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Presentation on theme: "MARRIAGES, INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS & SOCIETY Unit 3 – Chapter 6."— Presentation transcript:


2 The Purpose of Marriage Functionalists: Explain marriage as the central social grouping to meet the basic needs in all societies “Norm” of society Many individuals feel that getting married gives them adult status within their society and family

3 Love & Marriage Social Exchange Theorists: Explain that being married will be better than being single (benefits vs. costs) The contemporary ideal in most cultures suggests that marriage is a happy state in which one can love and be loved Canadians said what they liked most about marriage was companionship, including love and support and the stability of the relationship

4 Marriage & Identity Symbolic Interactionism When people marry they acquire the status of husband, wife, spouse or life partner Marriage changes how other people see them, but it also changes how individuals see themselves Also perception that marriage is the “right” and acceptable choice to make

5 “Two heads are better than one!” Systems Idea that groups are better than individuals Marriages need to continue in order to carry on family system

6 Conflict Based on power dynamic Couples have more access to supports (money and social status) Power dynamic between couple has typically been that “man wears the pants” … changing!

7 The Purpose of Marriage In the past, marriage provided legitimate access to sexual partners and ensured the bearing and raising of children Now, 90% of Canadians accept adults having premarital sex but expect to marry when they want to have children Marriage also allows individuals to share resources to improve their standard of living

8 A Legal Point of View 3 Models of Marriage in Western Society: (Justice Blair – Court of Appeal for Ontario) 1)The historical classical model emphasizes the complementary biological and social roles of men and women and views marriage as the ideal situation for raising children 2)The choice model views marriage as a private agreement between individuals, with an emphasis on self-expression of sexuality 3)The commitment model views marriage as a committed, intimate relationship based on emotional support. Although it is founded on individual choice, it focuses on connection within the community.

9 A Legal Point of View Canada currently follows the commitment model which assumes: a)emotional and financial interdependence b)obligations of mutual support c)shared social activities d)marriage is more important for raising children than for producing them

10 Marriage & Identity The commitment model is based on shared lifestyle In the past, if men or women wanted to improve their social status, they would marry someone of higher status Today, individuals who want to improve their quality of life will choose a partner who has similar goals and financial means, they will strive together to develop a higher status

11 The Timing of Marriage The timing of significant developments in life is determined by a culture’s social clock and by an individual’s readiness to make the change Canadians believe the best age to marry is 26.3 for men and 24.9 for women (2004)

12 The Timing of Marriage the average age of first-time brides was 28.5 years and for grooms was 30.5 years (2004) many Canadians cohabit before they marry, but it is not clear whether cohabitation is a cause or an effect of delayed marriage emerging adults are delaying marriage, but they are also delaying cohabitation

13 The Timing of Marriage Marriage is no longer the significant rite of passage into adulthood that it once was Several adjustments in the social clock accommodate these changes – post-secondary education – finding a job in the chosen career – employment security – finances – readiness to have a child

14 The Economics of Marriage Marriage has always been an economic union The economic benefit is achieved by sharing resources as well as the labour Marriages are no longer essential for economic survival for women who are employed and self-supporting Women who are educated and earning comparable incomes to their spouse are less likely to accept traditional marriage roles

15 The Economics of Marriage By law, when a couple separates, all assets are communally owned, regardless of individual income Spouses have a responsibility to share their income for mutual support Couples who choose to marry or to cohabit for 3 years in Ontario, assume this unwritten contract under Canadian law

16 Cohabitation Most common choice of Canadians for their first conjugal relationship (a relationship based on a sexual union) Also called a common-law relationship – these relationships are not governed by written law but by legal and social customs Although cohabitation begins less formally than marriage, spouses are still subject to some legal obligations and they are more likely to separate than if they were married

17 Cohabitation Fewer emerging adults are married, but the decline is almost offset by the greater number of individuals who are cohabiting with a partner Between 2001 – 2006, the number of families with cohabiting adults increased by 18.5%, while families with married adults increased by only 3.5%, and single-parent families by 7.8%

18 Cohabitation Most people assume that cohabitation means living together before marriage, it is a prelude to marriage, not an alternative The high divorce rate makes some people feel a need to test their relationship before making a firm commitment Although cohabitation is perceived to be insurance for a lasting marriage, it is not effective

19 Cohabitation Fewer cohabiting couples marry than in the past Common-law couples are more likely to separate than married couples Couples who marry after cohabiting are twice as likely to get divorced Why?

20 Cohabitation People who cohabit might: be less selective about their partner because they feel the relationship is less durable not make the commitment to the relationship by pooling resources or developing problem- solving strategies not be sexually exclusive

21 Cohabitation Perhaps living together without a commitment changes people’s idea of marriage and family and reduces the importance of commitment so they’re more likely to separate when problems arise Perhaps the problems that prevented marriage in the first place might continue to cause difficulties after the marriage

22 Same-Sex Couples Same-sex relationships have always existed, since the Civil Marriage Act was passed in 2005, same-sex marriage has been permitted in Canada In Canada, individuals choose to marry or cohabit based on the romantic attraction of partners, not on the traditional responsibilities that are defined in the law or by religious beliefs

23 Same-Sex Couples 61% of Canadians feel that same-sex couples should continue to have the right to marry (2009) marriage provides the same protection to partners and their children in gay and lesbian families that it provides to heterosexual couples


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