selection hypothesis: assumes that the individuals who choose serial cohabitation are different from those who do not.

· experience hypothesis: cohabitating experiences themselves affect individuals so that once married, they are more likely to divorce.

· Courtship violence is associated with cohabitation. This includes dating violence. Indicators of a possible violent partner early in the relationship are:


1. handles ordinary disagreements or disappointments with inappropriate anger or rage

2. has to struggle to retain self-control when some little thing triggers anger

3. goes into tirades

4. is quick to criticize or to be verbally mean

5. appears unduly jealous, restricting, and controlling

6. has been violent in previous relationships  


· Date Rape/Acquaintance Rape: a sexual coercive sexual encounter with a date or an acquaintance.


Mate Selection and Marital Stability


· Age and Marital Stability

· marriages at an older age may be more stable than those that take place in one’s 20s

· factors related to the dissolving of young marriages are immaturity, parental dissatisfaction, social and economic difficulties

· Intergenerational Transmission of divorce risk: the tendency for children with divorced parents to have a greater propensity to divorce than children from intact families

· Mate Selection Risk refers to individuals from divorced families being inclined to choose partners who have characteristics similar to those in their family of origin. For example, the selection of a partner can be one who is abusive, has a drug/alcohol problem, is impulsive, socially irresponsible, etc. These are not quality traits for a successful marriage.


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