Predicting Marital Satisfaction Based on Premarital Conditions
Available research indicates that the modern divorce rate is both perceived in a native sense as being statistically high and according to most available research can be illustrated as such. The research here is motivated by the interest of identifying the causes of marital satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The current study proposes to predict marital satisfaction according to the presence of certain constructs during the process of courtship and premarital relationship development. Here, we consider the factors predicting marital success to be relational commitment, spiritual compatibility and the establishment of complimentary relational roles. These factors will be addressed in the discussion here below, and the research here will subsequently identify the impact that unresolved conflict can bear on the longevity of a marital relationship.
The institution of marriage is the most common form of social partnership in modern society, the foundation for the traditional family unit and a deeply complex integration of two lives into one shared experience. And yet, marriage is also a context in which discontent, abuse, infidelity and uncertainty can become featured characteristics. The balance and compatibility achieved by a married couple will generally be tantamount to the level of contentment or satisfaction reported by partners with one another and with the general state of marriage. Achieving this balance however is contingent upon many overlapping factors that are as nuanced and varied as the dispositions of individuals themselves. Certainly, this may be demonstrated by the particularly high rate of divorce in Western society, which seems to suggest that many couples have trouble predicting marital satisfaction, achieving marital satisfaction or maintaining marital satisfaction. Indeed, available research indicates that the modern divorce rate is both perceived in a native sense as being statistically high and according to most available research can be illustrated as such.
So notes the Robinson (2009) source, which finds that "the media frequently reports that 50% of American marriages will end in divorce. This number appears to have been derived from very skimpy data related to a single county or state. However, it appears to be reasonable close to the probable value. The Americans for Divorce Reform estimates that "probably, 40 or possibly even 50% of marriages will end in divorce if current trends continue. However, that is only a projection and a prediction" (Robinson, 1) These are findings which suggest there is a great imperative to understand that which produces marital satisfaction, which is a likely precondition to creating a marriage which resists these trends. As the rationale section will explore further hereafter, there is a demand to identify and understand some of the patterns which can be used to prefigure marital success based on mutual partner satisfaction. Moreover, as a measure of preemptive assessment, the focus of this study will be on the period and process of premarital courtship, during which many of the patterns referenced here above should become apparent.
This denotes the premise, purpose and procedures guiding the current study, which proposes to predict marital satisfaction according to the presence of certain constructs during the process of courtship or premarital relationship development. Focusing on several major constructs which appear to be recurrent in the literature confronted in exploring the subject, the research conducted hereafter will attempt to produce a comprehensive analysis on that which predicts a high level of marital satisfaction.
It is assumed that the decision to pursue a lifelong commitment with another person, to initiate a family and share experiences, responsibilities and finances, is driven by emotional, biological and sociological imperatives. However, these imperatives are rarely sufficient for understanding the far more complex issue of that which makes such a lifelong commitment viable and lasting. Certainly, the intention here will not be to conflate issues of marital satisfaction with divorce. The latter being an indicator of marital dissatisfaction, it can hardly be thought of as the only indicator. Moreover, it is expected that many marriages persist in a state of discontent, with religious imperatives or other internal factors presenting the members of an unhappy union from seeking or following through on divorce. It is thus that the study conducted here is undertaken as a way of reporting on the constructs which are most directly affiliated with indices of marital satisfaction and applying them to the presumed correlation between behaviors in courtship and realities in marriage.
Therefore, the constructs which have been selected for examination are selected based on their recurrence and replicated reliability across multiple studies on marital satisfaction and particularly as this relates to premarital realities. As we proceed to consider these constructs individually, it should be with the understanding that there is no consensus on a required balance between these constructs. Such is to say that predicting marital satisfaction is far from an exact science, and that while we anticipate establishing a clearer analytical picture of the conditions which can be used to project a general picture of marital satisfaction, the proportion between these conditions and the degree to which they may overlap is both unclear and subject to some level of variation. That said, we consider the factors predicting marital success to be relational commitment, spiritual compatibility and the establishment of complimentary relational roles. These factors will be addressed in the section here below, and the research here will subsequently identify the impact that unresolved conflict can bear on the longevity of a marital relationship.
Premarital Topic- Factors predicting marital success or failure and Marital Topic
Among the factors which may be apparent at points far before marriage is proposed, relationship commitment is prominent. Relational commitment is a construct largely based on internal features of the relationship proceeding from the propensity of the partners in the couple toward shared rather than self-interested orientation. Relational commitment denotes that the individuals engaged in a romantic relationship share the same level of prioritization where this relationship is concerned. To this end, Gunter (2004) reports that "commitment has proven to be a meaningful construct in the study of marriage. Adams and Jones found that the various models of commitment could each be classified based on the extent to which they emphasize three distinct dimensions of commitment: attraction, morality, and constraint." (Gunter, vi) the Gunter study also provides insight into one of the core complexities relating to this construct, which is an assessing its presence in relationships that will inherently differ considerably in nature. Gunter concedes as much, demonstrating the challenge before in using this factor to predict marital satisfaction. Namely, we recognize that changes and fluctuations of need within a marriage will prompt different levels of demand and different incarnations of commitment both across different relationships and at different times within any given relationship. This is a construct which can be redefined according to situation or context, but which in any event denotes a high correlation to marital satisfaction where the perception of partners of the commitment of their counterparts is concerned. Indications during courtship and premarital involvement should exist through which to make deductions about the level of commitment demonstrated by a partner. The sense that this is present or absent from a relationship should be seen as a sufficient predictor of marital satisfaction.
This is likewise true of the way that marital partners approach their respective commitments to faith. The construct of spirituality, interchangeably used in this discussion with the term 'religiosity,' seems to generate the greatest amount of speculation and examination. One pattern that emerges in this respect is the reality that many marriages or relationships which require counseling may tend to seek this in a spiritual context. Clergy such as priests and rabbis are often appealed to for guidance in the marital context, imbuing the subject with the moral, ideological, cultural and community-oriented realities which are distinct from one religious context to the next. As a result, this construct has a definite impact on the way that marital satisfaction is understood and experienced, with Parker (2009) providing the study some basic understanding of spirituality in the context of courtship. Parker reports that "religiosity, a general term irrespective of any specific religion, which encompasses an individual's religious beliefs, further adherence to proscribed behavioral attributes associated with religion, and the significance that religion plays in an individual's everyday life. Several studies have shown a significant relationship between religiosity and marital satisfaction (Fenell, 1993; Filsinger & Wilson, 1984; Schumm, Bollman, & Jurich, 1982). The teachings of many of the world's major religions encourage people to work out marital problems and avoid divorce." (Parker, 5-6) This promotes simultaneously the impression that religiosity prefigures marital satisfaction and the likelihood that some marriages remain intact in spite of discontent due to religious pressures. That said, spiritual commonality is viewed as a construct which significantly improves the long-term likelihood that conflict will not be verged upon based on religious difference. This, in turn, may function as a viable predictor of marital satisfaction.
The third factor which we consider is that relating to the establishment of roles which complement one another within the context of…