Marriage and the Family
What does power in a marriage or other couple relationship mean? Give examples
Explain how a couple can develop a no-power relationship. Give examples
This is a two-fold question;
At least 200 words.
Course Materials: Lamanna, Mary Ann and Agnes Riedmann. Marriages and Families, 13th ed. Cengage, 2018.ISBN: 978-128573697-6
LECTURE NOTES – POWER SHARING IN MARRIAGE
SHARING POWER IN MARRIAGE
You're paying the bills, thinking about nothing in particular, when it suddenly hits you, "Why am I the one who always has to do this?" Keep asking questions like that, and you'll soon be part of a vast national experiment to share power in marriage. Every husband and wife must determine how to share power; some do it more consciously than others. Creating marriage equality may sound easy, yet it is one of the primary challenges in 21st Century marriages because unresolved power issues can tear the fabric of a relationship.
Husbands and wives once embraced prominent roles: men exercised their power in the community, while women made critical decisions about children and the households. Today, some people in traditional marriages may step into traditional roles like those, finding them a cozy, warm fit. Many more couples are attempting to share power equally. They wrestle with who should do everyday duties such as buying groceries, cooking the meals, driving the car, cleaning the house, disciplining the kids, and making investment decisions. Some tasks seem to be done more by men (mowing the lawn, taking out the trash), and some more by women (mopping the kitchen floor, organizing the kitchen), but everybody must make up their own rules.
There's more to power-sharing than gender roles. First, it's helpful to know that power struggles over simple tasks and responsibilities are usually more about you than the task involved. It's important not to get locked into useless gender roles or tasks you hate doing. What matters most is how you feel about doing it and what's behind the feeling. Just because you resent having to do something doesn't necessarily mean that your spouse is uncaring and lazy. Power struggles usually mirror unconscious reflections of one's parents' relationship, and they may bring up old feelings of childhood powerlessness, anger, and resentment.
It's easy to see power issues as we notice our everyday tasks, but the struggle over power often pervades more subtle aspects of marriages. A woman might feel less powerful if her husband refuses to listen or entertain her point of view, and a man might feel powerless because he is continually criticized and diminished. Changing these patterns is challenging. The more we look at the brave new world of full marriage equality, the more we see that power-sharing is truly difficult and much more subtle than it seems. Merely dividing up household tasks may get the work done with less friction, but it won't put an end to power issues in your marriage.
Ignoring power imbalances isn't the answer either. If you don't examine a power issue, it will cause more trouble for you, causing you to feel cranky, misunderstood, and taken for granted. It may enter into the bedroom, kitchen, or even the car; wherever you interact with your spouse, there's the potential of a power differential.
It's essential to do the inner work necessary to feel powerful and complete in your own right before you accuse your partner. The less inwardly powerful you think, the less likely you'll be able to share power equally with your spouse. Conversely, the more you feel alright about yourself, the more you'll create positive discussions that begin to change the power balances in your marriage. Resolve to discuss the balance of power in a positive, respectful way rather than vilifying your partner. Imagine shouting, blaming, and criticizing, "You never go grocery shopping! Why do I have to do all the work?" Imagine a different discussion: "I need to ask for help. I've been doing most grocery shopping, and I'd love to have you pitch in on it. Can we talk about how to get it done?"
Achieving a marriage based on equality is a great, worthy pursuit, but couples who want to share power equally would do well to remember the "paradox of power": power flows from the inside out. No matter how well you balance tasks and responsibilities, you won't feel powerful unless you feel it from the inside.
MARTY FRIEDMAN is the author of Straight Talk for Men About Marriage: What Men Need to Know about Marriage (And What Women Need to Know About Men). Before tackling male/female relationship issues, Marty spent twenty-five years as a speaker and management consultant to corporate leaders across the U.S., Europe, and Japan. He has also written numerous articles, books, and manuals about management, communication, and relationship skills. He is also regularly interviewed on radio and television and speaks to organizations about communication, men, relationships, and marriage. Find out more about Marty's work at www.meninmarriage.com
LECTURE NOTES – Components in Marital Power
What is Power: Power may be defined as the ability to exercise one’s will.
Personal Power: Power exercised over oneself or autonomy.
Social Power: The ability of people to exercise their will over the will of others.
Parental Power: Occurs between children and parents
Marital Power: Power between married partners, as well as power in intimate-partner relationships
Components in Marital Power
Decision Making: Who will make the decisions?
Division of Labor: Who does the work around the house? What are the assigned roles?
Sense of Empowerment: Feeling free to raise complaints to one’s partner about the relationship
Objective Measures of Power: who actually makes more, makes the decisions, feels freer to raise complaints?
Subjective Measure of Fairness: Is related to the perception of fairness. (Read example in the text-page 406)
Power Bases: Six sources of power: coercive, reward, expert, information, referent, and legitimate
Coercive power: the dominant partner’s ability and willingness to punish the partner either with psychological-emotional abuse or physical violence or, more subtly, withholding favors or affection.
Expert Power: the dominant partner’s superior judgment, knowledge, or ability
Informational Power: based on the persuasive content of what the dominant person tells another individual.
Referent power: based on the less dominant person’s emotional identification with the more dominant individual.
Legitimate power: the dominant individual’s ability to claim authority or the right to request compliance.
Dynamics of Marital Power
Classical Perspectives on Marital Power
Egalitarian Power and the Resource Hypothesis: Social Scientists Robert Blood and Donald Wolfe postulated that although the American family’s forebears were patriarchal, “the predominance of the male has been so thoroughly undermined that we no longer live in a patriarchal system”. The partner with more resources has the most power in the marriage. The resources include education and earning power.
Criticisms of this theory include:
1- having the power over trivial decisions is not the same as power over an important decision.
2- power between spouses involves more than which partner makes the most final decisions; deciding what alternatives are going to be considered may be the real decision
3- the hypothesis has a narrow focus-on individuals’ background characteristics and abilities-but does not take into account their personalities and the way they interact
4- marital power is more than decision making; it also implies the relative autonomy of wives and husbands, along with the division of labor in marriages
5- patriarchal power structure had been replaced by egalitarian marriages
Resources in Cultural Context:
American marriages experience a tension between male dominance and egalitarianism, with a transitional egalitarian model probably the most common. Other cultures may have a patriarchal perspective in terms of authority. It is important and extremely relevant to look at the cultural connection when looking at roles within the family.
Love, Need, and Power: this is a variation of the exchange theory. Each partner brings resources to the marriage and receives rewards from the other partner. Rewards can be either emotional and/or material resources.
Principal of Least Interest: partner with the least commitment to the relationship is the one who is more apt to exploit the other.
Relative Love and Need Theory: this theory is a variation of the exchange theory. The theory of conjugal power holds that the spouse with the least to lose if the marriage ends is the more powerful in the relationship.
Social Class, Racial/Ethnic Diversity, and Marital Power
Social Class: Americans do not see power inequities in their marriages. Middle-class husbands are more likely than lower-class men to have substantially higher earnings than their wives
When looking at the differences read each section (African American, Mexican American, and Korean American) note that the differences are culturally based.
Marital power or power in other intimate-partner relationships includes decision-making, the division of household labor, and a sense of empowerment in the relationship. American marriages experience a tension between male dominance and egalitarianism, with a transitional egalitarian model probably the most common.
The relative power of a husband and wife in marriage varies by education, social class, religion, race/ethnicity, age, immigration status, and other factors. It varies on whether or not the wife works and with the presence and age of children. Studies of married couples, cohabiting couples, and gay and lesbian couples illustrate the significance of economically based power and of norms about who should have power.
Researchers do not agree as to whether males primarily perpetrate intimate-partner violence or whether males and females are equally likely to abuse their partners. The effects of intimate-partner violence indicate that victimization of women is the more crucial social problem, and it has received the most programmatic attention. Recently, some programs have been developed for male abusers. Studies indicating that arrest is sometimes a deterrent to further wife abuse illustrate the importance of public policies in this area.
Power and Control in Family Violence: The book presents the Duluth Model in the form of a Power and Control Wheel. (see page 430) This shows how partners use coercive power for power and control. Review the eight sections in the wheel ( Intimidation, Emotional Abuse, Isolation, Minimizing, denying and blaming, Using Children, Using Male Privilege, Using Economic and Using Coercion and Threats) Note that a similar wheel of power and control has been developed for other non-traditional family systems.
Child Abuse and Neglect
Main Types of Child Abuse/Maltreatment:
Neglect: failure to provide for a child’s basic needs. Examples are
· Physical (e.g. failure to provide necessary food or shelter, or lack of appropriate supervision
· Medical (e.g., failure to provide necessary medical or mental health treatment)
· Education (e.g., failure to educate a child or attend to special education needs)
· Emotional (e.g., inattention to a child’s emotional needs, failure to provide psychological care, or permitting the child to use alcohol or other drugs)
Physical Abuse: refers to a physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death) as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting (with a hand, stick, strap, or other objects), burning, or other wish harming a child. Such injury is considered abuse regardless of whether the caretaker intended to hurt the child.
Sexual Abuse: includes activities by a parent or caretaker such as fondling a child’s genitals, penetration, incest, rape, sodomy, indecent exposure, and exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials.
Emotional Abuse: a pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. This may include constant criticism, threats, or rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance. Emotional abuse is often difficult to prove and, therefore, Child Protective Services may not be able to intervene without evidence of harm to the child. Emotional abuse is almost always present when other forms are identified.
Combating Child Abuse
Criminal Justice Approach: This is a punitive approach that believes one or both parents should be held legally responsible for abusing a child.
Therapeutic Approach: Involves two interrelated strategies: (1) increasing parents’ self-esteem and their knowledge about children and (2) involving the community in child regarding
Social Welfare Approach: overlaps with the therapeutic approach taking into account the social, cultural, and economic context of child maltreatment to provide services and parent education that may make child abuse less likely.
Elder Abuse and Neglect
Elder abuse and neglect are relatively new areas of investigation into family violence. One causative factor may be linked to economics. The financial dependency of the older generation on younger family members is being considered.
Power and Violence in Marriages and Families 2
The Resource Hypothesis
• Spouse with more resources has more power in the marriage.
• Focuses on background characteristics and doesn’t consider how partners interact.
• Explains marital power only when there is no overriding egalitarian or patriarchal norm.
Love, Need and Power
• Each partner brings resources to the marriage and receives rewards from the other partner.
• One partner may be gaining more from the marriage. – This partner is more likely to comply with the
Why Do Women Live With It?
• Fear • Cultural norms -women are encouraged to put
up with abuse. • Love • Economic dependence
Why Do Women Live With It?
• Hopes for change • Belief that it’s a woman’s responsibility to
keep a relationship from failing • Childhood experiences with domestic violence • Low self-esteem
Conceptual Model of Abused Women’s Stay/leave Decision-making Process
Risk Factors For Child Abuse
1. A belief in physical punishment. 2. Parents may have unrealistic expectations
about what the child is capable of. 3. Parents who abuse were often abused or
neglected as children. 4. Parental stress and feelings of helplessness.
% of Persons Physically Assaulted by an Intimate Partner in Lifetime
Type of Assault Women
(n=8,000) Total physical assault by
intimate partner 22.1 7.4
Threw something 8.1 4.4 Pushed, grabbed, shoved 18.1 5.4
Pulled hair 9.1 2.3 Slapped, hit 16.0 5.5 Kicked, bit 5.5 2.6
% of Persons Physically Assaulted by an Intimate Partner in Lifetime
Type of Assault Women
(n=8,000) Choked, tried to drown 6.1 0.5
Hit with object 5.0 3.2 Beat up 8.5 0.6
Threatened with gun 3.5 0.4 Threatened with knife 2.8 1.6
Used gun 0.7 0.1 Used knife 0.9 0.8
Power and Violence in Marriages and Families
Marital Power Involves:
Six Bases of Power
Six Bases of Power
Six Bases of Power
How Resources and Legitimate Power Affect Conjugal Power
Equalization of Marital Power
Three-Phase Cycle of Domestic Violence
Tension from a minor altercation builds over time.
The situation escalates, eventually exploding into a violent episode.
Husband becomes genuinely contrite, treating his life lovingly.
Why Do Men Do It?
Husband and Male Partner Abuse
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