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Destination marriage? The diagnostic role of rituals in dating relationships

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Abstract

The decision to marry is complex, often with seemingly innocuous events impacting a partner’s marriage eligibility. Engaging in rituals is one area where couples have the opportunity to see their partners in a new light as well as assess commitment. Although rituals have impactful roles in married couples, there is a dearth of research on ritual activity in dating couples. A qualitative approach was used to explore how rituals act as facilitators or barriers to commitment to wed using data from a random sample of dating couples in a diverse Southwestern region of the U.S. Results showed that celebration and tradition rituals played a contextual role in magnifying the importance of three normative relationship features: family interactions, relationship awareness, and conflict management. Experiencing these relationship features during a ritual time highlighted the uncertainty inherent in determining marriage eligibility with a current partner and enhanced the information gathering process.

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... More generally, our results may also speak to the ways in which rituals are linked to relationship commitment (Campbell & Ponzetti, 2007). Performing celebration rituals during the dating episode of the marriage life script appears to amplify dater's pre-existing feelings about their relationshipswhether positive or negativeand to spur thoughts about the state of the relationship and the future (Maniotes et al., 2020). For example, some writers of rejected proposals appeared to visualize their future and think that it "didn't feel right," (see Monk et al., 2020 for similar findings with broken engagements). ...
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This is a highly practical book which introduces the whole range of grounded theory approaches. Unlike most existing books in this area, which are written from a particular philosophical standpoint, this text provides a comprehensive description of the strategies and techniques employed in this methodology. Birks and Mills accessible and highly-readable text is driven by practical case examples throughout to help the reader get to grips with the process of doing grounded theory analysis for themselves. The book deploys a variety of educational activities to guide readers through both the principles and the application of grounded theory, making this an ideal starter text for those new to the approach. This is an ideal first introduction to grounded theory for any student or researcher looking to use grounded theory approaches in their analysis for the first time.
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Article
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Article
Investigated the development of impressions of real people in a class of 7 college students (aged 20–27 yrs) who wrote open-ended descriptions of one another each week for 2 wks and completed a series of reaction-time (RT) trait judgments. Data were analyzed with respect to 4 issues: (a) The content of the written protocols was dominated by trait attributes and behaviors. Over time, the use of trait information increased and behaviors decreased, suggesting that the impressions became more abstract with familiarity. (b) RT measures revealed faster responses to items previously used in the written protocols to describe a target and faster RTs with increasing frequency of use. (c) Data supported a passive primacy effect in which information that appeared in Ss' first descriptions was more likely to be repeated later. This was a function of the majority of unique attributes ever used to describe a target appearing in the initial description. (d) Analysis of overlap in the content of the descriptions as a function of the judge and target revealed that when only the dimension of overlap was considered (e.g., intelligence), overlap owing to the judge writing the description was greatest. When the valence on the dimension was considered (e.g., intelligent vs stupid), overlap attributable to the target being described was greatest. It is argued that the development of an impression is analogous to building a mental model of a target. This model guides judgments and attributions with regard to the target and enables predictions and expectations of future behavior. (32 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This paper provides a theoretical perspective for dealing with the initial entry stage of interpersonal interaction. The seven axioms and 21 theorems presented suggest a set of research priorities for studying the development of interpersonal relationships. The paper concludes with a discussion of some of the problems to be considered if the theory is to be extended beyond the initial stages of interaction.
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This study examined the association between self-reports of family rituals and relationship attachment, relationship quality, and closeness in 150 married couples in Portugal. Using structural equation modeling to examine both within-individual and across-partner effects, the results were generally as predicted. First, lower levels of avoidant attachment were related to greater family investment in rituals. Second, greater family investment in rituals was associated with more positive relationship quality and closeness. Third, family investment in rituals partially mediated the link between avoidance and relationship quality and closeness. Fourth, the mediational models were significant for women but not for men. These results highlight the importance of links among family interactions, couple interactions, and individual differences.
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Using a nationally representative survey of married couples (N = 572) in The Netherlands, I analyze three characteristics of the contemporary western marriage ceremony: (a) whether couples give a wedding party, (b) whether couples have their marriage consecrated in church, and (c) whether couples go away on a honeymoon. Hypotheses are developed arguing that marriage ceremonies reinforce role transitions in two complementary ways: They reduce uncertainty about the new roles that people will occupy, and they provide approval for norm-guided behavior. Multivariate analyses support the hypotheses. Elaborate marriage ceremonies are more common among couples for whom the transition to marriage is more drastic, and traditional values in the social context of the couple go hand in hand with a more elaborate marriage ceremony.
Article
The purpose of this research investigation was to understand the essential features and structures of ritual through the perceptions of 36 women's stories of their families of origin and how this may have had impact on their current sense of affiliation and meaning. Various theoretical perspectives were reviewed with a phenomenological lens. The study utilized findings from previous research in the areas of ritual, gender, and meaning. Results indicated a central theme of high ritual perspective affecting high current affiliation perspective. Ritual was a female-centered experience in the families. An experience of affiliation in one's family of origin seemed to indicate the creation of an affiliation template that allows one to recognize and experience a sense of relatedness in current connections.
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Family rituals are considered part of a generational process that fosters a sense of identity for individual members and is reflective of the family's shared belief system. The symbolic significance attached to family rituals is considered central to the force of family rituals. Three questions were addressed in the study: (1) Are the dimensions of family rituals viewed similarly across generations?; (2) Is level of ritualization related to adolescent identity?; (3) If there is disagreement about the relative level of ritualization in a family, is there a negative relation to adolescent identity? A total of 77 families with an adolescent member completed the Family Ritual Questionnaire, and the adolescents completed a measure of self-esteem. Results of a factor analysis demonstrated shared representation of family rituals across two generations, with one factor loading on the symbolic qualities of family rituals and the second factor loading on the routine aspects of family rituals. Positive relations were found between adolescent identity and the family's report of symbolic significance and affect associated with family rituals. A negative relation was found between mother-adolescent disagreement about family rituals and adolescent feelings of belonging. Distinguishing between meaning and routine aspects of family rituals is discussed as well as clinical implications.
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Family rituals, consisting of celebrations, traditions, and patterned family interactions, are defined and illustrated in this paper. The power of ritual practice in families is explained by three underlying processes — transformation, communication, and stabilization — concepts whose roots lie in anthropology and ethology. We propose that all families struggle with finding a suitable role for rituals in their collective lives but their actual achievement varies greatly. Commitment to ritual and adaptability of ritual practice throughout the family life cycle are important considerations. The utility of these concepts in the assessment and treatment of families is discussed.
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Christmas forces interfaith couples to address questions concerning holiday observances. The purpose of this investigation was to explore the experience of the "December dilemma," that is, the experience of Christmas and Hanukah among couples in which one partner is Jewish. A qualitative design based on the continuous comparison method of Grounded Theory analysis was used. Participants were solicited through interfaith couples' programs, referral, and snowballing. Unstructured interactive interviews of 22 couples were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed. The categories generated were: Ghosts of Christmas and Hanukah Past, Coming Together, and Holiday Observances as a Couple. The basic problem facing these couples was how to bridge religious backgrounds with differing holiday traditions in a way that integrated respect for each partner's needs, heritage, and identity. The basic social process of negotiating "couplehood," that is, moving from individuality to partnership emerged when mutual agreement could be reached to solve problems about how to celebrate the December holidays. The data indicated that exploration of the ways these couples managed the dilemmas created by the December holidays provided a window to how they negotiated other challenges in their relationships.
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Survey data collected from 400 non-metropolitan gay men and lesbians were used to examine what factors lead them to attend a family-of-origin ritual and affect their sense of belonging during the event. The present study was inspired by qualitative findings regarding the production of outsider status during rituals. Attendance and belonging were both predicted by type of ritual and the quality of relationships with families of origin. Also, partners were more likely to be invited when the couple relationship was more visible. Residential community climate, age, income, and gender were not significant. The family membership complexities of gay and lesbian people are discussed, and a more nuanced understanding of membership during ritual is encouraged.
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Immigrant family processes
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Commitment among unmarried emerging adults: Meaning, expectations, and formation of relationships
  • V Konstam
  • T Curran
  • S Celen-Demirtas
  • S Karwin
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  • B Andrews
  • R Duffy
Information seeking beyond initial interaction: Negotiating relational uncertainty within close relationships
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