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On Becoming Husbands/Wives—Mothers/Fathers

by
Judith L. DiGrazia


Contents of Curriculum Unit 82.06.05:

To Guide Entry


My decision to construct a unit dealing with the subject of marital roles stems from a growing concern that young people are entering into marriage and parenthood ill prepared to make the kinds of adjustments that are necessary to assure stable and harmonious relationships.

I believe that, to a large degree, this is happening because of lack of time devoted to exploring these roles with our young people. No one takes the time to talk to them about their concerns regarding marriage and family relationships. Everyone is too busy; in school we’re trying to remediate and at home everyone is involved in their own interests.

The standard surrogate companion today is the media. From the time they are toddlers, children are channeled towards the media. This gives mothers a chance to have some time for themselves. As adolescence, they watch television and listen to music. They don’t even have to go out to the movies any longer, cable television brings movies into the home.

The messages our children are receiving however are distorted. Songs tell of extremes of love, movies portray violence and sex while television shows characterize families fighting nicely, sticking together and working things out. We, as adults, know that life is not being accurately portrayed in the media but many young people don’t. After overhearing an argument or sensing tension in their homes young people may spend time comparing their families and relationships to the media image. They wonder why the real relationships fall short. Parents may be unwilling or unable to remedy this problem by opening up communication with children.

Since problems are not often discussed, problem solving techniques are not a normal part of their learned responses. Often people who are unhappy or experiencing problems feel they alone are being singled out and seek to escape rather than solve their problems. This lack of adequate information about marriage is an age old quandary which I believe our generation has attempted to remedy through sex education. While this is a vital issue, in itself it does not confront the cause of the problem: marital expectations.

Each individual brings a personality and a complex set of ideas or expectations into a marriage. If the ideals are too rigid or the expectations too unrealistic, the marriage will certainly begin to be an unhappy experience. The pressures will begin to feel overwhelming, the little annoyances will become magnified, resentments and misunderstandings will compound, dreams will vanish and, more often than not, a dissolution will be sought.

With this in mind, I decided to focus my energies on writing a “marriage preparation” course of study. While it is true that marriage is not for everyone nor chosen by everyone, it is a relationship which more people than not will enter into at least once during the course of their lives.

Thus my purpose in writing this unit will be to explore and recognize the fantasy based illusions with respect to becoming husbands/ wives—mothers/fathers and through this recognition, work towards developing better communication techniques. My belief is that this process will enable young people to develop more realistic expectations for each other and of themselves. By being better informed, they will be better equipped to solve problems and to seek solutions. While this doesn’t pretend to be a panacea for saving marriages, it seems reasonable to expect that it may lend itself to improving the quality of some marriages.

Part One: On Love

One of the most basic questions to be explored is: “What is love?” Writing on this subject in 1902 Henry Finck observed:

Love is such a tissue of paradoxes, and exists in such an endless variety of forms and shades that you may say almost anything about it that you please, and it is likely to be correct.1

From the outpouring on this subject over the years it seems that people have taken Finck at his word. According to Walster and Walster our notions about the nature of love are confused because they are derived from what is expected by our culture, observed in the family, and experienced in our own lives. They state:

In most cultures it is simply taken for granted that sooner or later, everyone falls in love. We are obedient; we do . . . By their late teens 97% of American men and women have fallen in love . . . often more than once. Not only does our culture tell us that love exists, it also gives us a rough idea as to when its appropriate to feel love and when it isn’t. From “Snow White,” “Cinderella,” and “The Princess and the Frog,” and later on from True Romance and Argosy—we learn that if we are just beautiful and sweet enough, or handsome and rugged enough, a handsome prince or beautiful princess will chance along and change our lives. From the Feminine Mystigue and The Male Machine and our consciousness-raising groups, we learn that maybe he or she won’t.

From the sunny lyrics of “Afternoon Delight” or “Almost Like Being in Love,” we learn that love is a positive experience—one associated with euphoria, sexual ecstasy, excitement, and joy. From the down-and-out lyrics of “Can’t Help Loving’ dat Man,” we learn that love is a painful experience—one inexorably linked to sexual deprivation, longing for appreciation, and the shame of rejection and neglect.

Movies, television, gothic novels, “As The World Turns,” “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” The Reader’s Digest, and Playboy all promote their particular notions of love. In general, our ideas as to what love is come from this jumble of impressions. No wonder, then, that we find love confusing!2

Focusing on the cultural aspect alone fails to give recognition to another very important source of information in our lives: family. “In childhood we painstakingly learn—either by observation or by adult direction—what emotions are appropriate in which situations. We learn when to feel joyful or sad, fearful or secure, excited or bored. The child’s world is an emotionally confusing one.”3 Since the most dominant figure in most children’s lives is their mother, it is usually she who sorts out and instructs the child as to what he is feeling. While she does this automatically and often without giving it a second thought, she would not be as comfortable trying to explain the nature of love to her children. In that respect not much has changed over the years; parents are still hoping that their children will figure these things out in time. Many of them don’t feel comfortable with the subject of love and sex themselves yet object strongly to having “outsiders” i.e. the schools, assume what they feel is the role of the family.

So we pick up our families’ ideas about the nature of love and sex almost by osmosis. We quietly observe what our parents say and what they do . . . We watch our parents kiss, hug, and touch—or fail to touch—one another. Most of these ideas we can’t even put into words. They come from the shadowy world of childhood—where fantasy is mixed with fact, where events are only dimly perceived, where everything is terribly confusing, and where there’s no way to check on our perceptions by asking. Our early ideas may be hazy and confused, but they’re etched deeply into our minds. Thus, throughout our lives, they have a profound impact on our notions about love.4

Buoyed or weighted down by all these things, we enter that most tumultuous time of life: adolescence. At this stage in life, love becomes a need that must be answered. One sociologist who interviewed more than a thousand men and women, ranging in age from eighteen to twenty-four found that while they had actually started dating at age thirteen, they did not fall in love with someone until they were about seventeen. He found also that the vast majority felt had they fallen in love with a person only once but had fallen in love with love more often and at a younger age.5

Although our actual experience with love may not be as extensive as “pajama parties” or “locker room” conversations would have us believe, the experiences we do have greatly influence our ideas concerning love. They also reinforce the stereotype images we have of what our roles should be in order to be successful in love relationships. Most people would agree either secretly or openly that:

women are more romantic than men,
men are the stronger sex and women the weaker,—women are expected to flirt yet play “hard to get” while also somehow retaining the image of a “nice, respectable girl,”
men are expected to “love ’em and leave ’em”, be sexually experienced and marry a “nice girl,”
men are less emotional and more logical than women about relationships.
How true are these assumptions? It really depends on who’s research you are exposed to. There is much research to support the traditional view that women are the truer romantics. In 1958 however, sociologist Charles Hobart set out to determine whether men or women had the most romantic view of human encounters. He developed a “Romanticism Scale.” After trying it out on 923 men and women; he found that men had a considerably more romantic view of male-female relationships than did women.6 Further research by scientists and sex researchers has shown that men fall in love sooner than women and find it harder to carry on if the relationship does not work out.

However, Simone de Beauvoir observed: “The word love has by no means the same sense for both sexes, and this is one cause of the serious misunderstandings which divide them.”7 There is a great deal of research to support her view as well. How then can we find the answer? We can’t, there is no simple answer. There is, though, an obligation on us, not just as educators but as adults who will influence generations to follow, to become better acquainted with the research. As T. George Harris observed:

. . . now, for the first time, we have research on our intimate bonds—not just the usual opinions, often contradictory, that all sound equally true. We know now that many of the things we believe are not so, while others stand the rigorous test of scientific experiment. A small band of first rate psychologists in several major universities have, over the last eight years built the first solid body of research on love.8

For many people love is a painful experience, time and time again. They seem never to have successful relationships, and worse, they seem never to realize why not. That this problem exists emphasizes the need for people to know themselves better. I believe you can’t have a successful relationship with someone else if you don’t have one with yourself. It’s important to explore with young people the value systems that everyone has, but which some feel must be suppressed so that they will be popular or accepted. Priorities and goals should be set not in terms of what will make you happy today but perhaps in five or ten years. A discussion of differences in what is important to people at different ages throughout life opens a wide perspective against which such topics as passionate and compassionate love, infatuation, destructive love and long lasting love can be discussed. There is no recipe for successful relationships but if people seek and enter relationships with people of comparable beliefs (not necessarily religious) and are honest in what they need and can give, the prospect for success becomes more favorable. By helping students understand that they are capable of shaping their relationships and further refining those relationships as they get older, we help them to realize that they do have choices and these choices count. This realization may be frightening at first but it also gives them the message that they can be themselves. By being in harmony with their own feelings they will find the quality of their human encounters changes for the better.

This is the cornerstone for the entire unit; it is essential to be prepared to spend a great deal of time on this, for as a leading source of advice to the lovelorn recently said in her nationally syndicated column:

If you have love in your life, it can make up for a great many things you lack. If you don’t have it, no matter what else there is, it’s not enough.9

Part Two: The Marriage Commitment

No matter how or where one looks for the future of marriage, or what one looks for, one fundamental fact underlies the conception of marriage itself. Some kind of commitment must be involved. Without such commitment a marriage may hardly be said to exist at all, even in the most avant-garde patterns. The form of the commitment is less important than the emotional contents it underlines. It may be a written contract or simply vows and promises made before witnesses or even simply an “understanding” or consensual arrangement. Merely fly-by-night and touch-and-go relationships do not qualify.10

It is essential then to be certain each student has a firm grasp on what is meant by the word commitment and the commitment itself. Again my belief is that given a clear understanding of the implications of the promises that both parties think they are making and receiving affords a greater chance for having one’s expectations met.

The initial question then is not what your perception of the commitment is, but whether your perception is realistic. A commitment is best defined as a pledge or promise given in trust. Generally these can be as formal as wedding vows or as informal as spoken consensual agreement. That each person expects the other to honor the promise is something to emphasize with the students. The possible legal implications of the promise should not be their reason for upholding it. They should not enter into the relationship without clarifying basic issues.

While it is naive to think every detail can be spelled out before a marriage, certainly some can and should be. Because each person perceives the marriage in his/her own way problems can readily arise. Females entering this relationship should be aware that society, religious and legal authorities have invested all the authority in a marriage on the husband. The male has been conditioned to expect that he will provide and his wife will take care of his needs. He is the authority in important questions. He will make the decisions; his wife is subject to him and dependent upon him.

Today that traditional view of marriage is being questioned by many people. More couples are striving for an egalitarian relationship where joint decisions are made and equal status is given to the wife. Some couples are also “reversing roles;” the husband is assuming the domestic chores while the wife is in the business world. In some relationships both couples have outside careers and share domestic chores. The idea of “women’s work”’ and “men’s work”’ is fading slowly into the past. “‘Open” marriages where the notion of sexual fidelity has been cast out, also are part of today’s marriage relationships. Mixed marriages, either racial or religious, also are more common.

Students should be aware of the many possibilities that exist. Knowing how your perspective partner feels on issues such as decision making, authority, household work, sex, children, fidelity and career changes can eliminate a lot of bitterness and disappointment later on. Fostering good communication in a relationship is the best way to help students handle their responsibilities better. Rather than fearing the implications of a commitment, they will realize they are capable of making promises that allow them to maintain their identities yet blend their feelings for each other.

Discussions in class about various hypothetical marriage relationships will help the students clarify their expectations. During this process fantasies about married life will readily surface and can be dealt with. Additionally, ethnic and religious traditions can be shared and discussed as they become pertinent.

The goal in exploring marriage expectations with students is to help to expand their awareness of the choices they have open to them and to find the ones that will give them the greatest chance for happiness. “‘As in the case of the fellow who bought a copy of the classic David Harum thinking the title was David’s Harem, the problem is not the nature of what you wind up with, but its failure to be anything at all like you anticipated.”’11

Part Three: The Problems With Marriage

It should come as no surprise that one of the most basic causes of disharmony in a marriage begins with a “blessed event.” Children have a tremendous impact on a couple. They open up a whole new area of disagreement in the form of how they shall be raised and disciplined. Who shall be responsible for their care? What happens when they get sick, need clothes, toys, braces, or any number of other things children need. What about the demands they make on your time to say nothing of privacy. How many do you want and of what sex?

These very real issues quickly overshadow the dream of the perfect family if the “husband/wife” is not emotionally ready to become the “‘parents.” Children can be exhausting to take care of especially during the first year when they are almost completely dependent on someone to provide for their needs.

Arguments and resentment can replace any illusions of all the fun children would bring. Some men flee from the added responsibility and take refuge in their work. If anyone is expected to give up their job it’s the woman. Historically it is she who assumes the responsibility for child care. While some women are quite happy to do this, others feel stifled by staying home and giving up their careers. The issue of choices once again becomes important here. The traditional scheme of things has automatically denied males a chance at parenting. While some men have been glad, others would welcome an opportunity to share in the role of parenthood; and they’re good at it proving that neither sex has the sole instinct for parenting. Sharing responsibilities can eliminate a lot of tension in the new family. It also allows both people to experience the wonder of child rearing. This is the time when role sharing becomes a challenge since it also involves sharing the child-care and child rearing function as well as the household chores. It can be a time of great growth for the marriage as the two people find that by emphasizing their strengths and accepting their weaknesses they can bridge the rough times they will experience periodically on becoming parents.

Sex can often become a problem in marriage if either or both partners have a difficult time expressing their feelings about it or if it’s used as a weapon in disagreements. Since people are so vulnerable during their lovemaking, they are highly sensitive about their ability to satisfy their partner. Helping students realize the importance of being aware of their own as well as their partner’s needs will help make their sex lives more enjoyable. Consideration and understanding are two key words here; they can play an important part in answering the questions, how often should one expect to make love? What options are acceptable if you and your spouse have different sexual needs? How do you feel about martial fidelity? What if your partner is unable to have sex? Who’s responsible for birth control if it is to be used? What are the consequences of using sex as a weapon either by withholding it, making unfair references to your partner’s abilities or demanding it when your partner is angry, uninterested or unwilling? During adolescence it may be difficult for students to believe that it is a bad idea to marry someone because you’re sexually attracted. At a time in life when sexual urges are at such a high it’s hard to relate to a time when they aren’t. Yet all of these things can create problems in marriage. There are many myths that surround sex and are accepted by adolescence rather than risking the embarrassment of letting people know that they don’t know. By opening up this provocative area to discussion and debate students will have the opportunity to learn without having to admit they didn’t know. Furthermore they can through role playing work out their feelings and explore their fantasies.

Money, or often the lack of it is a cause of great marital unrest. This is another area where young people may lack realistic expectations. How often do young girls marry to escape the drudgery of life at home? How many couples have no experience in surviving on their own or worse, no marketable skills to begin the task? Many women feel guilty admitting money is important to them so they don’t but they do instead harbor resentment when they find their partner isn’t the provider they thought he was going to be. Money as a cause of unhappiness is a theme with endless variations. Often young people refuse to accept the consequences that too little or too much money can have. They believe “‘love conquers all”—this is a fantasy! A discussion of money and its implications must also touch upon budgeting, earning, decisions on spending and what constitutes wasting.

Expanding the twosome to allow for healthy relationships with family and friends can create problems also. Often one partner may find this threatening while the other finds the relationship without these “outsiders”’ stiffling. In fact it is not healthy to be totally dependent on one’s partner,rather it is essential to allow an inter-dependence to grow. The path to such a relationship demands excellent communication skills. In emphasizing this with students it’s essential to work on listening as well as verbalizing. One method may be to list the extremes of having relationships with family and friends. For example, living with one’s in-laws or going out every Friday and Saturday night to singles bars with your old single friends instead of your partner. It takes a lot of trust, self confidence, maturity and work to have a healthy relationship. A common mistaken belief is that once two people marry they can stop “trying” and somehow the marriage will work by itself. Marriage is the part of a relationship with another that demands the greatest effort but offers great rewards as well. The strategy in identifying problems and their implications is to develop an awareness of problems that may occur after love has gotten her sight back. I’ve mentioned several common problems and related issues; some others of no less importance are marital violence, drug and alcohol abuse, child abuse, catastrophic illness, fights over trivia, career changes, gambling and lack of interest in the marriage. Certainly some will be more important in your opinion than others—all or as many as you can think of will be important for students to be exposed to.

Part Four: Suggested “Home”’ Remedies

As important as it is to develop an awareness of the difficulties one may encounter in marriage, it is at least as important to recognize that, given the proper environment, many of the difficulties can be worked out. Many couples mistakenly believe a marriage without conflict is a solid one. Not so! Research by Dr. George A. Bach indicates “‘Verbal conflict is not only acceptable, especially between husbands and wives; it is constructive and highly desirable.”’12 Learning to fight properly makes a significant difference in a couple’s ability to weather life’s storms. To oversimplify, people who subscribe to Bach’s theory are advocating fairness and flexibility. This probably cannot be accomplished entirely on one’s own, however, it involves self-awareness as well as developing skills for decoding, and dealing with the messages your partner is transmitting, during a time of high frustration and irritability. It necessitates remaining rational, and sometimes having to “give in”, and it doesn’t work for everyone. Even if you feel you are a good communicator, yet, you find disagreements exasperating, Bach’s work in both the Intimate Enemy and Creative Aggression can be very enlightening.

These techniques are an expansion of the very basic art of talking and listening to each other. Sometimes these two simple things are overlooked by people, especially if they are feeling angry or hurt. These are skills which need to be continually refined as our network of human relationships expands. They required a willingness to honestly look at one’s self and they offer a long term benefit in the form of better interpersonal relationships.

As people attempt to make the transition to married life certain demands will be made on each of them to make adjustments in their thinking or living habits. These may cover a wide range but the effect they have on you and the way you act out that effect will determine whether or not you can address your problems without outside help. Marriage is an adjustment which must be made by both partners. I am not advocating seeking counseling because one partner wishes to change the other as in the Pygmalion effect. Further, I am not advocating seeking help from a psychiatrist, because I agree with Dr. Dorothy Tennov that, very often the psychiatrist has no real plan for alleviating problems other than encouraging the couple to go through years of monitored self searching. I am very much in favor of good individual therapy with a psychologist or MSW who practices a combination of transactional analysis, rational emotive and cognitive behavioristic therapy. This means they work on helping a person to look at their behavior and work with them on changing their perspective in various situations. These techniques are also used in couple and group therapy. They are very effective, provide feedback and a realization that the couple has choices in a situation. Additionally it should be noted that these techniques have been successful in family and child counseling.

What if one or both people are unwilling or unable to change? The point beyond which even the most determined to succeed in marriage cannot venture is an individual matter. That marriage should not be emotionally disastrous or continued at great personal cost should go without saying. It is far better to risk being alone or beginning again than to accept a sick or destructive marriage. This is especially important when children are involved. It does not benefit them to grow up in a home situation where one parent is “beyond salvage.”

Just as other traditional marriage arrangements are changing so too are traditional divorce and custody resolutions. Courts are recognizing that neither parent is gifted automatically with good parenting instincts. This may alleviate some fears young men have about “‘losing everything”’ if their marriage does not work out. In the State of Connecticut there is a ninety day “‘cooling off”’ period between the time papers are filed and the date of dissolution. This time often allows couples to separate and alleviate the aggravating situation by putting some space in it. For some couples the realization that without a drastic change their marriage will really end is the catalyst that they need to seek help. For some, help will not save the marriage and divorce or legal separation is the only solution.

Conclusion

Throughout this unit it has been my goal to provide a framework from which to work with students on developing realistic expectations for themselves and each other prior to entering into marriage. My strategy has been to present issues and situations and allow them to explore their feelings and beliefs. By using the teacher as a resource in this process, solid information and different perspectives can be presented while myths and fantasies can be filtered out. Marriage has always been considered “a big step”’ and rightly so. It is not something that should be viewed lightly but neither does it have to elicit fear. My premise in undertaking this unit is that the more information and exposure we can give to our students regarding the marriage relationship, the less energy they will have to waste on worrying about the unknown or dreaming about the unobtainable and the more they will have to put towards bringing about a harmonious relationship.

Lesson Plan 1

Purposes  To develop a basis for small group discussion before the unit is taught. To introduce the unit by getting the students involved immediately in its contents.

Objective  By answering the items in the questionnaire students will express their feelings and attitudes about marriage.

Strategy  Make enough copies of the questionnaire so that every student can have one. Go over the directions until everyone is certain of what they are to do. Have the students answer each item with no explanation from you. Break up into small groups and discuss their responses. Have someone within each group lead the discussion and someone else record. Have each group attempt to come to a consensus on each section of the questionnaire. Record the feelings of each group on the board. Discuss their feelings and attitudes as an introduction to the unit. (Why do they feel the way they do? is there any possibility that they would change their opinions if _____.)
Save these results until the unit has been completed and repeat the exercise to see if anyone’s opinions have changed.

Lesson Plan I

Questionnaire:

Part One: Below are some reasons some people might have for getting married. If you think the statement is a good reason for getting married write Yes; if you think it would be a bad reason for getting married write No.

___ 1. The only boy/girl you’ve ever gone out with.
___ 2. All the girls/guys think she/he is beautiful/handsome.
___ 3. Strong sexual attraction to each other.
___ 4. First person you ever had sex with.
___ 5. You want to get away from your parents.
___ 6. You both respect each other.
___ 7. You/she are/is pregnant and scared.
___ 8. You have always been lonely.
___ 9. You have a lot of the same goals in life.
___ 10. You have a way to support yourselves financially.
___ 11. You are getting into your twenties and want companionship.
___ 12. You hate cleaning up after yourself.
___ 13. You want someone strong to take care of you.
___ 14. You don’t want to have to work anymore.
___ 15. You love each other.
Part Two: Next to each item below, write W.if you feel it’s women’s work, M. if you think it’s men’s work or B. if it can be done by both.

___ 1. Dusting/vacuuming
___ 2. Grocery shopping
___ 3. Laundry
___ 4. Walking/feeding dog
___ 5. Feeding the cat
___ 6. Changing the baby
___ 7. Disciplining the kids
___ 8. Making the bed/picking up clothes
___ 9. Cooking
___ 10. Ironing clothes
___ 11. Mowing lawn
___ 12. Making social plans
___ 13. Taking out the garbage
Part Three: “‘Just Suppose”’

Below are 2 situations. After reading each of them tell what you would do.

A. Both of you work but in your house your wife usually comes home and makes dinner while you take a shower and watch T.V. Tonight she comes home later than usual. She looks tired and says she has had a rough day. What would you do?
1. Tell her you’ll cook tonite after you’ve relaxed for awhile.
2. Tell her your day was rough too and then go watch T.V.
3. Take her out to dinner.
4. Tell her to relax before she starts dinner.
B. You have just come home from the hospital with your first baby. You still don’t feel too strong and you’re very tired. The baby has gotten up more often tonight for some reason. It’s 3:30 a.m., you’re just fallen asleep when the baby starts crying again. Do you
1. Wake your husband and demand that he take care of the baby this time.
2. Ask your husband to take a turn with the baby.
3. Ignore the baby.
4. Punish the baby.
5. Go in and take care of the baby.

Lesson Plan II

Purpose  To elicit students notions about what love is and to help them recognize and develop realistic expectations.

Objective  Given a set of open-ended phrases, “Love is . . .”, students will sort them into “fact or fiction” based on whether they feel it’s reasonable to expect that these things will happen. After discussing their decisions they will demonstrate a deeper understanding of realistic expectations by resorting the “Love is . . .” statements into more specific categories.

Strategy  Begin by getting students to realize through discussion, that there are many kinds of love but that in this lesson we will focus on the romantic aspect of love. It may also be necessary to explain the difference between something that would be nice if it were possible (fantasy) and something that is reasonable to expect as part of a relationship. For this lesson, you may want to use the nationally syndicated cartoon “Love is . . .” which you can make a collection of or have the students collect over a period of time. If you don’t wish to use the cartoon, you may substitute something similar or make up your own “Love is . . .” statements. In this lesson the students’ task should be to discuss and differentiate materials that are already prepared. You may wish to develop a different lesson having them make their own “Love is . . .” statements to explore their ideas. Once you have the cartoons or statements, ask the students initially to sort them into two categories “fact” or “fiction.” When they have finished, talk about their reasons for placing them in those categories. This discussion should bring out a lot of facts and opinions held by the students. When the discussion has run a reasonable course ask the students to re-evaluate the statements according to the following criteria: Reasonable to expect on a constant basis, reasonable to expect more often than not, unreasonable to expect at all. Again this material can be saved for re-evaluation at the end of the unit to see if anyone’s opinions have changed.

Lesson Plan III

Purpose  To point out and categorize some common causes of disharmony in a marriage and teach students to be able to identify issues they feel would create problems.

Objective  Students will show that they can identify potential problems in a marriage by making a list of circumstances that they feel they could not live with, faults that would create arguments and little things that might be annoying.

Strategy  Begin by discussing faults, what they are, how they affect others, and that everyone has some. Differentiate between faults, habits, and character flaws. Develop some mutually acceptable definitions for them. Next have the students take out a sheet of paper and make a list of faults they have noticed about a parent, sibling, or close friend. The purpose of this is to motivate them to think of faults; since most people find it easier to criticize someone else, it’s a good place to begin. Talk about their list and categorize the faults according to whether they would be impossible to live with, could create problems, or are just annoying. Now have them turn the paper over and make a list of their own faults. You may want to make a list of examples to help then get started. Again a discussion should follow but perhaps only after collecting the papers so that no one is implicated. This time you could name the fault and again allow the class to categorize it. Afterwards go through the categories and ask the class to make a decision on whether it was possible to change any of the faults. Save the results for after you’ve worked on problem solving techniques with the class. See if they feel better equipped to change or solve any of their faults.

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Notes

1. H. T. Finck, Romantic Love and Personal Beauty: Their Development, Casual Relations, Historic and National Peculiarities (London: Macmillan, 1902), p. 1.
2. Reprinted by permission from: Elaine Walster and William G. Walster, A New Look At Love (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1978), pp. 40-41.
3. Ibid., p. 41.
4. Ibid., p. 45.
5. W. M. Kephart, “Some Correlates of Romantic Love,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 29 (1967), pp. 470-474.
6. C. W. Hobart, “The Incidence of Romanticism During Courtship,” Social Forces, 36 (University of North Carolina Press: 1958), p. 364.
7. Simone de Beauvoir, quoted in Walster and Walster, A New Look At Love, op. cit., p. 49.
8. T. George Harris, quoted in Walster and Walster, A New Look At Love, op. cit., Introduction.
9. Ann Landers, “The Ann Landers Column,” The Journal Courier, 1980.
10. Jessie Bernard, The Future of Marriage (New York: The World Publishing Company, 1972), p. 79.
11 Anthony Pietropinto, M.D. and Jacqueline Simenauer, Husbands and Wives (New York: Times Books, 1979), p. 34.
12 Dr. George A. Bach and Peter Wyden, The Intimate Enemy (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1969), p. 1.

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Teacher’s Bibliography

Bach, George R., Dr. and Goldberg, Herb, Dr.. Creative Aggression.

The Art of Assertive Living. New York: Doubleday and Company, 1974.

An excellent resource for learning how to assert yourself in situations from home to work and in between. It includes a guide to seeing the “nice guy” image for what it really is.

Bach, George R., Dr. and Wyden, Peter. The Intimate Enemy: “How to Fight fair in Love and Marriage. New York: Wm. Morrow, 1969

An excellent source of helpful hints for both the married and those contemplating it.

Bernard, Jessie. The Future of Marriage. New York: World Publishing Company, 1972.

An easy to read very informative book which begins with the notion that when we speak of marriage we must clarify whether we’re speaking of the husband’s marriage or the wife’s. From this refreshing viewpoint, it moves on to the future via the past and present.

Levine, James A. Who Will Raise The Children? New Options for Fathers (and Mothers). Philadelphia: Lippincott Publishing Company, 1976.

Presents a strong case for men and child care. Largely the out growth of his own experience with peoples’ reactions to his wanting to work with pre-schoolers, he challenges society’s assumption that men should be bread winners and women child nuturers.

Oakley, Ann. Woman’s Work. New York: Vintage Books, 1976.

Using the British woman as a model, Ms. Oakley draws parallels relevant to women everywhere. She makes no attempt to disguise the fact that her book is about women. Beginning with a look at what a housewife is, Oakley moves through the historic viewpoint, housewives today and two poignant myths.

Pietropinto, Anthony, M.D., and Simenauer, Jacqueline. Husbands and Wives. New York: Times Books, 1979.

These two authors share the results of a nationwide survey of close to 4000 married people between the ages of 18 and 65 who responded to both a questionnaire and answered several essay questions about their feelings, fantasies and relationships. The results are truly fascinating.

Steinfeld, George, Ph.D. Taret Systems. Jonesboro, Tennessee: Pilgrimage, Inc., 1980.

In this work Dr. Steinfeld presents his model for counseling which consists of a combination of varied approaches for modifying one’s perspective. This is a short but very informative work which can be very helpful to anyone.

Tennov, Dorothy, Ph.D. Love and Limerence. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1980.

Motivated by a discussion with several students after a lecture, Dr. Tennov decides to research the reasons so many people are incapacitated by love. She coins a word “limerence” to describe a destructive or harmful type of love and through anecdotes and questions and answers she presents her theory.

———. Psychotherapy: The Hazardous Cure. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1979.

In this scathing attack on the established order of things Dr. Tennov makes a case against going for psychotherapy and furthermore challenges the tradition of sending women in particular to the therapist’s couch.

Walster, Elaine, and Walster, William G. A New Look At Love. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1978.

The Walsters have written an easy to read, highly informative book that not only presents some research that may surprise you but do so in a style that combines humor with realism.

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Student’s Bibliography

Berne, Eric. Games People Play. New York: Grove Press, 1964.

Examines the various types of “games” people employ to achieve desired results.

Gibran, Kahil. The Prophet.

Using an almost poetic format, Gibran “speaks” on subjects such as love, marriage, children and many others of interest to people of all ages.

Sheehy, Gail. Passages. New York: Dutton, 1976.

Describing life as a series of passages from one station to the next, Ms. Sheehy makes it clear that everyone goes through changes in life.

Silverstein, Shel. The Giving Tree. New York: Harper and Row, 1964.

This is a beautiful story written on a child’s level but with a message that is ageless. If you’ve never read it, you owe it to yourself.

——— . The Missing Piece. New York: Harper and Row, 1976.

A beautiful story of a non descript thing that is missing a piece and so feels unhappy. Once again Silverstein wraps a timeless lesson in a child’s story.

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Contents of 1982 Volume VI | Directory of Volumes | Index | Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute

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