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Love relationships and gender differences over time Scicluna-Calleja, Alexandra 1992

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L O V E RELATIONSHIPS A N D G E N D E R DIFFERENCES O V E R TIME by A L E X A N D R A S C I C L U N A C A L L E J A B.Ed. (Hons.), University of Malta, 1982 M . A , Illlinois State University, 1986 A THESIS SUBMITTED I N PARTIAL F U L F I L L M E N T OF T H E REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF E D U C A T I O N i n THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES Department of Counselling Psychdogy We accept this thesis as conforming t o r e q u i r e d standard T H E UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A September, 1992 (c) Alexandra Scicluna Calleja, 1992 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives, it is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT Research shows that the initial honeymoon phase of a marriage dissolves after some time and differences between the couple begin to hamper the harmony in the relationship. One of these differences is that attributed to gender. This study attempts to study these phases of the relationship. It approaches this issue from an inductive standpoint to counterbalance the deductive quality that pervades most literature in this field. A mixed qualitative and quantitative design was selected in a multiple case study format. A n open style interview preceded and followed a Q-sorting exercise. Ten individuals (five couples) who have been married between five and ten years were studied. For several reasons, including the need to widen the cultural base of the research field, the study was conducted i n Malta, a Mediterranean culture. The information provided by each participant (called co-researcher here to indicate the empowerment accorded to them in the research), was organized by re-casting it into a narrative form. The accuracy of the narrative was additionally validated by the respective co-researcher and an independent reviewer. The purpose was to construct individual and common stories of the marriage f r o m the perspective of difference and harmony. Comparisons between individuals and gender revealed common factors, indicating the generic path of these relationships, and individual factors based on previous history, personality, gender and culture Individual life thanes, the dialectic pattern of relating, and phases i n the relationships were identified. Finally, the results were compared to previous research on love, relational development, gender differences, and attachment. The model of the dialectic was found to be a useful tool for understanding relationships and integrating research. Finally, the implications of this study on counselling, and possibilities for further research were discussed. TABLE OF œNTENTS A B S T R A C T i i T A B L E OF C O N T E N T S iv LIST OF TABLES xi LIST OF FIGURES x i i C H A P T E R I: I N T R O D U C T I O N 1 The Research Question 1 Rationale 4 / ^ r o a d i to the Research Question 9 Condusion 12 C H A P T E R II: REVIEW O F T H E LITERATURE 14 Defining Love 15 1. Components of love 16 2. Kinds of love 17 3. Behaviour assodated with love 18 Attadiment: The Underlying Ccmmon Base 18 The Ccmmon Course: Stage Theories 24 1. U - Curve th ecri es 25 2. Milestone theories 26 3. Theories of relational dynamics 31 Growth the Individual in the Relationship 34 The Diffa-ent Road: Genda" and Love Relationships 39 1. Differences in the conception of love 40 2. Differences in behavicr 42 3. Orientation to intimacy 45 4. Conclusion on diffaiences 47 Different Predispositions: A Psychodynamic Account of Genda-...48 Putting it all together 54 Summary 54 Identification of Significant Themes 55 The Maltese Context 59 C H A P T E R III: M E T H O D O L O G Y 69 Methodological Issues in the Study of Love Relationships ova-Time 69 Design 74 Co-researchers: 76 The Screening Process 79 The Primary Interview 81 The Q-sort 82 Topics: Key events of the relationship 83 The sampling area 83 Development of items 83 The Q-sorting exercise 86 Q-analysis. 88 The Elaborative Interview 89 Data Integration and Analysis 89 C H A P T E R IV: RESULTS CASE STUDIES 91 Couple I: James and Teresa 92 Case Study One: James 92 Principal component analysis 92 Personal narrative 94 Case Study T w a Teresa 110 Principal ccmpcnents analysis 110 Personal narrative. 113 Couple II: Marisa and Gecrge 133 Case Stu dy Three Mari sa 133 Principal components analysis 133 Personal narrative 135 Case Study Four: George 152 Principal components analysis. 152 Personal narrative 154 Coupl e II r. A n n a and Savi our 164 Case Study Five Anna 164 Principal components analysis 164 Personal narrative 167 Case Study Six: Saviour 181 Principal components analysis 181 Personal narrative. 184 Couple IV: Peter and Mary 197 Case Study Seven: Peter 197 Prindpal components analysis 197 Personal narrative 199 Case Study Eight: Mary 217 Prindpal components analysis 217 Personal narrative. 220 Couple V: Louisa and Joseph 238 Case Study Nine: Louisa 238 Prindpal components analysis 238 Personal narrative 241 Case Study Ten: Joseph 260 Prindpal components analysis 260 Personal narrative. 262 Review and Validation d the Narratives 280 Co-researcher Readions and Assessments 280 Independent Reviews 285 C H A P T E R V: T H E I N D I V I D U A L PERSPECTIVE: LIFE T H E M E S 290 Individual Pathways 292 James 293 Teresa 295 Marisa 296 George 298 Anna 299 Saviour 300 Peter 301 Mary 302 Louisa 303 Joseph 305 The Influence of Gender 306 Pathways 307 Perceived sex differences 310 Attitude towards sex differences 311 Cultural Influence 314 Conclusicn 317 C H A P T E R VI: T H E RELATIONSHIP D Y N A M I C 318 The Relationship Dalectic 320 James and Teresa 322 Marisa and George 323 Anna and Saviour 325 Peter and Mary 326 Louisa and Joseph 327 Conva-gence and Divergence 330 The wcrking tone erf the relatioiship 333 The challenge-habituation cycle 335 Responsive openness to one another 335 Perœption of meaning in the relationship 339 The Goal of the relationship 342 ConclusicTï 343 C H A P T E R VII: S E Q U E N C E ORDER IN T H E DIALECTIC 345 First Movonoi t : The Initial Encounter 346 Second Movement: Deepening the Qoseness 348 Third Movonai t : Formation 350 Fourth Ivtovonait: Unity and Rde Fulfillment 355 Fifth Movement: Post-Achievanent Choice 357 Conclusicn 360 C H A P T E R VIII: DISCUSSION A N D IMPLICATIONS 361 Limitations of the Study 362 Theoreti cal Impl i cati ons 365 The concq3tion of love 366 Relational development 367 Attachment theory 371 Gaider-in-relating 375 The nalect icas a Model for Growth and Development 379 Cultural Implications 381 Implications for Counselling Practice 384 Research Implications 387 Summary 388 REFERENCES 390 A P P E N D I X I: EXPERIENCED DIFFERENCES OVER TIME 403 A P P E N D I X II: INTERVIEW GUIDE 404 A P P E N D I X III: Q-SORT ITEMS 406 A P P E N D I X IV: E V E N T LISTS A N D Q-SORT EVENT L O A D I N G S FOR E A C H C O - R E S E A R C H E R 408 A P P E N D I X V: C O N S E N T F O R M 429 A P P E N D I X VI: LETTER OF INFORMATION. 430 UST OF TABLES Table 1: Events in Time Line for James 409 Table 2: Events in Time Line for Teresa 411 Table 3: Events in Time Line for Marisa 413 Table 4: Events in Time Line for George 415 Table 5: Events in Time Line for Anna 417 Table 6: Events in Time Line for Saviour 419 Table 7: Events in Time Line forPeter 421 Table 8: Events in Time Line for Mary 423 Table 9: Events in Time Line for Louisa 425 Table 10: Events in Time Line for Joseph 427 LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: Event Loadings for James 410 Figure 2: Event Loadings fcr Teresa 412 Figure 3: Event Loadings for Marisa 414 Figure 4: Event Loadings fcr George 416 Figure 5: Event Loadings for A n n a 418 Figure 6: Event Loadings for Saviour. 420 Figure 7: Event Loadings for Peter 422 Figure 8: Event Loadings fcr Mary. 424 Figure 9: Event Loadings fcr Louisa 428 Figure 10: Event Loadings iar Joseph 430 CHAPTERI INTRODUCTION The Reseavdi QuesUon Since marital relaticnships endure over time, they have a carea- or course erf life that can be described. For example^ one relatienship may involve a period of stormy encounters until eadi person adjusts to the other and a deeper attachment is forged. Another relatioiship might begin with ronantic idealism that is shattered by a serious crisis, leaving the couple detached yet still clinging together as a fatalistic view of life sets in. The aim erf this research is to describe marital relationships that last, from the pa-spective erf each partner. In descriUng relaticnships, there are two significant questions that must be addressed: H o w do love relationships vary ova- time? How is a relationship conceived of and experienced by men and wemen? Description offers two distinct advantages of importance, given the state erf current research. First, each descriptive account of a relatienship provides a concrete model erf relating. Through commonalities across accounts, a m o e gaieral m o d d of reJaticnship might be constructed. Second, current theories and research can be examined in the light erf oona-etei hdist ic models. For example, a developmental model of relationship should apply to a particular case by identifying outstanding themes as they vary over time. If it does not apply well, the model is limited. It might emphasize irrelevant themes, neglect themes, distort them, or cembine them incorrectly. Through examining theories by comparison to concrete, real-world models or descriptions, one is in a position to appredate their varying strengths and weaknesses, and to suggest avenues for improvement. The pursuit of this researdi angle is particularly significant because of several difficulties in theory and research on love, gender, and attachment. First, gender research and clinical evidence indicate that males and females differ in the way they ccncdve of and experience intimate relaticnships (Eichenbaum & Orbach, 1983; Gill igan, 1982; Hatfield & Rapson, 1987; Levinson, D., 1978; Levinson, R, 1984; Wil l i , 1982). These differences are not l imited to isolated attributes. The evidence is suffident to show that what is involved here are two opposite w o r l d views. The ful l extent of these w c r l d views is eloquently delineated by a therapist who states that: M y days are spent listening while people tell me their troubles, and as they all inevitably speak from time to time of love I have had much occasion to be astonished at the different meanings wi th which they endow the w c r d . Men and women often see it f rom bewilderingly different angles, each speaking of love with complete assurance; unaware that it means something else to their partners. (Castillejo, 1973, p . l l5 ) Our knowledge of these world views is not insubstantial by any means, but it is fragmentary. Our understanding of how what appear to be radically different orientations come to some sort d satisfadory resolution i n lasting relationships (eg., marriage) is, at hiest, only passing speculation. Secoid, contrary to what was expeded and to what gender research has pointed out, nagender differences have been found i n attachment style (Hazan & Shaver, 1987; Feeney and Ndler , 1990). In addition, although the attachment phenomaion has beai demonstrated in childhood and adulthood, the issue of continuity and constancy of attachment across time is one of the biggest problems plaguing this theory at present (Ijzendoorn & Tavecchio, 1987). Attachment theory, first posited by John Bowlhy (see Bowlby, 1982; 1988) and Mary Ainswo-th (1978) and applied to adulthood hy Kazan & Shaver (1987), has a sound research base and clearly delineated concepts. However, there are also areas which are in need of amplification and resolution. We know little about the develcpmoit of attachments i n adulthood, and we lack an adequate account of the variaticn of such an attadimait over time. Third, from the perspective of love theory, one finds that definiticns of love vary ccnsida-ahiy. Ccnsequently there is no stable co-e knowledge on w h i d i to base our research and unda-standing erf the subject. It seems that every love researcher has deduced his or her own unique definition of what ccnstitutes love (see Sta-nberg & Barnes, 1988, for seva-al definitions rf love), and proceeded to research the presence of the elements they have deduced to be the ccncomitants of love As a result there is little in the literature to show how the subjects of our investigations, ordinary men and wonen, conceive d love, and how this inta-acts with attachmait and gender. What little there is (eg. Hatkoff & Lasswell, 1979; Hendrick, Hendridc, Foote, & Slapion-Foote, 1984) is tinged w i t h the unidimensionality of static experimental studies and lacks the ccmplementary depth and richness of naturalistic observation and descripticn. Eadi area of research (gender difference, attachment thecry, and love research) offers valuable contributions to an understanding of lasting relationships, yet each presents lades and difficulties, making it clear that no approach can adequately describe a relationship at this time. Describing a relationship as it varies over time is deceptively simple. Most people can describe the way a relationship has changed and, with assistance, can offer a reascnabJy thorough account. Such descriptions provide a diallenging task for theory and point out difficulties of definition and explanation, of application to 'real' relationships as lived, as well as limitations. Fcr this reason, the research task of describing relationships offers promise i n enhancing definitions, clarifying theoretical issues, integrating s^arate areas d research, and extending much laboratory and survey work to naturalistic ccntexts. Rationne The matter of hew relationships endure with time is a tc^pic that merits investigation: "The most glaring gap in our knowledge lies...in relationship maintenance" (Byrne & Mumen, 1988, p293). The reasons for exploring gender differaices in relationships over time are both practical and theory based. First erf all there is mucin need for an integrative study. There has not been, to m y knowledge, any inductive, cxntext-based study considering gender differaices in love and attachment orver time. Most gender studies i n this area focus either on a coJlege student population, or a sample of couples wi th a varying age range. In either case, the emphasis has been on presenting a general picture over all ages. The problem with this method of investigation is that if there is variation in gender difference by age, this variation is clouded over and goes unnoticed. This, incidentally, may well be the reason w h y Hazan & Shaver's (1987) and Feeney & Nciler's (1990) studies have not turned u p a signific:ant gender difference i n attachment style both have either drawn samples of a wide age range or used university students.^ It is reasonable to assume that just as perceptions of gender identity and role change ofva- time (Sedney, 1985; Katz, 1986), so too do our perceptions of gender differences in love ^ NoUer's first study uses a sample of age ranging from 14-82, the second study makes use of undergraduate (mean age 18). Shaver & Kazan's first study was a newspaper questionnaire open to the general public of the region and the second drew on a university population (age range not given). and attachment, and the extent to w h i d i they affect our intimate relationships. Perhaps, i n certain stages of the relationship, differences are not much of a problem for some reascn, and in others they constitute a problem serious oiough to cause the relationship to flounder. A study combining gender, love and attachment over time can indicate how the three inta-relate. In particular, it can shed light on how attachmait, or love, is maintained and affected by gender, and how the salience of genda- variation fares with time and effort at resduticn. The second consideration pertains to the importance erf love relaticnships in today's lifestyles and their r d e in social health and stability. Scanzoni (1976) describes how, over the past century, the family function has been transformed from that d productivity to one d care giving and suppert. In a similar vein. Marris (1982) describes how the worlds d work and intimacy (the family) have been separated and consequently how "Family relationships, therefore, must be eva-ything that wcrking rdationships cannd be-spiritual, fergiving, warm, and above all, uncalcollating i n their commitment." (p. 187). The reduc:tierj of purposes for family (and by extrapolation, couple) cohesiveness has la id the b u r d a i d the survival d a couple (and family) most heavily on the inta-personal rdationship. (j3uples stay together because they care for each other; if they do not love each other, it would seem to them that there is no meaning in the relationship, and the w i l l to stay together is lost. Since the quality d lorve relationships has become so crucaal to the survival of the family unit, the necessity of understanding it more fully becemes urgent and even imperative. Unfcrtunately, we are finding exit that being in Icrve is n d aiough; success is also a matter d skill : "Satisfying reJatienships do n d simply happen; the atality to create and sustain them has to be learned" (Sellner & SeJlna", 1986, p . l ) . We need detailed descriptions of how relationships in natural ccntexts succeed in crda- to refine treatment methods, educational programmes, and skill development. We are still a long way from developing a dear integrated theory of mature, w e l l -adjusted, adult love that takes gender into account. The study of the topic through alternative perspedives and using different, novel, methodolc)gical routes could help to hasten and enridi our acquisition of an adequate thecry, and consequently help praditicners and educators improve skill levels in intimate relationships. Another justification has to do with the state orf gender research in psychology. The lita-ature in the field is replete with psychologies orf women, and psychologies of men, heightening the impression that the two are so radically different as to be irrecondlable. We have learned a lot about how gaiders differ, we have identified difference exhaustively, y d we know little or nothing about how the two adjust to each other and fundion in harmonious tandon within a healthy love relatioiship. The study cf gender rapprochement is espedally important in view of the fact that gender has been found to be centrally implicated i n couple conflid. Guthrie & Snyder (1988) describe how conflict tends to intensify gender stereotypes, while Gottman and Levensen (1988) provide evidence to demonstrate that there are "More pronounced sex differences in distressed marriages" (p. 187). The next step orf enquiry would be to study how gender diffa-ences are subjedively experiaiced and managed within a male-female relationship. This study takes a step beyond the identification of difference to the exploration of pathways of coming together, lending a more positive, and hopeful, note to present gender researdi. Again, such knowledge could be a valuable guide to therapists who are routinely faced with relationship problems based on misunderstanding betweai the sexes. Research clarifies these differences for practitioners, but has so far offered no empirical guidance i n resdving them. Therapeutic techniques are by definiticn artificial means of resolution and their success depends on how skilfully and judiciously they are used. Identification of natural roads to gender mutuality could provide an empirical base from which to sdect and evaluate tha-apeutic approadies. Another patta"n i n extant research is the great preponderance of deductive methods. A l l three areas, love, gender, and attachment, rely heavily on deductive logic In love, for example, the dassic theories s u d i as those of Sternberg (1988) and Lee (1988) are based on, admittedly wise and calculated, but nevertheless guesswork. Similarly, Hazan and Shaver's items for classifying attadiment types is basically their best estimation of how infant attachment style could be conceived of in adulthood (Shaver, Hazan & Bradshaw, 1988). This is necessary but not suffident. Because of this approach, our notions of love are abstrad and generic, paying little attention to the subjedive perception of love, and the meaning with which it is endowed by individuals. The disadvantage of reJying heavily on a dedudive approach is that we w i l l eventually see only what we have a priori chosoi to see by our angle of approach. We are i n need of inductive studies that can use a more d i r e d approach. These w i l l y ie ld information that other, more established, methods do not provide. Some indudive questions in the area of love theory are How does a persoi conceive d love, and how does this relate to our extant dedudive definitions cf love? H o w is the maturing of love experienced by an individual? Do men and women define love differaitly, and if so, do they have different expedations of each other? The final justification focuses cn the level of inquiry. A love relationship between a woman and a man is mere than the sum total of thar behaviours, words and attitudes. The relationship is an arena where two persons encounter each other in an all-encompassing manner. Beneath the veneer of what is observable, tha"e is a whole inner emotional world of which we know little or nothing. With the exception of attachment theory, the masses erf information gatha-ed to date deal for the most part with externally observed behaviour, cr directed self-reports. Examples erf this kind erf expleratien can be seen in Social Exchange Theory (Kelley 1979), and Hatfield's Equity Theory (Hatfield, Traupmann, Sprecher, Utne & Hay, 1984). The subjects erf investigatien are erften the overt exta-nal cerrdates of relating, not the internal events. The last may well have deeper, more far readiing effect on the course and quality erf a relatienship. Their significance is emphasized by research on the impertance erf the couple's affecticnal l ife (Wills, Weiss & Patterson, 1974). For example, it is well documented that males seek to assert and maintain their indépendance in love rdationships (Levinsen, 1978). This fad alone does not tell us much. However if we knew how the man's partna- experienced this tsd for independence; how the man is drawn into asserting this and how the two partners experience coming together i n conf l id or resolution over it, then we could make some reliable predidions and observations erf the relatienship concerned. This is an assa-tion that needs no d d a i c e i n dinical drdes, but is sadly sidestepped in the research field wha-e reports of inner emotional dynamics are locked en with suspidon, and labelled as biased and unfounded. The more reliable pradice is to try and extrapdate inner events from evaluations of the subjed. We shy away from asking the subjed diredly for an account erf inner events, because of our own inability to control and to separate subjective distortion. In some cases it is the distortion itself that needs to be studied if our view erf a human phenomenen, such as relating, is going to achieve a semblance of completion. We need to study subjectivity and meaning in love, gender, and attachment, i n order to access the inner organizatioi of these concepts in the psydie and how these are translated into action. Without these perspectives, our knowledge w i l l be impersonal and generic In systemic terms (Brenfenbrenner, 1977), I am now advocating the need to study the micro-level of human relating namely (a) the inner wor ld of the dyadic relaticxiship and, (b) the inner wcr ld erf the partners. Therefore, an overview of what we knew about men and wemen in love relaticnships, points to the need fer a new approach to the issue. This new approach involves: (a) an integrative study erf love, attachment, and gender, (b) a new, more practical perspective on relationships, (c) an explcratien of how the sexes adjust to each other, and finally, (d) the construction of an inductive approach addressing relationships at the primary emotional, and subjective level. Appraadi to Hie RcsBaiiii Question In order to capture data which is integrative in nature; pracrtical, induciive, and subjective, a multiple case-study design was seSecied. This design is best suited to researcii questions that ask hew and why concerning evaits over which the investigater has little or no control (Yin, 1984). It is also an appropriate way to study complex issues i n a holistic manner. Instead erf breaking up the topic and studying the pieces, the case study provides a way erf observing how it funciiens as a whcjie. The units of analysis i n this case are male and female individuals in a heterosexual love relatienship who wi l l be asked to describe their perceptions of themsdves, of the relationship, and how the two have developed ova- t ime The emphasis is on pursuing a naturalistic study of relationships in thar own context. A n indudive approach w i l l be adopted wherein the partidpants are given a free hand, within the set parameters, as to what content to bring up. Since the focus of attention is on gender variation and roads to gender resdutien in love rdationships, the persens to be investigated must, in addition, be couples who have succeeded in overceming the weakening effeds of gender variaticn. It is assumed that in a married relatienship w h i d i has lasted for a number of years, and w h i d i is experienced as satisfying, a form of resdution d gender difference w o u l d have been reached. Given the time fador and the gradual u n f d d i n g involved i n resdution, the matter to be pursued is essentially the story d the relatienship, er the stages it has beai through, as percaved by its members. In order to strengthen the study, two additional procedures w i l l be induded. The first is the indusion d a quantitative dement to the study in the ferm of a Q-sort based on extant research. This w i l l fadlitate tying i n the qualitative data to the research base that already exists, and its evaitual use by quantitative and qualitative theorists alike It w i l l also h d p to focus and d e ^ e n the process d enquiry. The second measure is intended to address the expa-imanta- variable and increase accxiracy. Since the researcher is searching for subjedive meaning, it follows that the question of cultural proximity to co-researchers becomes crudal. Only in this way could the researciier with confidence "define corredly the interpretations of the agent" (Taylor, 1973, p. 61), a vital capadty in hermeneutic enquiry. In naturalistic enquiry the evaluator is the instrument (Guba & Lincoln, 1981). Consequently the qualities and capadties of the researcher necessitate primary cœsideraticn. Given these conditions I propose to condud a cultural study of my own ethnic group: the Maltese. This seems to be the best possible, and the most reliable, use of the researcher's personal resources. There are additional advantages to conduding the research i n a ncn-Ncxth American culture and particularly in Malta, the main one being the extension of research to other cultures, and the building of a larga- comparative base. Most studies i n this area rely heavily on college studait samples and Ncrth Ama-ican dinical couples. Use of a diverse populaticn provides a broader perspedive, and reveals qualities that the spedalized populations considered so far may not possess. The study does not aim at providing generalizable data. It is based on a small population. The purpose is to provide an alternative perspedive for the generation of theory, and comparison. This new vantage point could help formulate new hypotheses for the study of otha- cultures. In the field of love theory and research, which is still young and in a formative stage; the scope of cultures studied is small. Admittedly romantic love is perceived as a westa-n concept (Dion & Dion, 1988), but western love cannot be equated with North American love. To my knowledge there have been no attempts i n psydio logy to study different western concepts of love. The attachment studies by contrast have been conduded in various cultures, but results have beai confliding and one cf the nagging problems in the field is the instabihty of attachment across cultures (Tavecchio & Ijzendcxjrn, 1987). Therefore more needs to be known about attachment i n different cultures. Goider researdi has suffa-ed a fate similar to that of love research. Distinctions, of one form or another, between the sexes are common to all known sodeties, yet the psychdogical research contains little examination d how distinctions vary across cultures. Knowledge of this variation could shed light on what psychological aspects of gender are cultural, subcultural, and perhaps even univa"sal in nature. The Maltese culture has some interesting attributes which render it particularly suitable to this study. It is a Mediterranean culture where attachment networks are of central importance, and relationship bonding is strong. The number of couple separations (tha-e is no divorce law i n Malta) is significantly lower than North American and North European figures. In 1985 there were 2347 marriages in Malta, and 79 legal separations, a fraction of 3% of the total marriages that year^ (Tabone 1991). In contrast, that same year in Canada, one i n three marriages were expected to end i n divorce (Statistics Canada, 1988). This statistic begs the consideration erf w h y mere couple relationships survive in the Maltese culture. A n exploration erf perceived differences and how these fare, could turn up findings which may provide an interesting comparisen to other cultures wha-e rdationships are less stable and long lasting. Condusion In summary, I have drawn a critique erf the existing state of research in love, gender and attadiment to point out a viabie angle of study. By ddineating the necessities of sudi a study, I have identified the design that best fits these ^This figure is somewhat conservative since it does not include couples who separate without recourse to the legal system. requirements. Since this study w i l l be conducted in a non-Ncrth American culture; the reascns and gains of this venture have iDeen set fcrth. CHAPTER II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE "From then cr> they lived happily, and eva-ything went well for them until they died" ( Grimm's Fairy Tales, The golden children). Nobody needs any persuasion to admit that although this is the commonest description of marriage in fairy tales, it is the rarest and most un l ikdy course of real marriages. In fairy tales the story usually ends with marriage, but real life marriage and coming together in love is often the beginning of a highly unpredictable and rocky road. The history of a couple is often a tricky and complex narrative because there are so many issues at play: early childhood experiences of intimacy, unresolved personality conflicts, sodal and familial expectations, personal values, attitudes, expectations, and so forth. The literature on couple relationships has reflected this diverse quality, presenting pictures from various angles and i n varying detail. The purpose of this chapter is to weave together the most relevant studies to produce an account of how love, gender, and attachment fare ova- t ime The œurse of a relationship is influenced by a number of factors, the most prominent of which are: attachment style, gender, personality characteristics, and external circumstantial factors. Those experiences and attributes which are common to both partners determine the ocnmon story, that is, the part of the relationship which is experienced together. On the other hand there are experiences and attributes which are quite individual, and different f r a n those d the other partner. These œntribute significantly to the incSvidual subfective petxspticn cf the stay. In this way there are at least three realities operating i n the life of the couple: the common reality, the male reality, and the female reality, each one interacting w i t h the other and determining the course of the relatienship. The initial secticn of this chapter outlines the main drfiniticns at love. The rest of the chapter deals more specifically with relationships over time as they have been conceived of in the literature. This second part starts by descrilang what is held in common by both members erf the love relationship-the need fa - attachment-thai goes on to describe how theorists and researdia-s have diaracteristically perceived the common course of the relationship. FcJl owing this, the focus shifts to the individual course, that is, to the male and female realities. The differences betweai the tWQ as they have been perceived in gender research, w i l l be considered. Finally, a thea-y of gender development w i l l be described which theoretically integrates gender similarity and difference by providing an account erf male and female pathways. Defining Love Love^ is a complex phenomenon and a difficult cne to define adequately. A simplif ied statement such as "love is an affective attachment" is a poor definition, since all the complexity and depth erf love is lest. In addition, there is no cne shared definition of love. Beach and Tessa- (1988) point out that this is partly due to the fact that perceptions of love also change with time and culture, O e n and O o n (1988) observe that "love means different things to different ^In this study, love is intended to refer to adult, heterosexual, romantic love, unless otherwise indicated. people" (p. 265), therefore it is not a single phenomenon. Theoretical works w h i d i attempt to clarify the full meaning of the term, approach the problem in one or more of three main ways: (a) identifying components of love, (b) describing kinds of love; and, (c) identifying relational bdiaviour assodated with love Each theorist views love from a particular viewpcsnt. Fitting all of these views into a coherent whcJe provides a fuller description of the term 1. Ccmponents of love. The most widely accepted work in this area is that of Sternberg (1988), w h o suggests that love is made up cf three ccmponents: intimacy, passion, and commitment. Beach and Tesser (1988) identify four compcnents: commitment, intimacy, cohesion, and sexual interadion. Shaver, Kazan, and Bradshaw provide another three components: attachment, care giving, and sexuality. R o n o v i n g the ova-lap, we are left with seven identified components of love These are intimacy, passion, conmitment, cohesion, sexuality, attachment, and care giving. Approaching the issue form a more empirical perspedive, Neiswender Reedy, Birren, and Warner Sdiaie (1981), outline the following components of love: emotional security, resped, communication, help and play behaviours, sexual intimacy, and loyalty^. Ccmpared to the previous perspedives, this framework is less abstract and more directly evocative d an individual 's experience i n love. It is described here to show the variety of approaches i n defining the components of love, and particularly, the variation between a theoretical and an experiaitial (or operational) viewpoint. ^Married couples of ail ages rated these components in this order of importance. 2. Kinds of Icr/e. There are many dassifications of love, only a representative sample wi l l be considered here. The most well known and comprehensive description of types d lc3ve is Lee's lc3ve styles (1988). Lee identifies six pure styles, and suggests that a love rdationship is either charaderized by one of the six or a ccxnbinaticn of them: 1. Pragma: pradical, logical, and commonsensical. 2. Ludus: sdf-centred and self gratifying. 3. Eros: idealized and romantic 4. Mania: intense, obsessive, and d^eident . 5. St orge ccmfortable; companionate, friendly. 6. Agape: other centred and nurturant. Other notable classificaticrjs of love describe variations along significant continua. For instance, along an emotional scale, love can be passionate or companionate (Hatfidd, 1988), and on a give and take continuum, love can be acquisitive, benevcJent (giving), cr both (Murstein, 1988). Dcrothy Teinov (1979) provides a detailed descripticn d a type erf a k ind of love she labelled as limerence. Her data is based on extensive interview and survey data. Limerence can be describied as an intense, idealized attradiexn to another person. It has also been ecjuated with romantic love (Verhulst, 1984). The limèrent perscn makes the loved perscxn the centre erf all thoughts and desires, seeing only what is positive and admirable in the person. Redprocity and "ecstatic union" are longed for acutely and imagined. Rejedicn is feared and the loved person's adions are minutdy examined for signs d acceptance. Sgns of rejedion are rationalized. This kind erf love usually intensifies with adve-sity. When it is redprcxated, limerence gives way to a calmer and less obsessive form of love which Tennov calls affectional bonding. 3. Behaviour assodated with love. Another way of unda-standing love is by examining what persons do when they love. Persons who love express thar love verbally, sexually, pradically and through affection. They appredate and admire each other. Thar attitude towards each otha" is one of openness and sharing, supportiveness and tolerance d the other's shortcomings (Branden, 1988). In addition love fosters feelings of tenderness, exdusivity and concern for the other's welfare (Byrne & Murnen, 1988). Levinger (1974) describes "mutuality" behaviours which sustain lasting love relationships. These behaviours include sharing d knowledge about each other, taking responsibility for each other's satisfaction, and having private shared norms about the relationship. A l l of these definitions of love provide a series of fragmaits that allow us to see parts of the whole There is a lot of overlap and not much indication erf how all these elements fit together in the w h d e This study approaches love by considering it to be a whde, ratha- than disseding it. AUadment The Uidalying Ccmmcn Base Several theorists have proposed that humans have a primary need for dose relationships (Bowlby, 1988; Buss, 1988; Eibl-Eibesfddt, 1972; Harlow & Mears, 1979; Hinde; 1974). This need is universal and, starting at birth, it persists thrcjughout the whole life span. The most comprehensive and researdied approadi in this area is attadiment theory (Bowlby 1982). Most cH the theory and researdi in this area focuses on the infant bonding experience. However some researchers, notably Wdss (1982), and ^lava- and Hazan (Hazan & Shaver, 1987; Shaver & Hazan, 1987; 1988; Shaver, Hazan & Bradshaw, 1988) have extended these propositions to explain adult intimate relationships. According to attachment theory we are born with an innate need for attachment. The infant seeks and maintains proximity to the parent not only because he or she is a provider d basic needs, but for the spedfic purpose of making dose contad. The parent becomes a "secure base" (Bowlby, 1988), from which the child can coifidently make exploratory forays into the outside world. In the adult this early expeience of attachment is kepi alive and influential in the f o r m of " inner w o r k i n g models" (Bowlby, 1988), w h i c h are mental representations of the self, others, and the sodal world. These models are based on the person's particular expmences of attadimait and are highly unique. Mary Ainsworth and her colleagues (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978) have succeeded in dassifying these idiosyncratic histories of infant attachment into three main styles: secure, avoidant, and anxious-ambivalent. By extrapolating f rom infant theory. Shaver and Hazan (1987) describe a secure adult as being comfortable i n relationships, capable d interdependence, and of balandng intimacy with independence. A v d d a n t persons experience discomfort and nervousness with closeness as well as having difficulty trusting otha-s. The anxious-ambivalent adult style of rdating is d i a r a d e i z e d by a dinging type of attachment, often harried with doubts and insecurity. Such a person has a strong desire for fusion with another and this tends to scare otha-s away. These authcars also provide evidence erf sorts that the same attachment style estaUished in infancy persists into adulthood. This ccndusion is based on the obsa-vations that: (a) proportions erf the occurrence of attachment styles in adulthood are almost identical to those reported for infants by Campos, Barrett, Lamb, & Stenberg (1983), and (b) respondents within eadi style category desCTibed their parents' behaviour in a manner that is consistent with expeded infant treatment for each style (fer example; avoidant persons were most l i k d y to describe their mothers as rejeding and not likable). Needless to say, this evidence is based on self report and past hœ assodation, as s u d i it is questionable. In fad, the same authors, at a later date, assert that such a view w o u l d be "overly pessimistic" as it rules out the possibility that insecure persons could develop better relationships wi th time. In spite of this, it w o u l d be reasonable to assume that our childhood style erf attachment exerts considerable influence on lata- life and may very well persist in the absence of any motivation to change. This view has some empirical support (Skolnick, 1987). A likely scenario w o u l d be the presence of a primary attachment style which is set in infancy, and secondary ones which are learned in the course of lata- attachments and supa-imposed in varying strengths on the original style. Hence, for example, a person w h o has beai reared into an anxious-ambivalent style of attachment may in the course of life grow into a more securdy attadied adult. However, in trying times when new beliefs and behaviours lose thar potency, the person may revert to her old attachment behaviour. This configuration w o u l d capture the complexity erf a history of attachment in a more plausible manner. With regards to lasting love relationships, Willner (1989) has found that partners w h o are securely attached are most assodated w i t h expressed relationship satisfaction. Persons tended to seek out partners wi th a similar attachment style. However, in mixed attadiment style couples, the presence of one secure partner was assodated with better satisfadion . Shaver and Hazan (1988) note that the divorce rate "was significantly higher for the insecure groups" (p. 113). In addition, the relationships of securely attached pa-scns lasted longer than the others (Shaver, Hazan, & Bradshaw, 1988; Feeney & N d l e r , 1990). Given this line of argument, we can hypdhesize that relationships endure ova-time where a secure form of attachment operates. A n intriguing question emerges from this l ine of argument: if satisfaction is assodated with secure attachment, could this style of rdating be a necessary ccnditicn for an enduring, satisfying relationship? The relationship of gender to attachment has been left vague and unformed i n spite of the presence d some very compelling indicators i n the theory. Silverman (1987) examines a considerable body of researdi findings regarding gender differences in attadiment behaviour during infancy. She condudes that bonding becomes a salient issue f o females, from the earliest stages d infancy; males, on the other hand, display a greater prodivity fcr m d c r responding. Her argument, in summary, is that: The female neonate's develcpmentally more mature stable state system (eg., greater calm, earlier and longer nighttime sleep, adaptability to environmental changes), her earlier sensory sensitivities, her initiation, maintenance and interest in gazing as w d l as her earlier vocalizaticns are all exquisite bending fadlitatos. Female infants earlier heceme aware of t h a r m d h a - s and of the mdher 's impad; the process d sodalization is thereby initiated soena- than i n male infants, (p. 320-321) Outside of attachment theory research, there is considerable evidence that women are more relationship oriented and men more instrumentally bent (Eichenbaum & Orbach, 1983; Gilligan, 1982; Parsons & Bales, 1960; White Speisman, Jackson, Bartes, & Costos, 1986; Wills, Weiss, & Patterson, 1974). Consequently, in a dysfuncticnal state, women tend to be under differentiated and males over differentiated (Levenson, 1984). In a conflict women are mere likely to demand and intrude, wha-eas men mere likely to withdraw and reject (Canaan, 1984; Christensen, 1988; 1985; Napier 1978). These behaviour patterns coindde respectively with the anxious-ambivalent and the avesdant attachment styles, leading us to speculate that there would be a gender differmce in style with wemen tending to be mere of the first and men falling mere into the secend category. Contrary to this expectation, both the Shaver and Hazan studies, and the later replicatory study by Feeney and Ndler , found no gender differaices. The second pair of researchers pdnt out that: The latter finding is noteworthy, because the desaiptiens d avddant and anxious-amtsvalait attachment bear at least superfidal similarity to the communication patterns d withdrawal and demand frequently reported as characterizing male and female partners (respedively) i n intimate rdationships. (1990, p. 286) This inconsistency pdnts to a serious gap i n our knowledge. One can argue that attachment style measures tap an attribute which is far deeper than gender. In this case we would have to spedfy the limits d the two phaiemena and identify where one's influaice a ids and the dher's begins in the context d rdating. A secend explanation is that there is an error or a confound somewhere. The attachment style data is based purely on a single-item trichotemous self-evaluative report. Perhaps men and wemen have different definitions of trust, intimacy, independence, and security. If they measure themsdves by different standards, but use the same descriptors, the results could be confusing and incomparable. If this were so, then more spedfic behaviour type repcrts would turn up the otherwise invisiUe difference The third possibility lies in the choice of respondents. Three of these studies make use of college students, the fourth was taken f r o n readers of a local newspapa". It could be that the dfect of gaider in relationships is experimced diffa-ently over time. College students would supposedly be involved mostly in short term dating relationships, where knowledge of the partner w o u l d be relatively superfidal and relating is still regulated by sodal mores rather than individual prda-ence In sudi expa-iences there is no time or oppcxtunity fa* an interadive personality to develop. Consequently it is only the pr imary attachment style that affeds the relationship and potential gender effeds remain dormant. This would explain the lack erf gender diffa-ence in the cdlege studies. The sample f r o n the general public had an age range erf 14-82 (Hazan & Shaver, 1987). If indeed the salience erf gender in rdationships varies with age, the d f e d in this case would be douded by the breadth erf the age range erf respondents. The relevant condusion to be gleaned from these speculative observations is that lasting relationships may be affeded by attachment style They may also be affected by gender variation. If attachment predominates, then inter individual differences in attachment would be mere pronounced than gender differences. Most l ikely the two interad and the pattern erf differences is more complex than this. A s Patton (1990) suggests, "The failure to f ind statistically significant differences in conparing people on some outcome measure does not mean that there are no important differences...The differences may simply be qualitative rather than quantitative" (p.l 10). The issue can only be settled by means erf deqjer exploration which is more sensitive to qualitative variation. This theory makes important œntributions to our understanding of love relationships. It provides a set of oonœpts that have lîeen empirically tested and explains in detail how a biological human need interacts w i t h our cognitive abilities and experiences to produce different underlying attitudes towards love relationships. However, its strength is also a weakness. In focusing so heavily on the biological aspect, the theory ignores other equally influential domains, such as the realm d personal values and meaning, the context of the rdationship, and so forth. The utility of the theory therefcre lies i n its presentation erf an undo-lying cemmen foundation that features in all love rdatieaiships. Attachment is the internal dynamic that couples have in cemmen. In addition there are external common fadors, such as: commenly held values, crises, and experiences, which influence the course of the relationship. The f d l o w i n g sedicai takes these into aoxîunt. The Gonvnon Course: Stage Theories There are many theories tracking the course of adult love, with each ene describing the devdopment of the relationship from a different angle. On the basis of this variation, the theories considered here can be grouped into three basic categories: (a) U-curve theories, (b) family milestone theories, and (c) theeries of relational dynamics. These wil l be described helow. Finally, i n order to make up for what these theories leave out, a new perspedive on stages of rdationships w i l l he explored. 1. U-Curve thecries. These propose that a relationship over time f d l o w s a U-shaped curve. The first stage is one of positive evaluation and growth. The seccnd is a negative period of struggle, which is f d l o w e d by a return to previous harmony with a new maturity, and additional personal and couple resources. Stage thecries which typically f d l o w this pattern are those of Coleman (1977), Gddstine, Larner, Zuckerman, and Gddstine (1977), and Wiener (1980). Cx)leman proposes five stages consisting of Recogniticn (attracticn), Engaganent, Harmony, Discordance, and Resdution. Gddstine et al. describe the course d a love relatienship as: initial fall ing in love, disappointment and alienation, followed by realistic adjustment. Weiner perceives this process as: (a) early courtship, (b) falling in love, (c) unmasking of each partner's real personality, (d) disappointment and attempts to persuade partner to diange, and (e) acceptance d the illusion and resolution. The contribution d these theories is that they pdnt out that love is a rocky road that starts in an almost dreamlike, unrealistic manner. Before achieving strength and stability, the illusion must be broken and reality faced. The last stage in this process is perceived as resolution and/or resignation. Perhaps the successful course d love invdves a little d both. Apart frcm this, these theories leave a great deal unanswered. They detect a general dyadic pattern without detail about how each phase interfaces with life, or alxnat how the individual undergdng this process is faring. One must also guard against the simplistic notion d perceiving only one gena-ic period d disharmony in the l i fe of the couple. The up-down-up pattern could be more appropriately applied as a repeated cyde which is continually in m d i o n in the relationship. A n inta-esting variation to this pattern is Levinger's conœptualization of the relationship as following an inverted U-curve (1983). The life of the couple starts w i t h Acquaintance, then goes through Bui ld-up, Continuation-Con sdidat io i , and Ending. This framework ignores the crisis phase identified in the previous theories but provides an alternative and equally applicable pattern. It is mait ioned here to show the rdevance, and y d , the simplidty and generality of these U-cxirve perceptions of relaticnships. 2. Milestcne theories. Family milestone theories focus on cne partic:ular love relationship: the one that leads to marriage, having children, going through mid-life, and becoming a couple again after the childrai leave home. These events, and others, depending on the partiœlar theory, are crisis points along which the life of the couple are fcx:used. Each crisis must be dealt with in some construdive way fear the couple to grow and adjust to eacii other and to the marriage At such turning p d n t s "a marriage can go i n either diredion: it can move toward enrichmait, improvement, and greater mutual support, or toward dissatisfaction, divisiveness, and scmdimes, dissdution" (Singer, 1980, p. 1). Such stage theories also make suggestions about how to weather these crises successfully. In her work an the stages of marriage. Singer (1980) lists a series d such milestones: the critical first year, having children, job and finandal changes, extramarital sexuality, ranarriage, mid-life; illness, and loss. In orda- to fortify the couples for the trials ahead of them she proposes that each person should have a deep pradical skill in communicating. This is, acccrding to Singer, "the most significant factor in determining how any crisis w i l l affect your marriage" (p. 3). A seccnd milestone theory is proposed by Wil l i (1982). Once more, a number of tasks over time for couple growth are identified: formation of a stable couple, construction and creativity, mid-life, and old age marriage Where the previous thecry emphasized communication, this formulation perceives the couple as two s^arate individuals and puts personal developmental tasks at the core of the rdationship: the need for intimacy, productivity, and the problem d aging. H e states that: "For some, these crises are enriching experiences, for others they are overwhelming... It may be that these coiflicts are not confronted because of disturbances originating in di i ldhood" (p. 43). The critical factor in this psychodynamic framework is the interplay of each member's unconscious and childhood history and the cdlusions they create: According to the concept of odluacn therapy, the marital behaviour of the individual is to a large extent deto-minad by personal prehistory (the genetic aspect of psychoanalysis). But in its manifest form marital behaviour is also greatly intensified or diminished depending on the behaviour of the partner...whose intensified or diminished behaviour is likewise reinforced by personal background... Beth partners disfiay aniîar tasic cSsturtances in rdatJcn to marriage but they pay them cut through ccntrasting rdes. Similarly disturbed partners encourage each other's pathological behaviour and develop an unconscious arrangement or ccilusicn. They both do this even though, i n dioosing the partner, they had consdously intended to come to terms with their existing disturbances, (p. 52) Success i n relationships, in this case, involves breaking free of s t r id collusive roles by working collaboratively through them and achieving some form of resdution. The story of the couple is marked by the repeated emergence d cdlusion at eadi developmental stage d the marriage and the struggle to deal with it. In this modd, working on the relationship is analogous to working on oneself. This theory is slightly different from the other two mentioned i n this sedion i n that it focuses equally on the individual and the dyad. Adi iev ing this balance is a significant contribution. There are two shortcomings, given the demands and focus Oi the presait study. These are the inadequate description of the process (stages are very general), and the focus on the pathdogy the couple to the exdusion d the healthy, growthful asped. The third milestone theory to be considered is Barker's (1984). He also describes a series d crises based on the life d the family. His framework highlights the struggle between the demands d family life and the constant desire to have one's relational expectations satisfied. A t each stage, devdopmental tasks, w h i d i ensure the continued life d the couple rdationship, are identified. The stages are described here in detail since they provide a protdypical pi dure d a milestcne theory: Crisis One: The quest for growth is the initial stage and applies to the couple relationship u p to the time d arrival of the first child. In this phase expectations are linked to the prospedive partner who has been judged as capable of satisfying them. This is a nardssistic and naive phase. Positive attributes are exaggerated and negative ones ignored. Perception of the rdationship is shallow and incomplete, potential problems are brushed aside. Tasks to be accomplished i n this phase are achieving independence from family of origin, and the establishment of an initial "contrad" hietween the couple, setting the ground rules by which they are to relate. Crisis TwQ Dyad to Triad is marked by the arrival the first child. This introduces a source erf new competition for need satisfacticn in the family. The child's needs are often incompatible with those of the parents, who have to work out a way cf incorporating these new needs into the relationship. The bahy is "a catalyst for a basic shift in the nature of that relatienship, and it irrevocably alters the way the marital partners will relate to cne another" (p. 207). The important task in this phase is the establishment of a healthy triad based on adequate self differentiation. The opposite of this would be the forming of unhealthy coalitions with children, and scapegoating the children. Crisis Three: The Discrepant Years is a time when harsh reality penetrates into the life of the couple. They come to realize that the fantasies and expectations they hold of the marriage are incompatible with reality. In addition, reality itself makes inconsistent demands of them (for example pressure on the woman to be a dedicated housewife and a committed caree-woman at the same time). This is a time cf deep dissatisfaction, erften the spouse is blamed and the person comes to believe he cr she made the wrong chcace. The tasks to be achieved at this point are the identification erf the self (not the partner) as the source of dissatisfaction and the creation of healthy boundaries which are not, in Minuchin's terms, "enmeshed" or "disengaged" (Minucinin & Fishman, 1981). Crisis Fcxin The Adult Marriage is a time when a certain stability is reached as the membiers erf the couple reacin a point where they know and accept each C3ther, and derive pleasure from giving to each other. They have more realistic expectations, and can deal with the old disappointments i n a constructive manner. The threats to the relationship come from the external wor ld : economic problems, illness, and proMans with children or in-laws. Crisis F ive Dyad Revisited is filled with emptiness and purposeessness as the children leave the home. The partners are stripped of their parental r d e and perceive each d h e r as different pa-sons to what they had been in the past. During this time the challenge is adaptability. The couple must search for a new purpose which w i l l n d threaten the relationship, as would happen if both immersed themselves totally in their careers. Crisis Sx: Marital terminations d a i d e s the last years d the relationship, when a sense d balance and harmony has been reached. The major tasks facing the partners in this time are disengagement from the outer world, though n d from eadi other, and dealing with the loss d a partna- through death. The important contribution of these theories is that they l ink the relationship to crucial life events that have a very strong and determining influaice. They show how constraints force the relationship to move away from its initial pattern, and identify the directicn in w h i d i it is made to proceed. Also, the developmental tasks at each stage make it easy to evaluate the success of the rdationship, or alternatively, to identify where and how it dissdves. These acccxints have two major limitaticns. The first is that they focus on the modal American married relationship where the partners are married in early adulthood, children come soon after that, they leave home and sever ties with their parents, and so forth. Once couples deviate from this ncrm, for example; by marrying at a later age or waiting longer to have children, the proposed pattern no longer fits. Far this reason. Singer's and Barker's frameworks have limited applicability. The second limitation is the focus on family life events to the exclusion of the inner process of the individuals i n the relationship. Speaking of satisfaction in marriage, Rhyne (1981) states "it is not what happens in that marriage, but how the partners understand or define what has happened, that is cTitical" (p. 942). There is little, if any, reference to how the individuals conceive erf the relationship at different times, and to how they mature i n the relationship. For instance. Barker states that the first phase of the relationship is dominated by the need to establish independence from the family of origin, and form a mutual couple contract. Although adjustment to external events is considered, the emotional adjustment of the partners to each other is not given sufficient consideration. 3. Theories of relational dynamics. This third group of theories concentrates exclusively on the dyadic relationship and describes how this develops over time. Theories in this group typically consider the unfolding of such relationship qualities as commitment, conflict, and the quality of communication. Three of these theories w i l l be considered. Sdlner and Sellner (1986) propose six stages leading to the adiievement of mutuality and adjustmoit to each other. The first is the Romantic stage, highly idealized and equally pleasurable. Though irrational, this process is very important for the formation of initial bonding. This leads to the Early Qmmitment stage; where the desire for permanence is given a structure through marriage. At this stage; the authors distinguish between making a commitment to the partner, and committing oneself to the marriage. Persons w h o do not know their partna- suffidently tend to make the second commitment. This is a source of later instabil ity in the relationship. The next stage is the Confl id/Power Struggle, when a realistic perception sets in, and partners are seen for the imperfed bangs they are. In each other's eyes they fail to l ive u p to expedations, and make unreasonable demands. The fourth stage is where good and bad relationships part ways. The inadequate ones sink into a Resignation, wha-e confl id is ever present just below the surface and erupts every so often. The alternative is Reality, where both partna-s choose to face both the desiratie and undesirable aspeds of their spouse Consequently, a mature resdution is achieved and partners percave each dher in a new, fuller way. At this p d n t the couple have moved into the Full Commitment stage. This is considered to be the real marriage, a mature partnership based on full understanding and acceptance of one andher. The final stage is that d Mature Romance; wha-e the now stable couple i n v d v e themselves with the external w o r l d in a new creative way, through having dii ldren and produdive careers. Berman and Leif (1975) focus on conmitmait and conflid. They identify the life course of the couple through the tasks to he achieved at each stage The first task is to make a new commitment (age 18-21). The secend is to stabilize this ccmmitment provisionally (22-28). This is followed hy coping with restlessness and achieving a more stable commitment (29-31). Once this is achieved, the couple focuses on productivity (32-39). In stage five (40-42) the couple sums up successes and failures. Next (43-59) the couple seeks to resolve the conflicts arising from the previous stage and the marriage gains a new stability. Finally the couple struggles to achieve mutual support as they deal with aging and death. Levant (1982) takes a rather utilitarian view cf the relationship. Marriage is seen as a series of transactions, the quality of which changes with time. The stages consist of the Egoistic; Reciprocal, Conventional, and Subjective perceptions of the relationship. In the first period, the focus is on the self and what the marriage can contribute to the self. In the seccnd, a kind of compromise is reached based on equal exchange, a measured give and take. In the Convaitional stage, the dyadic relationship is expanded and a new awareness of social expectation changes the couple's transactions. These are now determined by social rdes and are meant to show the outside world how happily married the couple is. The final stage; the Subjective, is when the partners begin to define the marriage i n their own unique way based on their feelings and values. Transactions become expressive as well as instrumental. The dyadic relationship is so complex that each of these theories have chosai to focus on different qualities: adjustment, conflict and commitmait, and perceptions d the relationship, respectively. Other similar theories emphasize d h a - qualities, for example intimacy and differentiation (Abrams, 1977). Each i n their own way draw out a pathway of growth through which we can see how the couple matures and the individuals acijust to one andher. A l l the theories described here provide a wealth of information about the common story of the couple. Yet they ignore an important aspect: U-curve theories perceive development as cydical, milestcne theories present it as a cumulative process, and rdational dynamics theories as a progressive one. None of the theories address the hdistic; qualitative nature of diange in a relationship. In considering the relationship process as a series df related links in a chain, cydical, cumulative, and progressive theories capture only those aspeds of the experienced w h i d i are relevant to the whole chain. Their need for internal coherence predudes comprdiensiveness This lack of ccmpletaiess is espedally obvious w i t h regards to the subjedive experience of the individual i n the relationship, how this unfolds and matures with the relationship. This is discussed in the next sedion. GiDMrth cf flie IndlvidaM in Ihe Rdation^p The pathways described above assume that internal changes take place in both partners. Their attitudes and perceptions mature as the relationship matures. This growth could be conceptualized as the birth and development orf a new interpersonal self, capable of simultaneously preserving identity and maintaining intimacy. At this point, a paralld can be drawn between this làrth of the interpersonal self and the psychdo)gical rebirth of the infant as described by Margaret Mahla- (Mahler, Pine & Bergman, 1975). The application d the separation-individuaticxi process outside infancy is n d new. Bios (1979) rders to the re-aiadment of this process in adolescoice as a kind d psychic restruduring to adapt to adulthood. This process has also been applied to adult love relationships. Gilfillan (1985) draws dose parallels bdween the maturing love relationship and the infant-mother relationship as described by Mahla-. She states that this re-enactment is "not just an effcrt to re-establish the past, but rather to accommodate the present and reach toward the future by way of a detour along k n o w n territories" (p. 184). Startz and Evans (1981) demonstrate how the stages of separation-individuation could be cœceived by presoiting a series of case studies of couples at each stage erf the process. These studies have so far considered the process as one the couple goes through togetha-. There has been no attempt to consider separaticn-individuation from the standpoint of the individual-in-the-rdationship. By amplifying on these parallels and integrating the knowledge provided by the previously mentioned stage theories, I have constructed a stage theory of the psychological birth of the interpersonal self. The emphasis here is on two slowly unfolding intrapsychic processes that are separate, yet they have a profound influence cn each otha-. Although these may or may not develop in a parallel fashion, both partners w i l l he dealing with the same coverall task: that erf paradoxically immersing themselves totally in the relationship, and at the same time maintaining a sense of their individuality. The end product is a mutual working balance between the two The first stage coincides with Mahler's N o m a l Autistic phase. In the young adult cr adolescent entering into a new love relationship, this w o u l d be the Self-Absorptive phase At this stage the individual pa-ceives the relatienship exclusively from his or her own standpoint, unable to take the perspective of the otha-. The emphasis is on acquisitiveness. The perscm evaluates the relatienship according to what he or she can gain by it: a beautiful partna-, the admiration erf others, having someone, pleasure; and so forth. The partna- is perceived as an appendage to oneself. As the relationships persists the partners s p a i d more time together. There is a new growing awareness of the partna- as a person, as opposed to an object. The pleasure and gratification to be had from the relationship also increases. These factors ccntribute to the formation of a strong bond, giving rise to the Symbiotic phase. This is the time when the saise of "We" becomes paramount. The partners cannot think cf themsdves except in rdation to the loved one. They cannot get enough cf the other's company and are generally obsessed with the partner. The leaved one is highly idealized and perceived as being perfectly suited to them. At this time, love is really b l ind to reality and feeds upon illusion, the main one being that the partner is pradically identical to the other and any difference is purely drcrumstantial. The prevailing view is cne of "we against the wcr ld , " rendering the relationship insular. Opposition from outside cnly serves to strengthen the rdaticnship. Mahler describes this phase as "the delusional omnipotent fusion of two physically separate persons with a common boundary" (quoted in Gilfillan, p. 185). With time, the world inevitably intrudes upon this tightly knit bond, either because the partners get married and have to deal with the pradicalities of daily living, or because of the danands cf career and work. Failure to break out of symbiosis w o u l d produce a pathcJogically enmeshed style of relating, charaderized by pcxrly ddined bcxindaries of the self with the partner. Freed of the common illusion, the individual begins to perceive the partner i n a realistic manner. In this way the phase of differaitiation begins. In this phase, the individual comes face to face with the difficult task of making the rdationship wcrk. Where the loved one was previously perceived as similar, she is now perceived as being totally opposite, not providing what the partner oqaects, and making unreasonable demands in return. Autonomy now begins to interfere wi th intimacy. Partners become distant and involve themselves in external things such as career cr friends. If the individual stays i n this stage and fails to develop furtha-, a loose relational style described as disengagement w i l l develcp, wha-e boundaries with the other partner are rigid and impenetrable. A s Gilfillan points out, there is cne very important difference between the s^aration-individuaticn process in infancy and in adulthood. In the first the rdes of child and parent are fixed; in the second case b d h partners can be child and parent. Conflict arises when b d h partners relate i n the child mode and expeci each other to respond i n a parental fashion. After the magical quality d the earlier phase, this differentiation could be quite a shock and to the person experiencing it, it may seem to be an indication that the relationship is breaking up. After this initial shock, and providing that the person is still wi l l ing to work at the relationship, the Practising phase begins. The individual embarks painstakingly on a road d negdiaticai and compromise. Cherished expectaticns are given up for the sake of some harmony i n the relationship. Typically the individual feels he is giving more than receiving, but the relatienship remains alive and that is what matters at this pdnt . The process is that d one individual realistically adapting to andha-. In a sense the individual learns how and when to be the parent or the child. Gradually this process of working thrcîugh conflicts spreads to several areas of the relationship, so that a sense of harmcny and confidence in the relationship is re-kindled. The person realizes that it is gratifying to give up parts of cnesdf for the sake of the otha-. It is also gratifying to see the partner do the same in an equally disinterested manner. At this pdnt, give and take are no longer so rigorously measured. A new mature sense d intimacy grows inside the individual, based on knowledge and acceptance of the partner as andher individual. This is the phase of Rapprochement, where identity and intimacy are integrated, and the person devdops a healthy boundary within the relaticnship. Paralld to the infant's achievemait d emdional objed ccnstancy, they "are able to tolerate and accept amttvalence in the relationship without feeling threataied by loss d love of the cbjed." (Gilfillan, p 191). The final phase, comprising the rest of the duraticn d the relaticnship, is that d Integration. At this time the new harmony is ccn soli dated. New and difficult life events may upset this achievement, in which case the whole separation-individuation process may be briefly re-enacted. Wi th each re-enadment rapprochement behaviours are integrated, and the relationship becomes stronga- and betta- able to withstand obstacles. A s I implied before, partners may or may not go through these phases simultaneously. A persistently ardent lover and a selfish calculating partner w o u l d be i n symbiotic and self-absorptive phases respedivdy. A clinging wife and a d d a d i e d husband dedicated to his career suggest that the wife has stayed in the symbidic phase while the husband is rooted in the differaitiation phase. These patterns, and the development of the interpersonal self, are further complicated by gender. Differences between men and women's attitudes and bdiaviours in love are n d likely to affed the relationship negatively i n the Self-absorptive phase or the Symbidic phase. They are mostly ignored in these times. and genda- tends to aihance the attractiveness of the partner. The emphasis is on being stereotypical!y feminine and masculine. Awareness of gender diffa-ence must hit the relationship most forcefully i n the nfferantial phase and the Practicing phase, when the asymmetry in women's and men's expectaticns from the relationship is exposed (Chodorow, 1978). In the Rapprochement phase, both partners gain a deeper unda-standing of the other side's perceptions, and although the asymmetry persists, the couple can deal with it constructively and for the most part harmcniously. In order to understand more ful ly how gender interacts with the development of relatedness i n both members of the couple, we have to know more about the perspective of both sexes. The next section w i l l examine the nature and o-igin of these diffa-ences. The Different Roadb Gender and Love Reiatlcxiships There is a ccnsida-able mass of literature establishing differences in the ways men and women behave in love relationships, and a correspcnding mass of literature urging caution and even skepticism at these differences (Macccby & Jacklin, 1974; Wright, 1988). In spite of the occasional exertions, the evidence is quite robust (Wright, 1988), and is backed by b)oth experimental and clinically based sources. Reports of gaider differaioes in relationships have been grouped into three main areas: The conœption of love, behaviour in the relatienship, and orientations to intimacy. Each wil l be briefly reviewed and critically evaluated. 1. Offerences in the ccnœption of Icfve To date, and to my knowledge very few psychological studies exist that deliberately set out to discover hew men and women describe their pCTception of love. In an attempt to understand personal constructs erf love, G d d Hal l , Hendrick, and Hendrick (1991) asked college students to list the ten most important factors in an ideal love relationship. Although there were several constructs listed t y both sexes, fcxir constructs wa-e gender specific only women listed honesty and understanding, and only men listed compatibility and sexuality as important. In another study, Rubin (1983) interviewed 150 couples between the ages erf 25 and 55, who have been togdher for at least five years. Her condusion is that men and women, though deeply desirous of Icve rdationships, are caught in a confl id, not only with each other, but also inside themselves. The ccnf l id within is between new unstereotyped ways of behaving, and the d d ingrained sta-edypic hiehaviours: Thus it is that some people w i l l speak words of change without l iv ing it, and others wi l l live in changed ways without acknowledging it. For those people whose idedogy and behaviour are brought more closdy togdher -as in families where serious efforts are b a n g made to put the new rdes and new rules i n place-there is yet a third alternative. They f ind themselves doing both- that is, l i v i n g i n changed ways, and acknowledging the change while dten being discomfited hy the confl id their new behaviours stir within than. (p. 214) The confl id without, results from gander differences very deeply entrenched in our experience ...the traditional structure d parenting comes together w i t h the developmental tasks of childhocd and the cultural mandates about masculinity and femininity to create differences in the psychological strudures of men and women. Inevitably, then, the core identity is different for each d us... (p. 205) A s a result erf this basic difference men and woman have dissimilar ways erf being in a relatienship. A l l erf this is part of a process of social change; and is to varying degrees inevitable for the k ind of persons we are right now, l iv ing within the present socio-economic structure. Although sucdn induciive data is rare, there are numerous studies that measure men and women along pre-established dimensions erf love. From these studies some tentative observatiens can be made One erf the earliest studies is Rubin's study en l iking and romantic lc(ve (quoted in Deaux, 1976). The findings suggest that "men have higher rcmantic ideals, man and women love equally [as] much, but woman like their partners more" (Deaux, p. 129). A later study by Rubin, Peplau & H i l l (1981) concluded that "men tend to fall in love more readily than wcjmen" (p. 824), and "women tend to fall out erf love more readily than men" (p. 825). These findings are based on cesllege dating exxiples and thar applicability is therefere limited. They imply that at a young age, in a relationship which is equally as young and unformed, women are more cautious and men more carefree about love The difference is attributed to different contextual experiences of men and women. In male dcminated societies the female's choice of a partner is also an optien conferring status and security, unlike the male, whose choice of partner is not as complicated. The second set erf studies in this area focus on Lee's subdivisiens of love which wa-e described in an earlier section (Lee, 1988). Using these categories erf love, Hendrick and Hendrick (1986) developed the Love Attitude Scale, which has been used i n several studies, mostly of college dating couples. There is ccnsistent evidence that in their attitudes toward love, women are more practical (Pragma), œmpanicnate (Storge), and dependent (Mania); men are more self-œntred (Ludus), (Hatkoff & Lasswell, 1979; Hendrick & Hendrick, 1986; Hendrick, Hendrick, Foote & Slapion-Foote, 1984). Two out of the three studies also found men to be mere romantic (Eros). The indications are that women emphasize passion and companionship in love. In contrast men emphasize romance and the personal gains to be had frcm love. Once mo-e, these studies, for the most part, depend on young respondents and there is no indication if or how such attitudes vary with time. In a cross-sectional study of young, middle-age, and older married couples, Neiswender Reedy, Birren and Schaie (1981) found that women associated love more wi th emotional security, and men with loyalty. This finding held true for all three groups. Overall, research on how women and men perceive love is lopsided and insufficient. Some general tendencies are indicated, but there is no detail, especially where the effects of time and experience i n the relationship are concerned. 2. Offerences in behavior. One of the most dted differences in this area is the greata" expressiveness of wemen i n rdationships and in general (Balswick & Avertt, 1977; Balswick & Peek, 1971). Wives disclose more personal feelings than husbands (Hendrick, 1981; Morton, 1978), and are more w i l l i n g to talk about their fears and vulnerabilities (Guthrie & Snyder, 1988; Rubin, H i l l , Peplau, & Dunkel-Schetter, 1980). W o m o i are also more anotional (Guthrie & Snyder, 1988). In a spouses' self-evaluation study, husbands, in comparison to their wives, reported being less expressive of emotions they œnsider to reflect powerlessness (Guthrie & Snyder, 1988). A s many pcsnt out, this is i n keeping with social stereotypes where men are encouraged to be strong and women sensitive. Expressivity appears to be an important element in successful relaticnships as low-adjustment marriages are diaracterized by less expressivity of all emotions except for anger (Guthrie & Snyder, 1988; Jorgenson & Gaudy, 1980; Stodcwdl, 1987). The theme of sensitivity also recurs in the study of differences between male and female communicaticn. Consistent results suggest that wives tend to be mere accurate at message sending, using more non-verbal behaviours. In decoding messages, husbands are equally as good with the spouse w h o they know, but less accurate with unfamiliar persens. Other studies found wives to be more responsive listeners than husbands (Fishman, 1978; Noller, 1988; Notarius & Jciinsen, 1982), and taette- able to take the perspective erf their mates (Murstein & Beck, 1971). With regards to conflict in love relationships, the evidence seems to point to the use of different strategies by men and women. Studies on ccnflict show that men prefer to use direct controlling behaviour such as bargaining, reasoning, and discussion. Women, en the other hand, prefer indirect, coercive strategies such as expressing negative feelings, withdrawing affection, and being silent (Guthrie & Noller, 1988; Kelley, Cunningham, Grisham, Lefebvre, Sink & Yablcn, 1978). A n interpretation offered by Kelley et. al., is that men are conflict avoidant, f inding the display of emotion uncomfortable and upsetting. On the other hand women are conflict confronting people, frustrated by avoidance and actively seeking to face and deal with ccnflict. This interpretation is given a further slant by Gottman and Levenson (1988), who suggest that physiological differences in the male may render h im prone to greater autonomic and endocrine arousal during stress. This is not cnly uncomfortable, but can also be potentially dangerous because of the violence it may unleash. Consequently, the husband may adopt a more condliatcry approadi in order to avoid opa i conflid. Overall, these results suggest that women communicate more, and with greater skill i n most cases, making more use of emotiois i n communicating. Gddner (1989) talks cf the "standard gendered arrangement cf male subjed and female fadlitator" (p. 43). Several self-hdp books (Badi & Wyden, 1968; Sellner & Sellner, 1986, and others), as well as popular opinion, assert that verbal communication and sharing cf feelings are the fulcrum on which a good lasting relationship rests. In the light of these observations, women emerge as the helpa"s cf relationships, and men are perceived as inept and unskilled in relating. This gross imbalance suggests that, despite the importance of communication, perhaps we are emphasizing it to the exclusion of other fadors that enhance rdationships. Candan (1984; 1985) attributes this emphasis on communication to "the feminization of love" (1985, p. 254). She argues that love is generally defined in feminine terms, focusing on intimate talk, emotional expression, affedion, and sdf-disdosure. The male perspedive, which values pradical help, sharing physical adivities, and sexuality is not considered to be as crudal . Furthermore, research evidence is turning up evidence that males and females understand, use, and read to communication differently (Christensen, 1988; Gottman & Levenson, 1988; Guthrie & Ndler , 1988; N d l e r & Gallds, 1988). It appears l ikely that communication is a complex phenomenon, and the mere presence or absence d it i n a relationship is not enough to account for couple harmony over time. 3. Orientation to intimacy. If there is a single differaice that is used to rqaresait the sexes' overall stance in a love relatienship, or any rdationship for that matter, it is the fanale orientation to connectedness and the male orientation to autonomy. The differences described i n the previous sections show how women adopt a predominantly engaging and interpersonal perspective, and men are more staid and independent, controlling their reactions, and emphasizing the individual over the relational aspect. Wade (1988) measured intimacy and marital satisfacticn in young adult and mid-l i fe couples. Women of both ages scored higher than men on all intimacy measures except cne emotional intimacy. The data for women cn this measure showed a greater disparity between perceived and desired emotional intimacy, suggesting that women desired mere emotional intimacy than they were expmencnng i n the relationship. Hatfield and Rapson (1987) examined the literature on intimacy and listed the following recurrent themes: 1. Society seems to encourage women to be intimacy experts, men to be experts i n maintaining their independence 2. Women seem to know more abcxit intimate relationships than do men. 3. Women are more comf crtable with intimate talk than are men. 4. Woman are will ing to sacrifice more for love than are men. (pp. 18-19) These socaal messages and standards influence men and women to varying degrees. Not all studies show this diffa-ence in criantation. Cochran and Peplau (quoted i n Peplau & Gordon, 1985) rate college students on "Dyadic attacihment values" and "Egalitarian autonomy values." Their findings show no difference on the first value and a slightly higher endorsanent of autcncmy cn the part d the women! This reflects the new theme of independence and self-reliance that is growing among women. It is also important to note that this study is based cn a self repcrt rating, so that while a man and a woman may rate closeness equally, for example, what they specifically mean by doseness may be quite different: "It is possible that when men think of companionship they imagine joint adivities such as h i k i n g or going to a movie, whereas women think of intimate ccnversations" (Peplau & Gordon, 1985, p.262-3). There are two important critical observations to be made about the literature on intimacy. The first is that str id gender cat^ories tend to anerge from the study of difference. These cannot possibly refled all women and men. There must be an amount of variation within gender. A n increasing number of studies are considering sex-role orientation within gender, and androgyny in particular. Persons w h o adopt perspedives including hoth intimacy and instrumentality seem to possess the best qualities for being satisfied i n a relationship with a person of the opposite sex (Hatfield & Rapson, 1987; Bailey, Hendrick & Hendrick, 1987). Differences are most pronounced between highly feminine women and highly masculine m a i . The kind of relationship fostered by such sta-eotypical persons is desaibed by Gddberg (1983): The traditional male-female relationship is a relationship between a madiine and a child. The more dosely she resembles the feminine ideal, the more childlike the woman is psydidogically. The more accurately he approximates the masculine ideal, the more machinelike the man is in his behaviour and consdousness of himself and his life. The relationship between the two produces guilt and hopelessness in the male, and fedings of rage; helplessness and victimization in the female, (p. 3) In the light of these comments, reports of gender differences cannot be taken to represent all men and women equally, rather they should be seen as general tendaides w h i d i vary in intensity from one individual to the other. The second observation pertains to the imbalance between the study of female and male oriaitations. We know much about how intimacy affeds love relationships but next to nothing about the d f e d of instrumentality. The word itsdf is vague and poorly ddined. It suggests a preference for doing as opposed to feàing What form does love based on d d n g take? Is there such a thing as a male style d intimacy? Descriptive studies of male development such as thœe of Levenson (1978) and Rne (1988) have begun to explore the issue; but we are still a long way frcm answering these questions adequately, and construding a rdevant theory. 4. Conclusion on diffa-ences. These differences by themselves do not tell us much, indeed the mere identification of difference c:an be deceptive. As Unger (1979) comments, "Analyses based on sex differences tend to imply a trait view of psychdogy that obscures the situational dderminants d behaviour" (p. 1085). Huston and Ashmore (1986) identify andher shortcoming, p d n t i n g out that: "The existing literature comparing women and men i n personal relationships is piecemeal and diverse," lacking theoretical bacdcing, and a "comprdiensive framework within which to describe and analyze" (p. 169). In order to fully unda-stand each gander's perception and unique stance we have to construd a more holistic framework, tying data on difference with the inta-nal wor ld view each possesses, and the situations that have comlaned to create it. Integration and darity in these areas is aihanced by considering theories that explore the rdational experience of each gaida- from infancy. Once we identify the themes that dcminate male and female lives f r a n the early stages of life; it becomes easier to understand adult differences in behaviour, and differences which seem to be meaningless and unrelated, become part of a larger, more coherent, framewcrk. Different ftiadiqxKitians A Fsydicxfynamic Aconint of Gender Chodorow (1978) combines psychoanalytic accounts of child development with currait sodolo)gical pradices, and traces the separate development of boys and girls. Her account explains how these separate pathways have a profound effect, and foster inevitable differences in later love relationships. Current parait ing arranganents where the mother is primarily responsible for the infant, coupled with the primary need for human contad, combine to provide an environmoit which, despite its unifcrmity, is experienced in very different ways by male and female children. According to Chodorow, the mother, besides being the parent w h o bears the child, is also the parent who sodalizes and nurtures her child. She is the primary caretaker, the first perscn to forge an intimate bond with the child: In a s o d d y wha-e mothers provide nearly exdusive care and certainly the most meaningful relaticnship to the infant, the infant devdops its sense of self mainly in relation to her. (p. 78) While the mother is experienced through this dose bonding, the father, unless he provides the same k i n d of parenting as the mother, is percaved as a separate being w h o is not consistently present but nevertheless important. Fathers are more likely to think of infants in terms of how they wil l be w h a i they are much older, for example; "When you are dder we wi l l go fishing together." They also handle infants differently from the mother, more l ike an object or a tcy. They exdte the child, lift it and toss it. The mother, by contrast mostly holds and cuddles the child. From the vantage point of a growing child this is how the arrangement in its extreme form is experienced: A s infants, when we were wet or hungry, woman tock care of us. Women were the caregivers, the baby-sitters, the nursery school teachers. They were the ones to whom we turned when we were hurt, w h o wa-e there whan we needed them, who attended to our feelings... But men? They left for a grownup male world where work was done and children were not admitted. They provided but did not nurture. They emhodied power but not love. They were important but distant. We admired them but we didn't count on them. (Gerzon, 1983, p. 158) A s soon as it is born, the child begins to form a strong symbiotic I x n d wi th the motha". The bond is strengthened by the fact that in the beginning the infant does not distinguish between itself and the mother. Both male and female infants experience this early relationship, but f r o n here on they part ccmpany and f d l o w different emotional routes through the pre-Oedipal phase and the Oedipal phase, until the age of six when the child's gender identity is stabilized and gender bound behaviours and attitudes are established. With daughters, the mdher's saise d onaiess and continuity lasts longer and is stronga- than with a son. Researdn evidence indicates that f r o n an early age infants are treated differently because d their gender (Aries & Olver, 1985). There is also evidence that bey and girl infants behave differently frem birth, in this way elidting different treatment from the mother (Silverman, 1987). The m d h e r has more difficulty percaving the daughter as a separate person. The daughter is treated as an extension or double d the mdher, ha- separateness is ignored or downplayed. Hence the experience d intimacy for the daughter is. f rom the beginning, characterized by enmeshment and loosely defined boundaries. The symbiosis is maintained. This does not apply fcr the bey who is pa-ceived as a different being by the mother. The boy grows with an awareness that he is different from his mother. The early symbiotic bond is eventually deliberately loosaied and even discouraged by the motha-. In the Oedipal phase the boy's affections remain with the mother, they merdy transform from the symbiotic bond into a more sexualized love. The girl, by contrast, rdains her symbiotic bonds with the mother and forms a sexualized attachment for the father. For the bey, this development means that his affedicns are still focused on the same pa-son they were at birth; the girl spreads her affedions to a second person. With Oedipal resolution the son has to finally give up the mother and identify wi th his father. In doing so he gives up maternal assodations of closeness and symbiosis, adopts the separate, impersonal stance of the father, and the external wor ld he symbolizes. The girl, on the other hand, gives up the father and what he represents, and identifies with the motha-. Consequently she re-enters the relational caring world of the mother, together with the strong bond and aimeshment this may entail. As the girl grows dder the bond with the mother may complicate itsdf further A s the mother transmits to her daughter the importance of caring for others, she brings to the relationship her own unmet emotienal needs. Inside each mother lives a hungry, needy, deprived, and angry little girl. She turns to her daughter for nurturance, locking to the d i i l d to make up the loss of her own maternal nurturance and satisfy her continued yearnings. (Eichenbaum & Orbach, 1983, p. 57) A s a result of this, during adolescence when the boy is seardiing for his own identity and achieving a new indqaendence in a separate world, the girl has to work through her intense involvement with her mother. If she is to functicn as an independent person, she must, in the space of a few years, learn the lessens of separateness that the boy has known all along. If she refuses to acknowledge separateness, she w i l l remain aimeshed with one person or another all ha- life. The hard struggle of the hoy comes with the intervention love. By contrast he has to struggle to learn the meaning of connectedness and interdependence. If he fails or refuses to learn, his relationships wi l l be poorly formed and dnaracta-ized by a c o d detachment. These emotional experiences form the basis of each gender's understanding of relationships and love. Boys emerge from this period, at best, w i t h an ambivalent attitude toward emotional attachment, at worst wi th a wounded, denied emotional self. Their human desire for attadiment has been continually thwarted. By treating the boy as a separate person, the mother loosens the symttotic bond at a v a y early stage. The emotional relationship with the mother is one of clinging to a figure that grows distant wi th time. The mother's discouragement of closeness is experienced as re jedion and is wounding to the bey's emotional self. When the tie is painfully severed at the resdution of the Oedipal phase; the boy leaves the mdher's wor ld and embarks on the pursuit d strength and independence. Feeling rerjeded by the m d h e r he may deny his emdional self and immerse himself exdusively in the pradical world , trusting his senses and ignoring his emdions. In the adult male this ambivalence, betweai his attadiment to the mdher and her distandng from it, is carried over to his love relationships in the form d a centrdled rdatedness. He desires emotional intimacy with he woman he loves, yet he must not get too dose. This is the way he has learned to rdate. In œmparison to male lack of knowledge and experience, the female emerges as an ©cpert i n emotional relatedness. She began to relate to bath parents at an earlier age, gaining early expa-iaice of relating to both sexes. Her interpersonal self has been encouraged and nurtured. Loose boundaries with her mother have exposed her to the adult intricacies of relating at an early age. Unlike the boy she does not have the experience of being cast away from the mother's closeness, she does not carry within her the trauma of being rejected. She is therefore confident and skilled in relating and emotional expressiveness. Her expertise in rdating comes at a price however. Having little experiaice of b d n g independent, ha- sense of identity is poorly defined. 9 ie tends to define herself through relating: "In orda- to discover who I am as a woman I have children...In crder to discover who I am as a woman I fall i n love" (Lazarre, 1978, p.75). In seeking to recreate intimacy in adulthood, both male and female seek to recreate the bond they had with their mother, only they have different memories and experiences of it. The boy's is tempered by separateness and the girl's is steeped in union and identification. This creates an asymmetry in needs, expedations and behavicjurs. Women need more intimacy and emotional relatedness than men. Men may be suffocated by the attention and emotion of their partners. They experience a need for more independence, they fear a loss of their identity and of losing control. The woman pursues, the man withdraws. Not being aware of the male pattern of growth, the woman cannot understand why the man does not rdate to her the way she expeds. She inta-prets it as a lack of love The male on the other hand, is btewildered by the wife's show of uncontrolled emotion. He perceives it as childish and manipulative and feds he has to increase his control over the relationship to balance for the wife's apparent lack of it. At this point I part ways from Chodorow, w h o concludes that the woman's lade of fulfillment with a man drives her to put all her emotional energy into her children, and especially in a daughta*. In this way, the author asserts that the pattern of mothering described above is reproduced and maintained. I prrfer to perceive a number of alternative aidings to this deterministic stalanate between the sexes. In terms of the stages d relational development described earlier, this conflic:t is played out most acxitely i n the Differentiation phase where couples become aware of these differences. Rescrfuticn can take several forms: no resolution, partial resdutien or construc:tive resolution. The cxwple may htecome resigned to their differences and decade to put up with them in the interest of staying together. The husband can becxme the caretaka* d the rdaticnship, exercising contrd ever a childish wife, or alternatively, the wife can be the caretaker, h d d i n g the family together while the husband lives for the most part i n the external w o r l d d work. The healthier alternative is the w c r k i n g through of these differences, the realization by the partner that the other is a different person and may perceive things differently. The partner may have needs which do n d appear to make sense, but they are nevertheless valid. In this way b d h learn to give what the other needs, and understand the perspective of the other. This œntributes toward the formation of a lasting, f u l f i l l i n g relatienship. ChodcTow explains gender differences as being a result d early sodal learning. This is a second issue on which I differ with the writer. Differences are, i n m y opinion, the result of a combination of biole)gy, sodal learning, and inherited values and tendendes, which over the gaierations, have become very deeply ingrained i n the male and female psyches. It is very difficult to distinguish between the three, what we can say with certainty however, is that sodal experience plays a crudal, but not solitary role, i n the development of geider identity. Putting it all togdher. In the light of this theory, the separate strands of this chapter come togdher. The differences which have been established in gender research are coherent and conform to the pattern. The theory explains why women are more expressive, bdter communicators and oriented toward intimacy. It suggests how the need for attachmait and its experience can create différai ces in attacdiment between the sexes. Finally it points to a major developmental task that the couple has to deal with i n the course of their relaticnship and a major theme in the story of the couple^. S u i i m a i y Women and men are both similar and different i n their conception, experiaices and attitudes towards love and love relationships. On the similar side, they both have a lifelong need for attachment and develop one of three ^Note on the definition of gender: in view of the controversy regarding essentiaUsm, and the distinction between sex (as biological) and gender (as social), a clarification of my position on these issues is advisable. Scott (1986) puts Chodorow's (1978) theory forward as a definition of gender in and of itself. Although I ascribe to the theory with some reservations, I prefer to provide my own definition of gender, and theory regarding the origin of difference. Gender is a conceptual category that provides a means for understanding difference and similarity between the sexes, and for assessing proposals and processes of cultural, social, and personal change. Gender, in this definition, does not place an emphasis on the difference of the female sex, rather, it is the relational aspect that is emphasized here, placing equal focus on both women and men, on both difference and resolution. styles of attachment. Within a love relationship, or marriage, they go through the same experiences. Both struggle to grow interperscnally and develop healthy boundaries balancing intimacy and autonomy. However there are also differences which affect the relationship. These differences l ie mainly i n expressiveness, communication style and orientation to intimacy. Chodorow's psydiodynamic account of childhood suggests a theory that links the interplay of similarity and difference into a w h d e explainable perspective. Similarities are the result of common human dispositions. Gender differaioes are explained as a result d differential early experiences of love, intimacy and autonomy, which are rdnforced by social, ttdogical, and ingrained psychic influences. Idenlificalian of significant themes The main motifs d the literature on relationships and gender can be grouped into four categories: development, influences, gender difference, and critical tasks. From these categories nine major themes emerge. The developmait themes (1-4 below) identify the basic movement of a relationship. Influences (5-6) are the forces of the real world which combine to move the immature rdationship and to make it grow. They necessitate the fadng d reality and abandonment d the fantasy. Gender diffa-ence (7) constitutes andher form d influence. It is considered separately here for the sake d emphasis. Critical tasks (8-9) are those achievements or outcomes that a growing relationship struggles to attain. These tasks serve to stabilize the relationship. The spedfic themes are: 1. In love there is a movement from fantasy to reality (to stability). The early stages of love have a dreamlike quality. Practical considerations are set aside and potential problems ignored. This state of affairs is unstaUe; and eventually reality intrudes into the relationship. The magical quality of the rdationship is tarnished but it becomes better able to withstand the challenges of daily life. Finally, in its advanced stage, the partners becomes so adqît and comfortable with reality that the rdaticnship attains stability. 2. Reality is resisted and the fantasy d u n g to tenadously. The fantasy is not given up readily. The idea of loving and relating are personal concepts w h i d i persons have, based on thdr past experiences of attachment. These concepts are laden with expedations, hopes, needs, and scenarios which are often unarticulated and even sometimes out of the person's own awareness. There is also the belief that happiness and satisfadion in the relationship depends on the realization of these private scenarios. Consequently the intrusion of reality and the daily tasks required for l iving appear to be a threat to the relaticnship. It takes time for the idyl l to diminish, for the person to realize that it can never be attained, and that satisfadion can only be realized through reality and compromise. It is particularly difficult to relinquish reality if it is resisted hy both partners in collusion. 3. Reality can take three diredions: mutuality and harmony: unilateral support and maintenance: and breakup or stalemate. Reality is essentially a strain on the relationship: a pressure that strengthens or breaks. Couples emerge from the struggle with reality in one of three ways. They can successfully weather the storm. Alternatively one partner may give up and the other persists in the struggle. In this case the burden erf maintaining and supporting the reJaticnship falls on the second partner. In some cases, the partners fight a losing battle and the rdationship breaks up, or is kept barely alive with little or no value attached to it. 4. Before improving a relationship degaierates. The movemoit from fantasy to reality involves the realization of the inadequacy of one meaning systan, and its replacement with a hardi a- one. In between the breaking down erf one meaning system and the emergence of another, there is a meaningless vacuum fi l led with confusion, emptiness and a loss of direction. This is initially experienced as a sign that the relat ioiship is failing. 5. The course erf the relationship is deeply affected by external events. The relationship i n the fantasy phase is insular and inconsiderate erf external events. Gradually, the couple's consdousness moves exit into the external world. The world erf reality intrudes with increasingly greater impact on the relationship, creating new crises, and fordng it to move and grow in a certain directioi . These intrusions can take many forms, for example, the arrival of a child, career concerns, the need for economic stability, and so forth. 6. Fa-sonal devdopmental issues affed the quality of the rdationship. This is a second way in which reality can intrude. The partners bring their past histories into the relationship: their earlier experiences of love and relating i n their family, together with the resulting insecurities and desires. Childhood themes are re-enaded, and the partner is expeded to provide the so far elusive perfect love These place an additional strain on the young relationship. Eventually the couple find out that just as they have to face and deal with external problems, they also have to face their own and each other's imperfections and deal with t h a n too 7. Both men and women need and pursue love, but they do so in different ways. It is dear that both men and women need love and attachment equally. However they do differ in thar understanding of it, and i n their expectations and needs from love. These differences r e v d v e mainly around gender spedfic perceptions of intimacy, autonomy, and emotions. Exploring and dealing with differences also form part of the reality phase. 8. Successful relationships move from a selfish to a mutual orientation. This is the first major achievanant of reality. After giving up personal fantasies of tailoring the relaticnship to an individual need, the partners develop a mutual v is icn of the k ind of relationship they want. The emphasis changes from seeking happiness fcr oneself, to making eadi other happy. 9. The development d a mutually comfortable and healthy relational space. This is a second achievement which the relationship struggling with reality strives to attain. A person is both dose to and separate from his partner. The amount of both is determined by past experiences (e.g., rejedion in childhood), and personal bdiefs and attitudes. Partners may have different needs for doseness and separateness. Where this difference exists, it is typical that w c m a i have to strive to be more separate, and men have to strive to be more dose. These interpersonal movements are negotiated until a mutually comfortable arrangemait is reached. Failure to do so results i n enmeshed or disengaged arrangements. The Maltese Context Meaning and culture are inseparable (Hall, 1976). Since this study proposes to study participants and their meanings regarding rdationships, in their own environment, the context is an integral part of the research. It is therefore essential that the reader have a minimal understanding of the Maltese milieu. A brief account of the physical, historical and sodal aspeds wil l enhance cne's understanding of the co-researdiers. The Maltese Islands consist of an archipelago of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comina These are located i n the centre of the Mediterranean sea, 58 miles south of Sidly and 200 miles from the North African coast. Of the three islands, Malta is the largest and the main caitre of adivity^. The total area erf the islands is 316 square kilcmetres. The populaticrt figure is i n the region of 350,000, with a population density of over 1,000 persons per square kilometre. The terrain erf the islands is charaderized by limestone hills and valleys, orftai quite steep. The weather is hot and dry in summer, and mild, slightly w d in winta". Malta has a va-y rich history dating back to about 5000 BQ for w h i d i the earliest remains of a human presence have been found. By the third millennium BC a stone age temple culture was flourishing in Malta. Throughout the ages the country has heen conquered, and ruled, by virtually every significant power in the Mediterranean. The Phoenidans who settled en the islands in the middle of the second millennium BC were followed by the Carthaginians, the Greeks, and the Romans. In 60 A D St. Paul was shipwredced on Malta and converted the Maltese to Christianity. This is a very important event to the Maltese In 870 A D . ^For the sake of brevity the islands will henceforth be collectively referred to as Malta. This is standard practice. the Arabs tcx* over Malta until 1090, when Count Roger of Normandy re-conquered the islands, returning them to the Christian world. For the next five hundred years or so Malta, under the tutelage erf Sicily, was ceded as a fief to various European ova-lords whose main interest was the extraction erf taxatien. In 1530, Charles V of Spain offered Malta to the Knights of St. John, a religious order of hospitallers. The knights used the island as a home base and a caitre from which to harass Moslem vessels. In 1798, Napoleon conquered Malta and banished the knights. Two years later the Maltese rose up against the French who were systematically plundering the islands, particularly their rich churches, and placed themselves unda- the protection of the British menarchy. Contrary to the expectations of the Maltese, the British turned Malta into a British colony with a basically military function. In the following years erf British hegemony, war was to bring prosperity to Malta, while peacetime meant stagnation and economic slump. In 1964, Malta was granted independence and in 1974 it became a republic. It is governed by a unicameral parliamentary system elected every five years. Two main parties dominate the political scene: a Nationalist, pro-capitalist party, and a socialist party. The first is currently governing the country. The economic picture since 1964 has been one erf rapid growth, as the country first struggled to survive as a separate nation, and more recently, to catch up wi th European standards and join the European Economic Community. Tabone (1987) refers to it as an "industrial explosion." Although the Maltese culture is, when compared to other European cultures, quite homogeneous, the physical appearance of the Maltese is varied and reflects the influx of both European and North African dnaracteristies in the population. Koster (1984) describes the Maltese as "people with dark or light cxmplexion; thdr hair may be red, fair, brown cr Hade; their eyes blue; green cr brown. Most of them are small" (p. 1). The national language is Maltese, although most people are bilingual. English is the second most spokan language in the country, and Italian the third. Persons with a grammar (as opposed to trade) high schod education know at least three languages. It is difficxilt to give a psychdogical p r d i l e d the Maltese, for the simple reason that psychological studies of the Maltese are rare, and published ones even rara". Most d the literature available lies in the fields of anthropdogy and sodoloigy. Nevertheless some important observations about the people's values and attitudes and bdiaviour can be gleaned from these works. The most prominent and documented Maltese characteristic is the rdigiosity d the people and the way in which rdigion has over the ages come to pervade all aspects d the culture (Bdssevain, 1969; Kosta-, 1984; Tabone, 1987; Vassallo, 1979). The religion of the country is almost exclusively Roman Clathdic The extent of its presence and influence is well indicated by Vassallo (1979), who states: The striking feature alxxit religion is the way in which it is the complete incarnation of our local scene. Its vitality and expressive power, frequently attested to by fordgn observers, point out the extent to which the life of the church is embedded in the life and adivities d the islanders, and particularly to the success achieved by institutionalized religion in establishing itself as the unique superintending and legitimating agency cf Maiteseiife. (p. 71, italics added) The influence d the church as an institution is particnalarly evident in the sphere Of relaticnships. In his soddogical survey Of the family Tabone (1987), rqjcrted that only 1% Of his sample showed a preference for a d v i l marriage ceremony and a mere 0.75% preferred l iv ing together without being married. The overwhelming majority believe that a person should marry i n the church. Although religion is gradually giving way to a more materialist lifestyle, it ronains a prcminent part of Maltese life to a significantly greater extent than it is in other parts of Europe or in North America. The best indicator of this is that Malta is one of the only two countries in the western world which do not have a divorce law, a law which is perceived as being contrary to the teaching of the church. A married person can cabtain a legal separaticn but canncat re-marry. The propcrtion of legal marriage breakups is small compared to North America. Tabone (1987) reports that only 0.25% of his respondents indicated that they have no objection to divorce. On the otha- hand, 86.82% said that they would never consider divorce. Religion is an active force, determining and shaping perceptions of the order of all things at a level so deep that they sometimes become the cnly "real" reality. As Geertz (1973) notes, the effect of religion on people's lives is tworfdd and paradoxical: on the one hand it orders the world, making it more unda-standaMe and manageably on the otha- hand it limits how people interpret the world and events. The purpose of religion, however, is not only to restrict and order perceptions, it also offers access to the spiritual realm, enabling the development of purpose, direction, hopes, and values. In an existential sense, each person's religiosity is a necessary balance in the physical world, between freedom and restriction, between rootedness and chaos, which tunes people to the frequency of the spiritual w o r l d The relationship between religion and love has not received much attention in psychology research. In a brief report of two studies examining American college students, Hendrick and Hendricdc (1987) concluded that religiousness was most assodated with companionate, pradical , and selfless love. It was least assodated with game-playing in love. This study, though admittedly of another culture, offers a possible indication of how Maltese rdigicsity may affed the conception of love Nationalism, another prominent asped of the Maltese character is inextricably intertwined with rdigion, which: ...for a rdatively weak and small people, was fcr a Icng time a surrogate for pdit ical identity i n the face of an alien conquering power. The dergy were the 'natural' leaders of the people in va-y large part, and the nursay of the indigenous intelligentsia. (VassallQ 1979, p. 18) The pride of the Maltese in their own heritage is best refleded in the f a d that they have preserved t h a r cultural identity despite centuries of foreign rule. National pride breeds a degree of insularity, hence attitudes and pradices tend to pa-sist and have some immunity from external m d r c p d i t a n influaioes. After religion, the next most prominent asped of Maltese sodety is the family. It has been described as the most important institution in Maltese life (Boissevain, 1969) and the basic unit of its society (Tabone, 1987). Maltese persens perceive thanselves, and are identified by otha-s in terms of the family they belong t a In this system family loyalty is very impcrtant. The family has power over the individual and maintains strong ties, even after the person marries. At all times one is represaiting the family. Good Christian behaviour enhances the family honour. Oshonourable condud refleds badly on all family members. The d f e d of this on the life of a married couple is mainly t h r e d d d . First is the necessary task of achieving a working balance betweai loyalties to b d h families d the couple, a task which can be quite harrowing if the families are not well disposed towards each other, and which can undermine the marriage relationship. Second is the pressure placed on the couple to a d in a Oiristian and respectable manna-, at least in the eyes d society. Separation and bickering ta-ings shame upon the whole family. Finally the couple members themselves value being together and forming a family very highly. They are therefore highly motivated to stay together and make the rdationship work. This is an important resource to have espedally in times of interpersonal ccnfl id. Other important Maltese diaraderisties are identified by Tabone (1987). The Maltese are communitarian in their outlook on life, emphasizing the collective as opposed to the individual , duty as opposed to right. This is probably due to the small size of the island together with the haghtened need for interaction and interdependence. Dion and Dion (1988) state that " i n d i v i d u a l i s m - c o l l e c t i v i s m p l a y s a crit ical role v i s -a -v i s romant ic love. . . in dividual ism makes it difficult for individuals to become intimate and loving towards one another^" (p. 286), they provide empirical evidence for this hypothesis i n a later study ( O o n & Dion, 1991). Another effect of this charaderistic on intimate relationships is that a higher level erf interference is tolerated by the couple from significant others (parents, in-laws, friends). In such a sodal set up a person is continually bdng bombarded and influenced by the opinions and views of others, and is also mere opan to the scrutiny erf others, making the rdationship a more 'public' affair than it would be in North America. Because of this open quality, secrds are guarded even more jealously than they w o u l d otherwise be. This is an important consideration i n any researdn study, particularly in one which aims at describing the private life of a couple. For this reason the issue of trust and cenfidantiality was probably the biggest challenge to this study. ^This observation is based, for the most part, on a consideration of oriental collectivism. It is important to note that Mediterranean collectivism is different from the oriental. Another national diaracteristic is a sense of inferiority and fatalism. This is not surprising i n the light of Malta's past history rf domination by foreign powers and centuries of Maltese servitude and religious indoctrination. The sense of fatalism is particularly important in the area of relationships: where it prevails powerfully it fosters an attitude of resignation towards unsatisfying relationships. Within this frame of mind relational problems are attributed to misfortune^ or the "wi l l cf God." This increases accommodation in marriage, but it also stunts the growth of the relationship. A small sense of fatalism, on the other hand, increases the ability of marriage partners to tolerate the shcrtccmings of the other, creating a more realistic and less exigent attitude towards the relationship. There are two otha" observations w h i d i are particularly relevant to this study: the issue of gender and the mother-child relationships. Tha-e are deep gender differences and segregation of the sexes in Maltese sodety. Foreign cultural influences and gender-fair legislation are gradually undoing these differences but several still persist. For example, to this day the high school system segregates beys and girls in s^arate sdiods. The male domain is usually the world of work and finandal managanent. The female domain is composed mostly of family responsitiilities and the home. This is not much different from otha- traditional western gender arrangements. However there is cne important differaice. Since Maltese scxidy places such value on the family, and the woman in Malta is entrusted with this important institution sodety, she has a greater degree of sodal powa- and a mere sodally significant rde than wemen in mere secular countries. ^Although the mother-child relationship has been singled out for comment, a recent study (Abela, 1991) shows that the perceived paternal bond, though less than the maternal, is nevertheless strong compared to the rest of Europe. The position erf the woman in Maltese society is "at once in a positicn of importance and influence and i n a position of subservience and subordination" (At)ela, 1991, p. 32). In the sphere of work, women have equal access to opportunity and pay, by legislation. However the ratio between working men and women is three to one. In Abela's random sample, 60% of women wa*k inside the home as housewives (Abela, 1991). The same study reports that men and women are equally employed i n professional and unskilled manual work (excluding housework^), but unequally represented i n managerial jobs and skilled work. The proportion of working married women is small, Tabone (1991) estimates it somewhat conservatively at %%. The mother-diild relationship i n Malta was studied in the late sixties by J. Boissevain, a Dutch anthropologist. He made separate observations about the mother-daughter and the mother-son relationships. About the first he emphasized the strength of this relationship, even after the daughter's marriage. He described the relationship in this way: The bond between mother and daughter is important in most sodeties. It is particularly strong where there is marked separaticn between the sodal w o r l d of men and women. In Malta mothers and unmarried daughters spend much time i n each cither's company. The daughter helps in the house; performs domestic chores for her mother, and grows u p under her close supervision. A pattern of mutual aid and companionship is established from an early age. After marriage this companionship continues though it changes in charada-. (Boissevain, 1969, p. 18) The mc3ther-son relationship is also very dose initially. However, scon afta" the boy enters school he moves away from his mother into the male world, seeking the ccmpany of fatha- and trothers and friends. The dose but diffa-ent nature of the mother's relationship with son and daughter are espedally ^Abela classifies housework as unskilled manual work. significant in the light of what was said in an earlier section about its influence on later adult intimate relaticnships. The wcman in Malta is immersed i n the intimate interpersonal world throughout her life. Separation and individuation are not very prcminent themes in her life, unlike the boy's experience It seems that within this social arrangement women are even more likely to need and pursue intimacy in love relationships and m a i more likely to be independent and withdrawn. Furthermore, the mother's dose companionship after marriage could provide the married daughter with a substitute fcr the husband's lack of affedion and attention. The improvement of the quality of life in Malta is making marriage less of an econcmic struggle for survival and pladng the quality of the relationship in greater prominence. In addition the increasing proportion of dual income couples is undermining the traditional male dominance of the world of work and money: in a random survey of 467 adults 17% d the wemen claimed to be the chief wage-earners of the family, as opposed to 64% of the men (Abela, 1991). In the less traditicnal couple rdationship, where all of this comes to a head, women seek more intimacy and rdatedness from thar husbands and m a i expa"ience a crisis of identity. They no longer perceive themselves as having a unique rde, and are inept at the more feminine role expeded from them hy their wives. This is similar to what is happening in other western countries at present. The resolution of this difficulty is essential to the survival of marriage and family as a central institutions i n Malta. This resolution can only be solved if the gender revolution taking place in the world of work is extended to the domain of the family and the couple relationship. In short when a man and a woman marry in Malta, their relationship is heavily influenced by religion and family. Thdr ethnic cultural values provide t h a n with strong motivation to stay together and to tderate each other. They also contribute a tendency to resign oneself and let the relationship stagnate. However rapid sodal change is affeding this system: s tr id traditional gender differentiation is g iv ing way to a more integrated and mutual form in rdationships. Despite the tension betweai traditional and mere affluent modern lifestyles, "the Maltese as a whole d a i m to be far happier than most of the Europeans" (Abela, 1991, p. 41). CHATTER m METHODOLOGY Melhndrlcglcal Issues in fiie Stud^ of Love RdaUcn^ps over Time A subject under investigation, by its very nature imposes its own unique demands and limitations on methoddogy. The selection of a research paradigm is contingent on the fit between paradigm assumptions, and the phenomenon to be studied (Guba & Linedn, 1981). The assumptions underlying the thane d love relationships over time had to be idai t i f ied before any "sensible methods decisions" could be taken (Patton, 1990, p.39): 1. Love rdationships are hdist ic processes: A process is charaderized hy motion and diange. Frem the moment d thdr fermatien, relationships follow a complex dynamic path. The relevant question in studying such a process is "how." Only in this way can the fullness of a relationship be captured. Several studies of rdationships ask "what." Tesdi (1985), fcr instance, asks what the gaider r d e oriaitation best assodated with intimacy is. Her conclusicn is that the highest level of intimacy exists between partners w h o are both faninine i n orientation. A s a result d this, and many dher such studies, we know m u d i of the desirable and undesirable outcomes and attributes of relationships, but we can only link these together by inferaice and speculation. It is only by viewing love as a natural, unitary process that a continuous course of development can be empirically identified. 2. This proœss is non-linear: Linearity implies an unswerving, straightforward pattern along one dimension. Love relationships do not progress in such a direct fashion. Like other enduring life tasks, the course is marked hy advances and setbacks along several dimensicns: the personal levd, the dyadic, the familial, social, and others. The motion, if it has any regularity, is cyclical or spiral rather than progressively. As Cochran (1990) states, "Meaningful experiences are characterized by repetition and rhythm of a configuration of demants" (p. 11). The couple r e w o k d d issues that arise in new guises. G i v a i this f luid movannent, measuremait along given pdnts in time^ such as pretest-posttest designs, or survey studies, are inadequate to the task of presenting a detailed picture d the ups and downs d relating. The logical researdn alternative is a descriptive design, whidn can yield ddai led information on patterns d rdating. Furthermore, a love relationship is multidimensional and complex. A t any one point i n time^ a multitude of fadors, processes, pa"scnal charaderisties, and drcumstantial occurrences, can be observed in a particular state of balance. This balance is f luid and continually shifting. In this sense, a rdationship cannd be conceived according to the Humean notion of a dnain d causes and effeds (Manias & Secord, 1983). For the sake d researdn and analysis, it can be better conceived as a unit of research (Giorgi, 1975), composed of interadions and interading with the w o l d . 3. Relationships are subjective experiences: Gender differences i n relationships arise from differing perceptions, experiences, and the value placed upon them by the individual . In order to understand the meaning and 1^  For a discussion of the merits of perceiving life events in a cyclical rather than hnear manner see Kegan (1982, p. 108-110) significance of these experiences, they must be vieweci from with in the perspective of the person. Spence (1982) distinguishes between narrative and historical truth. Roughly rendered these two "truths' coincide with subjective, metaphoric representation, and the objective, factual reporting of events. His argument is that narrative truth is more significant than actual fact i n understanding experience. The methods best suited to the study of subjectivity are phenomenological research (Patton, 1990) and the Q-sorting method (Stephenson, 1980). 4. Love relationships constitute a system of multiple realities: Since perceptions determine how persons construe reality, there is no cne objective reality, certainly not in the case d a couple Within such a relaticnship at least three realities operate: his, hers, and theirs. Other additional realities of such related individuals as parents, or children, may also impinge cn the relationship. This interdependence, and inter-affectivity, indicates that the couple relaticnship is a system within a larger social system. To complicate matters further, a perscn's percqjtion of a relationship is a composite of her perceptions, and her unda-standing of others' perceptions. A coherent account of such a ccmplex system must start by ddining which perspective; or perspectives, wi l l be studied. Systemic theorists, for example; place the main focus on the joint perspective held in commcn by members in the system (Napia- & Whittaka-, 1978). The study of other perspectives is also necessary. 5. Love relationships have both unique and common characteristics: studying what is unique yields different, but equally valuable information, from the study of common experiences. The first shows how the indiv idua l transforms a common path to a unique one. Most couples move from a honeymoon phase to a more realistic time, bwt not all couples emerge frcm this phase i n the same way: seme s é p a r â t s e m e stay happily married, otha-s resign themsdves to a burdensome marriage. The outcome is deta-mined by the unique qualities of each couple. Because of the need for generalizability, it is the ccmmon aspects erf relaticnships, and gender-in-rdating, that have beai the most popular focus erf study. If both angles are explored, we would not only have a fuller understanding of common and unique factors, we would also be able to identify more subtle sub-commonalities that elude the researdier crf^  a ta-oader, but less discerning, scope of study. The best way to approadi a study erf unique and sub-common components is through the use of a case study approach. 6. Relationships are affected by culture: The subjective experience of rdat ing is governed by an individual meaning system. As Mishler (1986) states, "Meanings are centextually grounded" (p. 117). For this reason culture, as a predominant context, is a significant influendng factor in love relaticnships. Furthermore, s u d i complex hiehaviour as relating can only be explored with rda-ence to the particular context within which it occurs because "any account erf sodal behaviour requires that we understand the sodal meanings that inform it" (Hammersley and Atkinson, 1983, p. 9). Given these arguments, it follows that the study of relating in ene particular cultural group cannot be unreservedly generalized to anotha-. It is only by studying relationships in several natural contexts that a ful l understanding erf the phenemaien can be obtained. These observations point to the need for a discriminative cultural sensitivity i n the researcher and the research design. 7. The process of relating is a complex higher order phenomenon, constituted of lower fundions and regulating them Both Harre, Qark & De Carlo (1985), and Taylor (1973) propose a three tiered hierarchy that conceptualizes psychological being. Each particular level requires a different mode of explanation, and therefore a diffa-ent method of enquiry. At the bottom of the hierarchy, human behaviour is made up of what Harre and his assodates describe as "automatic, unmonitored reflex responses" (p.23). Taylor calls these human "capacities." This is a domain which can best be explained by experimental research methods because the unit of study is a pure physical response to a stimulus. The second level is that of "competence" (Taylor, 1973), or "informaticn processing," where stimuli and responses are aggregated into coherait groups. At the top of the hierarchy, there is the domain where meaning and motivation are located. It is the "main controller of action and experience" (Harre et al, p. 29). Taylor, somewhat vaguely, calls this "Performance" At this level, numerous action and reaction groups come together under the directicn of the individual 's intentions, motives, and hope. The cœtents of this higher demain stretch into time, and are d e ^ l y intertwined in thar sodal context. They can therefore only be studied in their manifestation over time, and i n the environment within which they occur. In their totalities, love relationships and the experiences of gender are essentially life processes that engage such higher supa- ccnsdous abilities as purpose in life; outlook, meaning, and ideals. For this reason they fall into the higher domain and are organizing prindples which dired and explain behaviour and adion. The darification of these seven charaderistics serves three purposes, as far as the methodology of this study is concerned. First, they constitute an operational conceptualization of love relationships as a w h d e Seœndly, they identi fy the researcher's methodological presuppositions regarding the phenomenon. Rnally, they point to the complexity of the issue to be studied, and provide criteria on which to base specific methoddqgical decisions. In response to the complexity, two limiting boundaries wa-e set to make the area ct exploration more manageahJe. In the first place, only one culture was studied, in spite of the fact that a comparative study between cultures w o u l d have provided valuable infcrmation. The second delimiting factcr was that cnly cne perspective in the couple relationship was explored (the participant's own perspective), even though other perspectives, most particularly, the spouses' perception of the participant, could have shed valuaUe light on the issues that arose. Design The purpose of this study was to construct oomparabJe gaider accounts of being in a relationship. A mixed multiple case study design was selected, with a qualitative and quantitative component. Since the objective is the pursuit erf subjective, individual realities over a period of time, cn the qualitative side a narrative approach has been chœen. Several methodologists erf the narrative tradition pcjnt out that we organize meaning and ©cperience in a storied manner (McAdams, 1988; Mishler, 1986; Ochberg, 1988; Pdkinghorne, 1988). In line with this methexl, partidpants (henceforth called co-researciiers to designate their role i n this type d study more accurately) were asked to tell the story of their rdationship as they saw it, focusing en their differences, and how these were, or are, b a n g resdved. In bdween interviews, a Q-sorting exa-dse was introduced as the quantitative element in the study. The design i n detail is set down bdow: step 1: Seardi for co-research e s ancJ screening interview. Step 2: Primary narrative inteview. Step 3: Q-sort exercise. Step 4: Q-sort analysis and generation of prcibes fcr second interview. S t ^ 5: Secondary elaborating interview with probes. S t ^ 6: Interview transcription and analysis. Step 7: Integration of data from interviews and Q-scrt into a narrative account of each individual. Step 8: Co-researcihe evaluative feedbac3c on own account. Step 9: Independent reviewer's evaluative feedback. Step 10: Comparison of case studies and extraction cf common processes *• and individual themes. This design, with some slight variations has been applied to other studies of human subjective meaning, namely the effect of family rc]ie on career (Chusid, 1987), and transformations in human agency (Laub^ 1990). The cpalitative part was selected because, as described above, it is partiœlarly suited to the theme under study. The quantitative element was included for three reasons: First, in order to support the qualitative data by introducing a form of triangulation (Patton 1990); Second, to deepen the qualitative element, by using the results from a quantitative measure, as a source for further elabcration, in the second interview. In this way, areas not suffidently explored, or left out altogether, we-e broached by means of probes in the second interview. The third reason for inserting the Q-sort into the study was to provide a comparative theoretical base i n the interviews. The Q-sort was construded primarily from the previous research findings described in the literature review. For this reason, Q-sort results provided additicnal information regarding the validity and applicability of present theories. GiHcseaniicrs: The participants in this study were referred to as co-researchers. The ta-m was deliberately chosen, because it implies a fuller, more influential, r d e for the participants i n this study. The interviewing model adopted in this study is a cdlabcrative cne, based on the one proposed by Mishler (1986). It was selected because the information sought in this study could n d be cabserved, measured or inferred. Subrjective contextual experiences could only be obtained by vduntary, cxjoperative description: the participant is the expert and the researcher is the t o d by which the required knowledge emerges. The research data was constructed with participants rather than extracted from them. In this sense they were co-researchers and were empowered as such in the initial stages d the research. This form of empcwa-ment proved to be very baieficial in the course d the research. The atmosphere d respect it engendered, enabled a better rapport between researcher and co-researcher. In a c:ulture where confidentiality is very important, empowerment to negdiate what personal details to reveal gave the participants a feeling of safety. Finally, the egalitarian atmosphere of the interviews gave co-researchers the freedom, and confidence, to point out misinterpretations, and misunderstandings, on the researcher's part. This enhanced the accuracy d the information gatha-ed. The interview was perceived as a process i n v d v i n g the joint construction d meaning: an opai , negotiative dialogue between researcher presuppositions. and co-researcher experience and reflection. In such a data gathering arrangement, researcher and co-researdier are both fully engaged i n the process. The objective, experimenter distance of the positivist paradigm is abandoned; the consequence is full dialectical interactivity (Guba & Lincoln, 1989; Patton, 1990; Giorgi, 1975). Within sudi a set up, the researcher was affected by the researdier and vice v e s a . The advantage was that skilfull researdi a- readions can increase the sophistication and depth of the enquiry. Five heterosexual married couples partidpated i n the study. Their ages ranged from 30 to 36 years. A l l had been married for bdween six and ten years. Their sodal background, by education and lifestyle, was mostly middle dass. A l l the men had some form of tertiary level training and were engaged in professional or business careers. The women had all completed high schod, one had a professional degree, cne had completed upper-secondary schod, and andher was in the process of obtaining a prdessicnal cetificate. C o n s i d m n g family of origin, and father's occupation, about one third d co-researchers came from working class families, the rest were middle-class. Couples were seleded on the basis d : duration of marriage quality d marriage; together with ability and willingness to partidpate fully i n the study. Co-researchers were also required to be; or have been in the recent past, adively engaged i n dealing with differences. The presence d this quality was assessed in the initial screeiing interview. The duration d marriage required d co-researchers was set between five and ten years. Within this period of time the couple were assumed to be i n various stages of resdving differences. Rve years of marriage was considered to be, on average, ample time for the honeymoon phase to diminish, and for differenœs to emerge and take root in the relationship. The ten year limit was set in order to capture the resdution, or the process d achieving it, at a time when it is still a recent experience, and the memcry of it is less distorted by time, reflection, and later experience. The need for l u d d i t y and accuracy of the accounts was considered to be of greater importance than dosure of resoluticn. Although there is clearly some resdutien in successful relaticnships, it would be unrealistic to assume that there is tda l closure. Indeed one can argue that as Icng as the relationship lasts, generation of difference and resolution is an ongoing process, and one can never really draw a ddinite line where resolution can be considered complete. The impcrtant observation here, is that since we have no clear way d delineating a cycle d conflid and resolution, the narratives d these couples may he incomplde i n the sense that their styles d dealing with each dher's differences may still be unfdding. A second cmdit ion determining the seledicn d co-researchers was the quality of marriage. The couples who partidpated described themselves as having a satisfying marriage Their percepticn of the marriage was realistic i n that they attributed success mainly to their struggle to make the relationship work, rather than to external or unexplainable fadors. This ensured that t h ^ were mdivated and adively engaged in working out differences. They did n d perceive thdr relationships in a fairy tale manner either: as the initial screening interview demonstrated, these couples were not strangers to conf l ids and setbacks in the relationship. The fruitfulness of the study depended on the articulât en ess and awareness d co-researdia-s. It was therdore expeded that co-researchers' sodo-economic status and level of education would be mainly professional. The interviews were conducted in the co-researchers language of choice. A few chose Maltese; some English, most chose to speak both. The interview material was translated to English. The Saeening ftrouess Co-researchers were referred to me via intermediary contacts. A screaiing interview was held in ordo" to clarify what was involved in the study, and to determine volunteers' suitability for the study. Ground rules regarding confidentiality were identified; both researcher, co-researdier expectations and gains wa-e clarified. In return for thar participation, co-researchers were offered a copy of their transcripts, and a negotiated number of hours cf free counselling or educational sessions on completion of the research study. To determine whether co-researchers had indeed experienced difference and attempts at rescJution, a twofold evaluative exercise was devised. Since this study examines individual perceptions, it was considered appropriate to use the screening exercise to sample the prospective co-researchers' awareness and perception of experience, rather than resort to the more traditional practice of obtaining objective measurements on the desired quality. The criterion, in this case; was not to select a group falling between certain measures on a parameter, but determining the richness of the person's perceptioi and awareness of the issue. First, co-researches were individually asked to plot their experience of difference by year on a graph (see Appendix I). This task was assigned to tap the existence and acuteness of the felt difference. The assumption was that the stronger the felt difference, the richer and the more thematically distinctive the descriptions. Another requirement was that the graph pattern shifted from initially low to a higher l evd with time, indicating an ideal unrealistic phase with a later increasing of interpersonal awareness. Where this pattern d id not exist the reason for the anomaly was clarified. Deviations to the pattern were due to situatioial factors affecting the rdationship (e.g., different sodal backgrounds). These drcumstantial differences were taken into account and distinguished from gaider differences. The purpose of the second task was to estatiish that the couple was or had adual ly been engaged in resolution. This exerdse consisted of construding a visual metaphor to the cue "my experience of dealing with our differences." The use of mdaphcTic representaticn in this context was chosen for several reasons, the primary one being that it "provides a record of the advandng thought system" (McKim, 1972, p. 10), and can therefore indicate the quality of the presence of the desired characteristic There are also other reasons. The ideographic quality of the metaphor provides a coitrasting, but compatible, source of information with the interviewing and Q-scrting. In some cases, rderence to the metaphor in the interviewing stage lata- on helped devdop new insights (Amundsen, 1988). Finally, in my experience^ I have found that sharing a metaphor is a seemingly innocuous and safe way of sharing something deep and pa-sonal. Since self-disclosure tends to foster intimacy (Jourard, 1971), this method of screening enhances the rapport building required of initial contad. It also maintains the spirit of the desired researcher/co-researcher relationship advocated in this study. The Frïmar/ biterview The quahtative portion of the data gathering was spread over two interviews: the initial narrative interview and the elaborative interview. The purpose the initial interview was to mnstruct the s t a y the relationship from the vantage point of the co-researcher. The period covered spanned from the initial m e d i n g with the partna- to the time of the interview. The co-researdier was aicouraged to narrate the course of the couple relationship from their own perspective, focusing on the harmony between them, the diffa-ences that emerge with time (especially those pertaining to gender), and how these were resolved (or were in the process erf b a n g resolved). The primary interviews lasted from 1-3 hours. The Interviewing style selected was neither totally open ended nor fully structured. Instead a kind erf guided open style was selected. At the start of the interview, the co-researchers were asked to draw a timeline; marking the key events in their relationship. In addition, an interview guide was constructed to help the researcher ensure that the major points were covered, and to help the co-researcher stay on track (see Appendix II). In such a style erf research the impact of research a-'s presuppositions can be detrimental if not identified and considered. I agree with Giorgi's (1975) view that although a presuppositionless attitude is ideal an the part of the researcher, this is humanly impossihJe The next best alta-native is to "admit as explidtly as possible the presuppositions that do exist" (p. 101). On a theoretical level, this exa-dse has been carried out in previous sedions of this study. On a pradical level, as a researdi er, I strove to be aware of my own reactions and thoughts, during the interviewing and analysis. I strove to differentiate b d w e a i personal ccnclusions and the co-researcher's perspective^ in order to better unda-stand the second. In some cases, wha-e my own pr^udices interfered with understanding, I admitted my different perspective to the co-researcha-, and asked for additional help in understanding his, or her, perspective. The Q-sort The origin of the Q-sorting technique dates back to 1953, when it was developed by W. Stephenson. It has since then been applied to an exhaustive list of topics (ft-own, 1986), including areas related to this study, notably attachment (Kobak & Sceery, 1988; Waters & Deane^ 1985), and couple similarity i n world view over time (Stephen & Markman, 1983). Strong reliability of the Q-technique^ in the region of .9, has been empirically established for the short term hy Frank (1956), and for longer intervals, ranging from 11 months to two years, hy Kerlinger (1973), and Fairweather (1981). The value of this technique for this particular study lies mainly in its ability to provide methodologically sound, quantitative measures cf subjective perceptions and personal meanings. It was also appropriate because it fitted with the qualitative aspect of the study, enhancing the scope, d ^ t h and applicability of the study. The use d this procedure required: (a) identificaticn of the topics to be desCTibed by the sorting, (b) identification of the sampling area from which Q-sort items to be presanted for sorting were selected, and (c) development cf an item concourse Topics: Key events d the relaticnship. In this study the Q-technique was used to explore co-researchers' perceptions of their love relaticnship, in each of the key events they idait i f ied in their primary interview. By Q-sorting each main event of the relationship, a numerical picture of its development over time was acquired, identifying the main conca-ns of eadi event. The data, as was expected, provided a focused idea of how the relationship fared in ta-ms of gender diff a-ences and the degree of resdution achieved. The sampling area. The purpose d the Q-sort was to relate evidence emerging from this study to extant thecry, and to complement the inta-viewing hy revealing what was left out in the initial interview, or was worth further investigation. The thematic focus was on gaider difference and resolution, therefore the sampling area had to provide a spectrum of diff a-ences and harmcny factors. The material selected for the sampling area was taken from empirical and theoretical researdi in love, marital rdaticns, attachment theory, and gender in rdating. Development of items. The Q-sort was construded, piloted, and streamlined i n a rigorous manna-. The details of this procedure are set down below: 1. The initial step i n v d v e d compiling as comprehaisive as possible a p o d of literature, that made relevant empirical or theoretical propositions. From these propositions simplified statements of difference, or relationship quality were extracted. Care was taken in this step to preserve the exact meaning of the propositions made by the original researcher. 2. The statements were grouped into clusters, i n order to make them mere manageable, and to identify similar and overlapping propositions. The resulting clusters were the f d l o w i n g : perception of the relationship. perception of self in the relationship, attachment style, conflict style, harmony factors ego boundaries and adjustment indicators. 3. The statanaits within eadi dusta- were translated into the language style and format most suitable to the Q-sort. Care was taken to render each statement into non-technical and easily understandable language. Statements were formulated as condsdy as possiUe to fadlitate the task of the evaitual sorters. Sometimes one word sufficed, in other cases a whole sentence was necessary. The words seleded for each item were either neutral, or positive, or mildly negative to avoid any possible bias i n the respondent's sorting. At this point, a dedsicn was taken regarding the best tense to use for the itans. Since the items were to be sorted fcr both past and present conditions it was considered more appropriate to use the present tense for two reasons. First of all, sorting items written in the past tense, but referring to the present, is a rather incongruous procedure Seccndly, i n scrting the items for a past phase, the use of present tense may h d p to put the sorter into more immediate contad with the past, by requiring him or her to enter into the past phase as if it wa-e happening now. Finally the items were re-written in the first person and made self referent. For instance: the statanent "In conflid women tend to be more emotional than men," was translated into "In a conflid I am emotional." 4. The next step involved streamlining the Q-sort items. This involved removing repetition and overlap to reduce the number of items into a more manageable size. At this point, the problems of perspective and pdarit ies were also faced. The issue of pdar i ty arose mainly with the propositions f r a n gender researdi, which tended to be phrased in the pattern of "women are thus and men are n d , " or vice versa. Having too m u d i d these polarities in the Q-sort could have encouraged the Q-sorter to align with one consistent view, and in this way bias the study. On the other hand, some pdarities are adually qualitatively different in their meaning. For example, being dependent is different f rcm merely n d b d n g independent. In these cases eadi i t a n was individually considered. Where differaices in meaning were found, the 'pdar' items were retained. In cases where the pdarity was dear, the i tans were integrated to sharpen the meaning of the item, as in "In a confl id I am emotional rather than calm," cr one of the opposites was left out altogether on the assumption that a low rating cn one opposite would indicate an endorsement d the dher. In ta-ms of perspedive, the statements drawn from the literature were framed i n various ways. Harmony literature propositions, for example, tended to be written in the first perscn plural (we). A l l the items were re-written in the first person singular. In this way all items were made to refer to the sorter's perceptions d herself, or himself, in the rdaticnship: "We are committed" was dianged to "committedH," and " M y I^nstructions require the sorter to understand this phrase in reference to the self. spouse unda-stands me" was changed to "Feel as understood as I would l ike to be." 5. Next, the refined items wo-e rediecked against the original propositions drawn from the lito-ature. The challenge ha"e was to retain conciseness and rdinement, and at the same time remain as faithful as possible to the nuances and specific meanings of each propositi cn. 6. Once completed, the Q-sort was piloted cn a married couple coming from a culture similar to the Maltese^^. Their feedbacic regarding clarity of language, ease of sorting, and representativeness of the items, was solicited and used to perform the final alterations to the Q-scrt. The couple also helped to identify areas of emphasis which wa-e absent in the research but relevant i n the Mediterranean œlture. These final changes included re-wording some items to improve clarity, removing one item that was repetitious, and including three new items that were not represented i n the lita-ature, but were nevertheless important components cf a love relationship (items 47, 48, 49). The resulting Q-sort was made up of 49 items (see Appendix III). Each one was typed on a card i n preparation for the sorting procedure. The Q-sorting exercise. The Q-scrt was administered from one to two weeks fo l lowing the primary interview. The co-researchers were reminded of the key events they described i n the previous interview, and asked to Q-sort each of the events identified. The instructions given during the exercise wa-e as fcilows: l^They were Argentinians of Spanish origin. 1. These cards contain various descriptions of relationships. You are going to use these cards to describe your rdationship at each of the spedal points you mentioned i n the last interview. Take up the cards, read each one and place it in front of you. Do this with all the cards until the are all laid out on the tahJe in front of you. 2. Take a while to look at all of them togethe, become familiar with than. 3. Rck up all the cards, make them into one pile, and shuffle them like a dedc of playing cards. 4. Now we are going to rder to the first evait you mentiaied (idaitify event). Put yourself back into that time as you read each card again, and place it into one of three piles: most like me at the time, least like me at the time, and a neutral pile i n the middle. The piles must be roughly equal. 5. Next, you w i l l sort the cards into 7 piles having the f d l o w i n g number d cards in them: 3-6-9-13-9-6-3, and ranging from most like you to least like you. This is how you do it: 6. Starting with the "most like you pile," s d e d the three most like you, then the next six, and finally the next nine. You can draw cards from the middle pile if you need to. 7. Do the same with the "least like you" pi le 8. Put the remaining 13 cards in the middle. 9. Check the sorting. Change the cards if you are n d satisfied and make sure that each category has the oorred number d cards. At the end d the sorting the position d the cards is recorded. Then the cards are shuffled and the next event for the sorting is identified. Q-an al y si s. Each i t a n on the Q-scrt is assigned a value ranging from 7 to 1, d ^ e n d i n g on the category within which it is placed. The corresponding value for each category is depicted below: Most like me Least like me Q-pile 3 6 9 13 9 6 3 Q-value 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Based on these values a correîaticn matrix was constructed for each co-researcher using the sorting trials as the correlation variables. F d l o w i n g this, a principal components analysis was performed on the data. This procedure clustered the descriptors and generated two hypothetical components that captured the majcrity d the variance in the data The first component accounted for the most variance and the second captured the next greatest variance. These amalgamations d the data provided the dominant patterns of the rdationships as they had been perceived by the co-researcher. In order to facilitate interpretation, factor scores were converted to Z-scores and represented graphically. In addition, the factcr loadings for each item were used to ccnstruct prcbes for the second interview. The basic evidence from eadi individual 's Q-results are presented in the case studies. They were n d elaborated upon further because their primary purpose in this case was their integration w i t h the narrative The El^xxative Interview In this interview the principle findings of the Q-sort analysis were communicated to the co-researcher, who was then asked to elaborate on these points, and to relate them to the mata-ial provided in the previous inta-view. In many cases the person's own understanding of the Q-sort items had to be clarified in orda- to ensure the accuracy d the Q-sort results. For instance the item "Need privacy" was interpreted by one co-researcher as: "Have secrets which I do nc* tell;" and by her spouse as "Do not tolerate interference from family." The co-researchers were reassured that this was done to enhance the meaning of the Q-data and the interview, rather than dispute and verify their expo-ience. At this point, having examined the primary interview material of each pa-son, I also had additional questions to ask. These questions were mostly different fcr each co-researcher, since they were based on previous interview material. Because of the increased rapport by this time, these secondary interviews provided richer information, espedally with regards to the co-researcher's personal readions and thoughts about the events described i n the previous interview. The duration of the elaborative interviews was from 1-4 hours, the longer ones were split into two sessions. This interview marked the end d the data gathering stage. The next phase involved the integration and inta-pretation of the data. Data Inl^raUon and Analysis First, a narrative account was construded for each co-researcher t>ased on the interviews and the Q-sorts. The strands presented by the co-researcher i n the interviews are drawn together into a coherent, patterned whole. This involved ordering the co-researdiers' statanaits chrondqgically. A s far as possible the co-researcher's own language was used. When the narratives were completed they were subjected to a second opinion (the supervisor), in order to ensure their soundness and accuracy. Further validation of the narratives was sought in the form of a self-review by the co-researchers. They were asked to review the narrative i n terms of its accuracy and comprehensiveness. Final validation was acquired by submitting the narratives to the evaluation of an independent reviewer (a doctoral counselling psychology student). This reviewer was asked to assess whether there were any significant omissicns or distortions in the narrative accounts. The last step consisted of putting the narratives tcjgether in order to (a) compare the sexes, (b) search for overall commonalities, (c) relate findings to thecry, and (d) make cultural observaticais. The processes of data integration and analysis are described in greater ddails in the follc3wing chapters. CHAPTER IV RESULTS CASE STUDIES This diapter deals with the results of the study. The quantitative and qualitative data fcr eadi of the ten case studies is recorded below. The layout of each case study consists of a brief biographical description, the results of the pr indpal components analysis, and the personal narrative. This last item is a detailed descriptive t rad based primarily on the mata-ial obtained through the interviews. Great care was taken in writing it, i n order to make it representative of the narrator, in content, spirit, as well as style. The interview material was minimally edited in order to organize it. Wha-e translation from Maltese was necessary, care was taken to convey the exad meaning of the co-researcher. In a few cases it was necessary to sacrifice style and proper usage, resulting in dumsy wcrding. Fcr the most part the co-researcher's exact words are used. Each personal narrative was submitted to the narrator and an independent reviewer for comment and validation. In this way omissions and distortions were correded, the narrative was refined, and assurance was obtained from the co-researchers that their confidentiality was being proteded. Comments given by the co-researchers and the ind^endent reviewers are recorded at the end of this chapta-. C O U P L E L TAMES A N D TERESA Case Study One James James is 33 years old, the eldest of four siblings (cne brother and two sisters). James has been married to Teresa for six and a half years. They have two children. David is five and a half and Christopha- is four. James wcrks as a diredor and part-owner of a small business. Prindpal component analysis. The first component accounts for 40% of the Variance in Q-Sorts. The Fador loadings of evaits show considerable variation, ranging frcm a high of .897 to a low of -.337. In general, loadings were high and positive espedally bidore marriage After that there is more variaticn as the loadings drop in the peak moments of the relationship. To define this compcnent, all item fador scores exceeding plus or minus L 5 were extraded. These items are listed below i n order of magnitude, and phrased to indicate what a positive event loading means: Vulnerable and easily hurt (1.97) Nc3t playful Need and depend on my partner (-1.92) ( 1.90) Do not feel as understood as I would like to be (-1.69) Emotional rather than calm in conflid ( 1.60) Not passionate (-1.59) Do not have fears and doubts about the relationship (-1.52) The second compcnent accounts for 19% of the variance in Q-Sorts. The factor loadings of events range from a high of .837 to a low of -.451. Gradually and cydically over the course of the relationship, factor loadings have risen, for the most part in an inverse pattern with the first component. In order of magnitude, the items that define this fador are listed below, and phrased to indicate a positive score Do not have fears and doubts about relationship (-2.35) Do not sometimes feel londy (-2.24) Experience harmcny i n the relationship ( 2.09) Feel united ( 2.02) Do not withdraw in conflid (-1.64) Do not l ike to be in control of rdaticnship (-1.53) A third component was considered because it proved to bie highly significant in the co-researcher's experience. The third ccmponent accounts for 9% of the variance. The fador loadings of events ranges from 0.725 to -.567 making it the compcnent with the greatest variation. The loadings generally rise and fall, with great variation before the marriage and to a lesser degree after that. The items making up this compcnent are listed below in crder erf magnitude phrased to indicate the positive score: Does not need economic stabihty (-2.55) Do not understand partner very w d l (-2.49) Do not l ike to be ind^endent (-2.26) Do not feel united (-1.80) Somdimes feel lonely (1.75) Vulno-able and easily hurt Need and depend cn partner (1.63) (1.57) With seme deviaticns, the relationship can be diaracterized from James' perspective as his 'real ' self, one in which he is vulnerable, serious and dependant upon Ta-esa, although he is not passionate or filled with doubt. He does not feel as understood as he would like to be and in conflid, tends to be emotional. Gena-ally strengthening over the course d the rdaticnship is an ideal self, charaderized by a saise of harmony and unity, without fears and doubts or londiness. He has tended to withdraw less from conflid and want less ccntrd as the relationship progressed. A wavering not very prominent thread weaving through all of this is a desire to merge with Teresa, to reduce the demands of career and focus on understanding her and uniting with ha*. Personal narrative. While James' parents were very good-hearted and religious, somdhing went very wrong in the family. They emphasized obeying rules and being good, but there was little communication or show of affedion. James did not hug his sisters or his father, nor kiss his mother. A n d now he feels dissatisfied and disappointed, there is not much family feeling, although he still feels dose to his mother. With other family members, there is very little affection. James experienced his family as being bound by a rdaticnal pattern which, although not a negative one, for h i m lacked the punch of healthy family l iv ing. Not finding the interpersonal contad at home James came unda- peer group influaice perhaps to a greater degree than other adolescents. A n early run i n with some disruptive friends led h i m dangerously dose to a shallow, deœptive pattern of behaviour. Fortunately this dianged when James turned to a religious group which gave h i m the sense of belonging and warmth he longed for, and eventually also the core of Oiristian values he bdieves in with great c o i v i d i o n . Around this time James met Teresa at a New Year's Eve party and felt very attraded, a physical attradion. 9 ie seaned so different from other girls, just stood out. A n d as the party went alcng, both James and Teresa realized that something of significance was happening. It was a very intense experience From the beginning, the relationship had a serious tone James had just resigned from a secure wdl-paying job to take a less well-paying job that offered great a" prospeds for advancement. He was in the middle of a career transition and found that he could talk to Teresa about his work. It seemed to strengthen the rdaticnship, allowing Teresa to see qualities erf James that he was scarcely aware of at the time The rdationship was never rosy, all roses and U o c m , but developed rather with the tone of serious things happening that had to be discussed. Should James study full-time to be a Chartered and Certified Accountant? Should he try to work and study at the same time? What should he do? These kinds of questions preoccupied them in discussions as they began to go out together. The issue of work and career was very important for James and as the rdationship began to grow stronger, his latest career dedsion to wcrk and study towards an accounting degree did not prove to be an easy choice. The next 3 years were very unstable and unrewarding for James in this resped. The change was traumatic and the study periods were difficult. He drifted hopefully from one job to another searching for a place that would meet his needs and struggled to make it through his exams. He found m u d i peace and rdief in his heart to heart sessions with Teresa. He unburdened his career concerns, grateful that Teresa could l is toi and unda-stand, yet with a feeling of guilt that so much time in the relatienship was focused cn him and his career trouties. This was the start of the close interadion between career and relationship. The attempt to balance the two is the pervading theme that runs through James' experience i n his rdaticnship with Ta-esa. Straight away James also spcke to Teresa about the Christian community he fcrmed part of. He had hieen in this group for several years and the intimacy and support erf the group gave him a sense erf trust and freedom with the other members. James had always been a person erf friends, not much erf a family person. Trusting friends came easily to h im and he was often influenced by them. Teresa was in contrast a person df the family and of few very close and constant friends. She came from a tag family where brothers and sisters communicated freely and where family unity was given a lot erf importance She wasn't much of a sodalite, unlike James, and she was also a person erf strcng pa-sonal resolve, not easily swayed hy otha-s. When James began to speak to Teresa about the community he was impressed hy her attitude. She was sensitive and œncerned, va-y interested in what was happai ing in the group, espedally what was happening in James. He began to discover a side of Teresa which he admired a great deal and which also perhaps left h im a little bit in awe of her at the time. Teresa had the capadty of standing back from things she was interested in and examining them very insightfully in an bbjedive disinterested manner. For James, w h o was a person ci strong emotions and intense invdvement, this was a very mature and strong attitude. Yet he could also see where Teresa needed to grow. She could not understand the doseness in the group. For all her maturity Teresa could n d feel comfortable with the familiarity which gave James a wonderful being at home feeling. At first James feared that Teresa may have been jealous of his involvanent with dher girls in the group, and this caused quite a bit d fr idion between them at the time. Eventually Teresa jdned the group and with time she began to unwind and fed a part d it. James grew doser and dosa- to Teresa, in spite (or perhaps as a result) d the fridions and the external pressures in his l i fe He felt at peace with ha". Finally he had found someone with whom he could risk b d n g really himself. Sometimes he felt he could trust her with his real self more than he could trust himself. His yearning for understanding was f i l led by Teresa's interest and ccncern and his constant feeling of vulnerability was fortified by the straigth he derived from the relaticnship. It all fd t very healthy and good to him. The beautiful p idure was shatta-ed by an event which hurt and disturbed James terribly. It broke him. Teresa questioned the relaticnship, she wanted to take a distance from it. His confusion was great. He knew that Teresa still loved him. Then why could she do this to them when things were g d n g so well? He was sure tha-e was nobody else, if there were he would have left her, giving in to his pride and survival instinds. As things were he felt disillusioned, lost, caught in his love and need for Teresa y d crying out for the closeness and bdonging he longed to return to. Career was no longer the most important issue; he focused cn the relationship. His inclination was far, far different from hers. The next bbvious thing for h i m was marriage^ sinœ the relatioiship had been going so well. James l o i g e d f o some form erf stability in his life. W h o i Teresa resolved her relationship issue he suggested they make plans for marriage. He was quite forceful and they made thdr plans: telling their parents, bocking a wedding hall and all the rest. It was an impulsive dedsion and the other members of the Christian community saw through it. They questioned the wisdom of marrying so socn. Teresa could see their point very clearly and James ended up giving i n grudgingly. He could not go cn, sedng hew Teresa felt about it. A part of him also trusted her instincts that this was not right. Nevertheless he was dismayed at having to postpone the wedding. The dedsion proved to be a wise one very soon afta". A very biack cloud loomed up crver the relationship. James' career was nerf going well , it was not going well at all. One day it crashed James was fooed to leave his jcb and give up his studies. He could not decdve himself any m o e . He was doing very bacfly in both and he had lost inta-est. This threw James into a major crisis. His life came to a standstill. What the hell was he going to dd? He could not face people on sodal oocasiens and the inevitable question 'So what are you doing?': He gave vent to his bitterness by becoming the butt of his friend's jcrfces: 'So James, what w o k are you dcing this week?' He withdrew into himself, negleding the relatienship and leaving Teresa to keep it all together as best she could. From her he drew the support that enabJed h i m to survive this turbulait time. Slowly he managed to get to his f e d again. Both Teresa's father and his helped by giving h i m seme part-time work. Gradually he could see a totally new road glimmering on the hcrizon: seJf-emplcymait. This was exdting. It meant freedom from b d n g t d d what to d q from being dependent on the assessment of otha-s, from having to conform. He fdlowed this road fcr a short while until he found a full time jcb in a new area. He learned a lot, he did w d l and derived a lot of satisfaction and some much needed stability. In a pattern which was becoming all too familiar, stattlity on the work front meant that James could concentrate on and contribute more to the relationship. The relationship improved. It was around this time that he and Teresa dedded to marry again. This time they were sure of what they were doing. The period i n bdween the two marriage dedsions had beai a time of intense preparation on a psychdpgical level. The relaticnship had descended from fantasy into reality. Bang in love took on a new mature meaning: it meant understanding, making oneself available to the other. To James especially it meant exposing himself to new ways, shedding some d the roughness and the hardness inside him. James felt very, very strong. His career was bade cn its fed. He could see that between them they had enough to handle a Id ; t h ^ were ready to face the difficxilties of marriage and of life togdher. James was very consdous d their ccmplementarity: where he fdt weak, Teresa was strong and vice versa. He used to t d l Ta-esa that with her at his side he could run all of Malta. Marriage cjuite literally meant starting a new and better life for James. It was a happy event for families and friends alike; but when the last of the confetti were thrown and the couple Idt the wedding hall, a deep calm overtook him. His one thought was: Now we start. They w a e now r id of the influence of the families: they could do things the way they wanted. They were alxxit to onbark on an adventure. They did not know where it was g a n g to lead them. A n d indeed the time between the marriage and the coming of the first child was wcnderful . James could experience new exciting emotions: feelings of great unity, of achievement, of having done something w d l for once in his life without experiendng any setbacks. Things were going so well that he could even see his past painful struggles as positive periods of growth. It all seemed to fit in so nicely together. With Teresa, James discovered a new soisitivity and tenderness. On their wedding night he had been very caring and respectful of Teresa's wishes. (They were both virgins). To-esa had oftai expressed concern about the wedding night. He succumbed to her wil l ingly and peacefully. They discovered sex together gradually. For James sex iDegan to be the ultimate expression of their doseness, the peak of their intimacy. Before marriage he used to think sex was the means to intimacy rather than the end. Where before he thought it was a right or a bonus that came with marriage, now he experienced it as a strong bending that goes beyond the merdy physical. In this lasting honeymocn what James described as his ideal self became va-y prominent for the first time. He felt strcng and ccnfident and able to give in an altruistic manner. His feeling of loneliness was gone, tha-e was no need to take contrd of things; the relationship was a secure one fil led with unity and harmony. For the first time James could percave his personal worth and the pa-scn he could be His self esteem s h d up oonsiderahily. However the black douds were not very far away. Once again they descended on the rdationship as it bloomed with love Teresa went through an intense spiritual retreat experience and cnce more took a step back from the relationship. She began to question everything. James could see in Teresa an urge to move cn, to go beyond the ordinary, to go beyond what they had achieved through all the years to go beyond even the rewards they were reaping in the marriage James had mixed feelings about this side of Teresa. On the one hand he had a deep admiration fcr Teresa's spirituality, her responsiveness to God, the way she detached herself from h im and everything she held dear i n order to determine what God was asking of her. On the other hand James could not understand how Teresa could do somdhing like this, now that the relaticnship was going so well . What else is coming now? What is going to happai? He w o u l d urge Teresa to relax, let go and enjoy l ife A l l to no avail. James's ideal self plummeted. He became jealous and resentful. For h im having her was enough. She meant the world to him. But it was painfully obvious that Teresa did not feel the same way: he was not everything for her. Once more he became vulnerable, insecure and swayed by strong emotions. He d i d not feel understood, nor d i d he feel Teresa understood him. He felt lonely, needing Teresa and wanting to depend on her. More than ever he wanted to merge with her, to become one Ironically, as Teresa moved away he moved doser to her, caught in a strong attraction towards her. For a whi le he put his work and carea" concerns aside and gave the relationship priority. No w it was his turn to keep the relationship togdher while Teresa withdrew. He never lost faith. In spite of the uncertainty and his insecurity, he d id not have strong doubts or fears about the relationship. He knew Teresa loved him. The sacrament of marriage and the vows they had taken in God's presence gave h i m an unshakable confidence. The doseness returned when Teresa became pregnant. This made both of them very, very happy. They wanted children v a y much, as many children as the relationship could handle. One way or another there were going to be children in this family. If they could not have their own, then they would adopt. Their early practice d natural contraception was half-hearted and eagerly abandcsied w h a i they agreed it was time to start a family. The coming of their first son was a great event for James. It evoked the same positive feelings he had experienced with marriage, cnly now they were stronger. A relationship without children was l ike a tree without fruit. A marriage is not a marriage without diildren. Besides James was, in a sense, a man of results. In a child he could touch and feel the fruit of his relationship. A l l i n all, it added up to an intensely fulfilling achievement. When the time came they were well prepared. A s James stood i n the hospital ccrridor waiting to be admitted when the birth was imminent, Teresa handled labour pains with her charaderistic silent w i l l power and endurance. The adual birth was an unforgettahie experience. A l l the queasiness he usually felt at the sight of blood suddenly was no longer there and he took an adive role in the birth. The pride he felt afterwards made him feel six feet tall. His fedings for Teresa hit the sky. Sharing the birth and the child with her was the greatest experience of bending he had ever felt, more powerful than intercourse. After this he could never be unfaithful to ha-, never raise his voice at her again. A l l his feelings and thoughts were for Teresa. For a while the child did not matter. How much he loved her! Then there was the di i ld , his child! A new life to love and nurture. He could see a whole new life opening up to him: fatherhood. The year or so after the birth were a time of closeness and a wonderful family feding. James was very happy caring for Teresa while she cared for the child. Once again his vulnerable, insecure side receded and the strong, confident, altruistic side of h im toe* h d d . He became playful, not dependent, calm, and felt understood. His new son gave his life new meaning and a new reason for Hving. James's role model was St. Joseph the Worker: a loving father and husband, and a hard working provider. Wcrk was his tgggest contribution to the relationship. A s Teresa became pregnant again and cared for the first child, he l ived out this ideal role to the full . The relaticnship flourished. The concerns of career drew James's energies and attention once again, after the birth of his second son. His job had become repetitive and had lost the challoige it once held fcr him. It had become a dead end job. In addition James could not identify with his cdleagues any more. To h i m they appeared to be materialistic pursuing career to the exclusion of family togetherness. James was extremely gratdul to them for having given him a new beginning in the past, but he could not feel as one with them. His values were diffa-ent. Meanwhile there was a new oppo-tunity brewing. The business his father used to run was about to shut down. His father was resigning. James knew enough about the business, having kept the books for a long time, to see that there was potential for profit i n it. In spite of the disorganized way in which it was run it d i d not go under, if he ironed out the obvious flaws and took things into his hands... He did not think his father used to run it well, his brother was a mere employee in the business and not at all interested in a leadership position. So James bought the cxanpany. It was a courageous step for him, a father of two young children with family responsibilities going in for a major investment l ike this. Though the struggle was tough, it was an upward d i m b all the way. It was a tense time fcr James and sometimes his tension seeped into the relationship too. The lag dedsions and everyday diallenges that faced h i m at work forced h im to concentrate on work and take some distance from the family. He used to feel vulnerable, inconfident and not understood until he managed to g d the business running again. He turned to the rdationship in his need, depending on Teresa fcr support and strength. Despite the hardship it was not as harrowing a time as his past career moves had been. This time there was Teresa and the family behind him. Family harmony and the companionship were not very far below the surface tensiois erf the moment. Career crisis and dialloiges trought out the coping insecure side of James, but once he could see results and a soise of achievement s d i n he would become strong, confidait and more giving and attentive again. This was the cycle of James's life as he strove towards successively higher ideals. A s the business began to improve, James and Teresa took on a new challenge to their relationship: they signed up for fostering. James was very enthusiastic about it, perhaps more than Ta-esa. Her usual strength and security seemed to be at a low point. James sensed some distance between them. She became remote and he moved doser to her. He strove to show her how it would help their relationship. They prepared thanselves for the foster child. Tha-e was a lot of love and openness people could not understand why they wanted a stranger's child when they had their own. The radicality of it pleased James, but it was love and a spirit of gaierosity that moved him most of all. Once more the rdationship and the family biecame the only thing that matta-ed to h i m The attempt to foster was a powerful expeience: not easy cr difficult, not beautiful or horrible, just powerful. It lasted 3 days: the child's mother wanted the child back. James and Teresa were respectful of the mother's wishes, they crffered to remain available and open to the return of this child, but they refused the second child they were offered. It was hard to handle .... they felt God was telling them this was not for than. They dedded to try for a third child of their own. The stronger the relationship became the betta" became James's capadty to risk and i n v d v e himsdf in demanding adivities. On the career front there was andher challenge for James. He dedded to take on a partner in the business. Friends and lawyers were against him, declaring it was a mistake and somewhat naive on his part to trust a stranger. However, Teresa and one or two close friends agreed with h im and he went ahead. This was anotha- courageous step. On the spiritual side there was the Christian Community (Community denotes the larger organization which is made up d the smaller canmunities). James had beccme increasingly i n v d v e d in the larga" crganizaticn ova" the past few years. Both he and Teresa wa"e given very responsible positions and they worked togdha" as a unit in the Community. This is James's newest diallenge. It is n d easy, it is time consuming taking predous family evening time and leaving b d h James and Teresa too exhausted at night to be together. Yet their co-involvement has given the relationship new life. James dearly prefers the diallenge to the humdrum routine of job and home: there has to tie somdhing else. He knows he has to be very careful not to involve himself so completdy that it becomes his whole l i fe He knows he has a tendency to do so when the dii ldren are O.K. and Teresa is not very demanding. Ultimately the purpose of being in a Christian community is to love and care for one's family and l ive a way of l ife inspired by strong Christian values. Things are gcsng very w d l for James and his relationship right now. The long struggle in the business is now easing off. The crisis is over and the rewards are ccxning in. Already, James is making new plans fat the future. The challenge of the Christian Canmunity is just beginning. There is no fulfilment there right new, only some tension: wi l l he be capable of doing a good job tha"e? This is also a period of re-assessment for James: Can he go on risking? Can he ttank on the rdationship? The indications are that he can, that everything is s d i d , that he can rest assured and move out to other people who need h d p , to make himself more availahJe outside the relationship. James has grown a great deal in the past ten years. He is very different from the young man w h o met Teresa for the first time at the New Year's eve party. He is a mature man with a fulfil l ing love relaticnship, a family and a successful carea-. He has come a long way. Teresa is the most valuable part of his l i fe She has brought cut the best in him. They have become very similar to each other so that it is hard to distinguish between what he brings into the relationship and what she brings. The relationship is a deeply ingrained part of him, taking care of it is the same as taking care d himself. Their ccnflids are mainly over priorities. They talk about them, reflect on them together, sometimes not really resdving them, Iwt that is n d something they cannot handle A s a man his concern is usually as the provider d security while Teresa's way is more on the side of stability, caring and gentleness. James does n d bdieve in an equal role for men and women. Although he admits he should do more around the house, the prdessional responsilàlity is his and the domestic is Teresa's. Men and women have different strengths and different things to dfer. Personally he believes w c m a i are stronger than men: they can endure the pains d birth, they have perseverance and strong faith. On an emdional level he even perceives big differaices between him and Teresa There is a different interpretation d reality. 9 ie needs to communicate her feelings all the time, every time they come together or move apart. A n d it all seems to flow easily for her. James, by contrast is n d as expressive and tends to swing very suddenly from one extreme to the dher, from cold efficiency to intense longing to be together. James quite honestly feels that in this respect Teresa's expectations are fairer and he wishes he could change and become a little mere like her. He has gained new insight on the interplay d intimacy and independence in his relationship. Conceptually, he sees them as being both necessary, n d mutually exclusive but enriching. Experientially he sees hc(w he swings back and forth between work and the relationship as b d h he and Ta-esa take time out f rcm the relationship. When he is imma-sed in work Teresa keeps it gang, she is the one w h o is most regularly and intensely involved i n the relationship. However, on thœe rare occasions when she stands back in the rdaticnship, when she is not as secure and strcng as she usually is, he feels the emptiness and moves in. In the past, he knows, he d i d not give enough impcrtance to the rdationship, except when it was in difficulty. It was hard to be passionate; to be fully with Teresa when external concerns filled his mind. Now as he works on the relaticnship he realizes that his ideal self comes out more He has come to terms with Teresa's regular periods of questioning the relationship. He could see how she was the one w h o risked more in the relationship while he was the possessive one Ta-esa managed to come closer to h i m and brought h im closer to her to a degree which w o u l d not have been achievable in any other way. He is grateful to her now and strongly attracted to her. James is a man of strong religious convictions, even though he feels he is not as spiritually strong as Teresa. His beliefs give h i m a great sense of ccnfidaice and rootedness in the relationship. Ultimatdy he believes a lot in the strength of the Sao-ament of Marriage. His confidence nearly doesn't come from believing in Teresa, and still less from believing in himself. If he had to base his faith in the rdaticnship only on their own strength, he would not feel as strongly about the rdationship. Teresa's tendency of becoming remote from time to time; does not disrupt the rdationship precisdy because of the strength that comes from the powerful presaioe of God. James is not only aware of what he has gained, he also knows wha-e he needs to grow. His family of origin is still a very painful issue with him. Without wanting to, he has ruled it out of his life. There is a lot of disappointmait all round. James feels espedally bad for his mother w h o is also disappointed. This is all too painful and confusing to James right now. He finds it hard to give in and be tolerant. He would stick to his way of seang things and unless conflicts were solved his way, he would not consider them solved. Recently he and Teresa have been searching for the fairer solution to disagreements and this involves a lot of giving in on James's part. Conflict is a thing to be avoided. It is useless and taxing. James cannot stand people shouting. Worst of all conflict is destructive: a few minutes of conflict can destroy something that has taken much time and dfcrt to develop. Consequently, he avoids conflict to the extait that he does not voice a different opinion or ask for things to be different. Finally, but perhaps most acutely he is conscious of what he calls his real self: vulna-aUe, emotiaial, insecure, struggling to gain confidence and a higher sense of sdf esteem. In a way this is what binds him to Teresa who cannot stand dcminea-ing men, but this part d him does not let him get ahead ccmf crtabJy i n the world . If he were not so vulnerable he would he able to relate better. He wants to be capable of standing up and facing a large group, vcsdng his cpinion, and speaking calmly with convidion, not being a timid bystander. He wants to be stronga- in crder to be effedive not to conquer. Case Study Two Teresa Teresa is 30 years d d . She is the sixth d seven sibhngs (five sisters and cne brdher). She has been married to James for six and a half years. They have two diildren: David is five and a half, and Oiristcpher is four. In the past Teresa used to work with her father who owned a business. However, when her chi ldrai wa-e bcrn, she gave up her job and became a full-time hcmanaka-. Principal ccmpcnents analysis. The first component accounts for 26% of the variance in Q-sorts. The factcr loadings of evants show great variaticn, ranging frcm a high d .820, to a lc3W d -.408. Fcr the most part, loadings were high and positive. Their pattern is cyclical i n the beginning but tends towards greater stability in the last third d events. This ccmpcnent describes her characteristic way of being i n the relationship. Item factor scores exceeding plus or minus 1.5 were extracted to define the ccmpcnent and are listed h)elcw. They are phrased to indicate a positive event loading: Do n d have fears and doulDts abcxit the relationship (-2.40) Feel united (1.84) Do not withdraw in conflict (-1.84) Do n d insist on getting certain things (-1.69) Fairness is not important (-1.67) Expertaioe harmony in the relationship (1.50) The secend ccmponent accounts for 18% of the variance in Q-sorts. Factor loadings of events range from a high of .766, to a low erf -.067. Loadings wa-e almost all positive. Negative loadings were few and very low i n value. The pattern is also cydical with a tendency towards stability i n the last third erf the evait loadings. However, the cydes fcSlowed a pattern inversely related to the first compcnent, rising when the other is low and vice versa This compcnent generally describes her way erf being in the bad times of the relationship. The items defining this fador are listed below in order of magnitude and phrased to indicate positive loadings: Do not feel as understood as I would like to be (-2.43) Long so much for doseness (2.17) A th ird component was considered hiecause it had an eigenvalue exceeding 1, and it was considered as highly significant by the co-researcher. This component accounted for 11% of the variance i n Q-sorts. Fador loadings of events ranged moderately from .380 to -.646. The pattern erf loadings is largely shaped as a bi-modal distribution, with the troughs cn the negative side. Unlike other components, this one does not show any recent stability. In broad terms, this compcnent describes Teresa's focus in the relaticnship. A pœitive event loading indicates a fcxus on the relationship, and a negative loading indicates a focus on hersdf. The fador scores defining this component are listed in order of magnitude and phrased to indicate a positive event loading: Not playful Giving Need suppcrt frem others besides my partna-(-1.87) (1.86) (1.51) Need economic stability Supportive and concerned Like to be practical: doing things for partner (2.37) (2.23) (1.97) Fairness is not important (-1.90) Following the teachings of the diurch is not important (-1.87) Do not insist on getting certain things (-1.73) Not expressive (-1.61) Equality is not important (-1.60) Not playful (-1.50) Teresa could be described as a basically saious perscn, who strives to live according to values and principles she has set out for herself after much reflecticxi. From ha" perspective, the relationship appears to be one erf growth and diange, with a gradual achievement of stability and balance on the inta"persaial level. In the good times, she does not have fears and doubts, and feels united. In conflids she does not withdraw and tends to be accepting ratha-than assertive^ cr insisting on fairness. A feding of harmony is very important for her. W h a i the harmony is absait, she longs for understanding and dosaiess. B a n g generous and giving towards James in the hard times, she makes u p for the lack of reciprodty b/ seeking support from other dose persons. With the increase i n stability, this "survival" mode of existing, has receded into the background. Teresa experiences periods of time when she has to focus on the relationship, and work hard at it by being supportive, concerned, pradical . giving in, and attentive to economic matters. In other times she feels free to ccncontrate on herself. Her h d p f u l behaviours decrease in importance and she beccmes more concerned with fairness, equality, being expressive, and getting certain things. The spiritual side of her also ema-ges more strcngly in times like these. Ferscnal narrative. Teresa's childhood was a va-y happy one, va-y full and very active. Being cne of the youngest i n a large family meant that there was always understanding and help to be had, no matter what the issue. From an early age, she became rather headstrong and independent, determined to decide for herself, and do what she wanted, even if nobody else chose to do what she did. This was perhaps a reaction to the submissiveness she saw and disliked in her mother. There was no way she was going to be forced to say yes, like her motha-. Although she loved both her parents, she felt closer to her father. In a sense she was like a son for her father, who did not get on so w d l with his only son. Teresa became a tomboy, playing football, discarding d d l s i n disgust, and hanging around with boys of her age. Although the masculinity in her never really went away completely, as she grew up, she dedded she had to change With the help of one of her sisters espedally, she began to put roughness and leadership aside for saisitivity and affedion. Her father was hoping she would follow in his footsteps and take over the business eventually (her dedsion after marriage to stop working altogether, left him without that support he had grown dependent upon, however he neva- ceased to be understanding towards Teresa). By comparison, Ta-esa's adolescence was hcrribJe. She had grown to be a very internal type of person, with strong convictions and emotions. N o matter how hard she tried, she could never do what the others did. It all seemed to be so meaningless and artificial to her. She became somewhat isolated, not really tielonging in sodety. At seventeen she was at a point where she really wanted to f ind a pa-son she could share intimately with. Having received so much love i n her di i ldhood, she felt she was capable and ready for loving. It was then a matter of finding the right person to share it with. This was whan she met James. She felt very attraded to him from the teginning. He was a hard wcrking, serious man, very much like her father. 9 ie sensed that he was the right pa-son for her. He was an open took, and she could easily get through to him. She hated beys who put up an artifidal front. His caistancy and maturity assured her that he was rdiatJe, yet c p a i minded. From the beginning Teresa put all her dfort into the relationship. She enta-ed it with some fixed ideas alxxit relating that she had formed i n ha- family. The three most important elements of a love relatienship, ha- fatha- had t d d her, were faith i n God, resped for each other, and a constant learning attitude At all costs, she d id not want to become like her mother: tolerant, constantly sacrifidng herself, and trapped between the role of child rearing and a hard working husband. She wanted to be a part of her husband's life, and she wanted affedion. Her parents had rardy ever been opai ly affedionate. In spite of the attradion, in those first months the relationship grew slowly and tentatively. Teresa was very careful about i n v d v i n g herself emdionally. Feeling emdionally tied was n d enough for her. The bond bdween them had to be a mature one^  one that did not wear d f with time. She would assess James carefully by "little tests" she devised. Only then would she let herself beccme emotionally involved. To her delight, she found James to be truly genuine, and most wonderful of all, they could communicate so well i n spite of their differences. So Teresa gave i n to her attraction. She felt understood and respected. Their rdationship grew and matured. It was passionate, but not rushed. Each meeting brought a paced increase in doseness and love. It was a time of unfolding to eadi dthesr, and to love. Gradually they built a stable base which was to prove valuable in the turbulent times that wa-e approaching. Sometime between the first and the second year of the rdationship, Teresa made a discovery which disturbed her deeply. In her desire to please, and to be all that James needed her to be, she had changed, perhaps over-adapting ha-sdf to him. This was the first real crisis erf the relationship frcm her perspedive She was losing her individuality and becoming someone which was not really her. She went away alone for a couple of days to ccnsider it, she asked family members, old schod friends, and members of the religious community she was i n (community denotes a cell group within the naticnal Community). They confirmed what she was thinking. Her way d d d n g things, which was more cardree, intuitive and impulsive, had g iva i way to smousness and dedsiveness. She was becoming more like James everyday. A difficult choice became painfully apparent: should she strive to be authentic at the risk d losing what she had, or should she f d l o w ha- mother's fodsteps and sdflessly mould herself to suit her partner's need? Like the many other times that fdlowed, she chose to risk. A new part of her came out in the relationship. Fairness and equality became important. She spoke a great deal about what she was feeling inside. For a while, she put aside the helpful supportive side erf her. She needed to focus cn hersdf and figure this thing out. They spcke about what was gcing on inside them with calmness and sincerity. Ta-esa yearned for James's understanding. He was fi l led with doubts: Who is she really? Who is he dealing with all of a sudden? The rdaticnship survived, and Teresa emerged frcm this episode with a renewed sense of self-esteem, a feeling of confidence in the relaticnship, and their ability to weather storms. Other trials followed. James was shcrt tempered. He would lose his head easily, he would become angry and shout. Teresa could not a idure this type of behaviour. Moreover he was a workhorse, and shut ha- out erf that part erf his life completely. He was also very dedicated to his friends. Teresa felt that he valued them more than he did her, she felt inferier to them, devalued. Her lack of sodal involvement, on the either hand, irritated James. New doubts began to grow: Can she spend the rest erf ha- life with such a person? Would it be wiser to lock fcr someone else? This relaticnship was biecoming too complicated. There were premising signs. Both of them made efforts to change. The spirit of willingness and good intentions they had, gave Teresa a sense of profound trust deep inside: It wil l be all right, they ceuld not be pa-fed but they were trying and that is what mattered. Most important of all, the positive elements i n the relatienship were far superior and mere meaningful than the little snags that could bie changed with time. This step by step, slow but steady growth, was very charaderistic erf the relaticnship from Teresa's perspedive. As the storm receded somewhat, a new stranger bond was forged between them. The attraction that had initially drawn them to)gether had given way to admiration and understanding. Now it was a commonality in values and approach that began to ttnd them closer. They had différait characters, different likes and dislikes, but thar fundamental attitudes were the same. There were the real things that counted, to>gether they were the number one factor confirming that this relationship could work. This harmony of spirit was very impcrtant for Teresa. Sharing this was what she had always wanted and never found dsewha-e This was IT for her. Once again the relationship had taken another significant and sound step upwards. Teresa's feelings for James were intense but not overwhelming. It all felt very meaningful and realistic, nothing dreamy or alienating. Rather than readiing for the sky, she had the feeling that they were digging down to the rock bottom of things, discovering each others' hidden treasures. What they had was very predous, too predous to put an a igaganai t ring to it, so they dedded not to get formally engaged. Together they resisted family and sodal pressures: they did not want to tag their lc(ve the sodally accepted way, with a diamond. Besides the money could be put to better use i n their future home They discovered a new value, that of making the chcaces they wanted toigether, even at the expense of going against the world . It was a moment of pride and confidence in themselves. This was another growth point strengthening the rdationship. They were united in pr indple and had stood iDy each other publ idy. A n unshakable harmony and unity shcne i n Ta-esa at the t ime This was what she wanted. Her doubts, and her drive to assert ha-self and be fair, vanished. 9 ie was filled with a great saise of acc:eptance for this man she loved. Sometimes she pitied him, his hfe was so much of a struggle Unlike her brother, he had never gotten things on a silver platter. He had to work hard for everything he had. Other times she admired him: his serious ambitions, his manhood, the sdf-made person he was. Most of all she loved him fcr his support and solidarity, for the danent of sincerity he brought that helped them to drop their masks and risk bdng thdr real sdves, even to soddy. The rdaticnship gained a new stable identity. They were a couple now, no Icnger simply two individuals trying to dedde whether they could go on together. In their religious community there wa-e beautiful mcmaits cf sharing with the other couples, and other fun times. Teresa felt that somehow their relationship was different frcm that of many other couples they were friends with. There was this spedal ccmmon understanding between her and James. They talked a lot, not only to each other, they also had a common spiritual counsellor w h o helped them in their doubts and oonflids. Things were going so well emotionally that they dedded to take the ultimate risk and get married. James was not happy at home, too much family responsibility fell on his shoulders. Besides he was in his final year of his studies^ and after qualifying, the most natural thing that followed was gdting married. He longed to g d out of his parents' house and stand on his own two feet. Teresa was not as totally convinced of the wisdom of it, but she was ready to take the risk. She saw risk as a very important fador in the relationship, it was what changed the friendship and attradion of the beginning into real intimacy and emotional bending. This risk erf marriage was yet another invitation to a new beginning. They s d a date, hooked a wedding hall and announced that they were going to g d married within the year. A t this point something very unexpected happened: the religious community questioned the wisdom of the whcie venture. The decision had heen taken too quickly, James was struggling very hard at wcrk/study, how could he handle his final year plus a major step like getting married? Were they really ready to take this step, or were they going into it for the wrcng reasons? There was m u d i wisdcm in these words. Teresa saw clearly that they could not go on deceiving themselves hy thinking that they were getting married for the right reasons. It was humiliating and painful to back down, to explain the change of plans to bewildered parents, relatives and friends, and to endure the gossip. However it was the mature thing to do and they did it. To the present day, Teresa is immensely gratrful to the community for its inta-venticn. Later events showed that had they gone on with their plans, there w o u l d have been a major catastrophe. Had they married i n the midst of all the confusion that was to come^ they would have started on the wrong foot, and surely the relationship would have foundered against overwhelming difficulties. T w o months before they had been due to be married, James lost his job and dedded that he could not go on with his studies. This threw h i m into a great crisis, and initiated a year i n the relationship which was very, very difficult, but which also proved to be the ultimate trial for Ta-esa. It was a year where a lot happaied, there were very big dedsions to be taken together. A lot orf work was done on the rdationship, work of sutjstance Carea- was territiy impcrtant for him, the most important thing for h im in fad. His whole life seemed to have come to a standstill. James d i d not know what to d Q whether to start again in a whole new field, to go abroad, the possittlities were endless. They discussed what he could d o wi th complete freedom. They were not tied to any option at this point, not even to getting married. On the practical level, James gradually and painfully b)egan to f ind himseJf again, developing some freelance work and doing a number of small jobs. He began to help organize the accounts for the business Teresa's father owned, and wha-e she worked. Teresa liked this, it brought them to)gether i n a new way (a work situation), and forged another of the commonalities that were so important to her. On an emotional level, the relationship almost died. James made it clear that he could not be botha-ed with the relationship, work was everything to him then. H e related less, and his heavy, tense behaviour threatened the relationship. Teresa felt ta-rible. This was rock bottom, it could not get any worse The d d feeling of unity and harmcny were swept away, doubts and fears flared up again. It all seemed so unfair. She fdt unwanted, abandoned. She longed so m u d i for an understanding and doseness she knew she could n d have from James in the drcumstances. She was torn between the emptiness of feeling unloved, and the sense d pity and responsibility she fdt towards him. She was the only person who could support him, she could n d turn her bade a i h im now that he needed her most. On the one hand, there was no reason any more to stay in the rdationship; on the dher, she felt emotionally and spiritually tied to James and could n d leave. The love she had experienced so powerfully i n the past could not be forgdten. She just could n d leave In these months Teresa loved James unconditionally, giving generously d herself with no strings attached. It was real, real love. She developed other fortifying sources in her life, to make up for the one-sidedness and lack of suppert in ha" relatioiship. 9 i e needed space in o d e r not to be bogged down by the same weight that was pull ing James down. A close personal friend erf hers gave ha" the suppôt and care she could not get frem him. She found support in the religious community she led. H a " spiritual side became very strcng. Every so often, she w o u l d take time off frem w o k and go to a retreat house in order to pray and think. There she faced her doubts and struggled to reach a mature dedsicn about getting married. 9 ie struggled to discern what God wanted her to do. Things began to improve after about five menths. They could begin to put the broken pieces of the relationship togdher again. Surprisingly, Teresa found the pain quite easy to f o g d . She could understand what caused it. James felt very guilty and ranorseful about his rough behaviour. He promised fervently that he would never let anything pull h im away again from a basic resped and consideration of her. The relatienship had gene through a lot. James was struck deeply by Teresa's selfless love, so much S Q that she felt a different person came back to her: a person w i t h a profound resped f o her, convinced of her love, even changed by the expaience of having been loved like never before The months that fd lowed this resdution were like the springtime of the relationship. The tension and heaviness had cooled df , giving way to a happy-go-lucky feeling d lightness. Teresa was fil led with happiness at having survived and done so well. She was very thankful that they hadn't bea i married in the midst of this storm. Otherwise, she would have been f o c e d to stid< by James to the bitta" end. A s things turned out, ha" support and sdfless love were a gift, freely given and very meaningful as sudi. She was deeply, deeply grateful to the canmunity f a the awkward task they had undertaken sane mai ths ago. The intimacy returned, but it was a changed intimacy, somehow stronger. They could have lost it all, thrown it away, but it did not go to waste There must be something especially strong between them seeing how they were still together. Teresa realized that if she had been able to handle this major crisis, then she could certainly handle the difficxilties of marriage. Her most constant fear had always been: What if James were to change overnight one day? This is exactly what had happened, and her selflessness and perseverance had helped her to keep it all together. A s the new calm took over the relationship, Teresa and James began to think about the future and marriage. After their recent experiences, marriage had taken on a w h d e new meaning. Now they knew what the right reasons to marry wa-e, and they knew they had them. Teresa was convinced that now she cxjuld commit ha-self to James in good times and in bad. She was ready to take her marriage vows with a mature awareness. Having finally opted decisively f a marriage, she began to prepare herself mentally f a it. Fidelity and a serious commitment to the good d the relaticnship were priorities for her. Faith assured her that God was with her, trusting H i m gave her the ccnfidence that their trials would n d go to waste. 9 i e was filled with impatience in the last three months befae the wedding. She could hardly wait to start l iving ha- life with James. Only ha- relationship ccxinted, the rest d the w a l d hardly mattered, she was walking on a doud. She longed intensely f a the sacramaital bond that would unite than faever. On the wedding day, all the yearning and anticipaticn reached a peak. Everything came together explosively for her, it was very intense. Every experience, eva-y person, God...it all etched itsdf deeply and enduringly in her memory. This was what the fullness of love was all about. It was worth every ounce of risk and pain. Lcng bdore, she had dedded that her virginity would hie a gift she would give only in marriage Through the years she had stood by this belief with a strong sense of prindple and self resped. The seoial intimacy of the honeymoon was therefore not toned hy an unbridled indulgence in what had previously been forbidden, it was a giving of this treasured part cf ho-self in an atmosphere of resped and mutual care. The honeymoon feeling stayed with Teresa until she became pregnant, three months after the wedding. In this time she aijoyed her new life, sharing everything with James. It all felt so good and wonderful, most of all because she knew deep down that he was the right man for her. The thought of what it might have been like with the wrong person, filled her with horror. James and Ta-esa did not take long to dedde that they wanted to start a family. Their love was too powalxi l to remain idle. Tha-e was definitely a need for all this love to be concrdely expressed. They wanted a new unity that would push the relationship into y d another phase. In the pregnancy James was the complete opposite cf what he had beai in his work oisis . The beauty of his love became really apparent. Now it was his turn to fortify the relationship with his care and giving. He became sensitive, warm, compassionate, and very committed. Teresa felt pampered and marvelously overwhelmed by this wonderful new way of being loved. The feding that they were about to t)eœme parents drew them doser togetha-. Again there were important dioices to be takai together, and the f eehngs pride and love that were engendered i n Teresa on sudi occasions. Giving birth was anotha" great evait. It was not as great an expa-ience as the wedding for Teresa, but for James it was the greatest. He was extremely involved i n it all. Teresa was very, very surprised to see this new, totally attentive, side of him. At the time, it was as if she was the only focal pcànt for him, nothing else existed. From her perspedive, it was more l ike entaing a new state, a shifting rf focus from James to the di i ld . It was a spiritual experience too, in the sense that God was trusting her and believing i n her enough to let her care for this child. Motherhood also filled her with pride and estean in herself. Vis a vis the relationship, it was not as remarkable an event fo" her. The goodness of the relationship continued to be what it had been since the marriage. Teresa cared for the baby, and James cared for Teresa (and the child) with an enduring warmth and saisitivity. The house had become more of a home now with the d i i ld , and they had beccme a family. The bond between them changed subtly, becoming less sexual and more emotionally supportive, serene and content. The year following the birth was a peak year for the relationship. Ta-esa felt very, very spedal. She d i d not go out of her way to respond to James's exceptional treatment of her. Bdng a first-time mother, she was very engrossed in ha- motherhood rde, making sure she d id everything the right way. At the same time, she was filled with a good stable feeling. This was the stuff that dreams were made d for her. It was a little bit too good to be true Within the year, she became pregnant again; it was planned. The second time round, although still present, James's devotion was not so overwhelming. Teresa found that she had to stand on her own two feet prematurely, even though she still needed the support she had been having so far. James was once more dissatisfied with his career. He began to feel unsettled again, and in need of a change. Once again his focus shifted to work, and his tension fi l led the rdationship. Teresa was filled with a sense of foreboding: it was happening all over again. She should have expected that it would happai , she knew the perscn she had married. Bdore they were merely engaged, but now they were married, and they had two diildren. Now his negativity would not cnly hit her, it would also affed the children. It was a sad time. He came home from work in the evening with a depressed air. Thar conversations were dry and boring. Isolated from each other in thar worlds of work and the home^ they were l iving separate realities, wi th thar toddler child dandng in the middle, wanting to play and have fun. This was particularly hard to take after having tasted how good their rdaticnship could be Teresa could understand this part of James all too well. She knew all about it from their previous experience, but she was not ready for it at this t ime She was too emotionally vulnerable to have to force herself to take it. The two children took up all of her time There was too much to d Q she was putting on weight, her body was going through hormonal aftereffects of the two pregnandes. Once again she was left on her own, trying to cope with it all, yearning for the closeness and understanding she had laefore. She was too concerned with her own troubles to be able to support James. It was an ugly time. A s on the previous occasion, she found new, external sources at suppcrt which helped her to survive She took up a nine mcrith long Retreat i n Daily Life, a concentrated spiritual experience which intensified the dose personal experience she had with God. He became her new backbone, hcJding her up in her difficult daily trouhJes. This kept her from indulging in self pity, and enabled her to go on lodcing at the relationship in a positive and hopdul way. It was a time of waiting and holding out. Somehow cr other, James's career was going to shift. There was little dse to do until the shift occurred. On his part, James was aware that he had a family now. He felt guilty for his behaviour, and knew he had to try to shape up qui deer fcr the sake at the family. Teresa discovered just how tough ha- life was when, some time after this crisis began, they went to spend five days at a seaside place, wi th T and D, another couple. T and James would go to work eva-yday, while D and Teresa cared fcr their children and talked and talked. They vented out all their frustrations and came to realize together how motherhood had changed them from independent women to round-the-dock-available caregivers. Day and night, all their energies were consumed by the needs of thdr families. In the list the family pricrities, their needs came last. N o wonda- Teresa felt so lousy, she could now understand why her self-esteem had hit rode bottom. James was lodced inside his concans, the children needed her, she felt drained. The image of Mary, the ideal motha-, gave ha- much consdaticn, in these times of withering hope and energy. Like her she strove hard to be accepting and to h d d things s i la i t ly in her heart. A l l four d them used to talk together in the evening, giving Teresa an opportunity to get a dose-up lock at another married couple with children. T was settled in his work, and was quite i n v d v e d i n his family. Through him, James came to realize that there was a type of help Teresa needed, w h i d i he had not been sedng, let alone fulfilling. He realized that this situation could not go on any longer. This sense of urgency, together with the image of T as a settled and i n v d v e d husband/father, brought the resolution doser. The relationship became strong again when James was faced with the opportunity d taking over a business. This created a lot d ccnversation bdween the two of them. She could see how he needed her support and backing to take this major step. Teresa became more invdved in his career dedsion. They were taking this dedsion together. It had to be one that they were both convinced of, since it w o u l d have a considerable effed on the family ecoiomy. They deliberated about values and pricrities, they prayed atxaut it...and re-experienced the old feeling of binding unity that came with these crossroad mcments d their relatienship. It was a risky venture which shock up the stagnating relationship. Risk had always had a stimulating effed on the rdationship, pushing it to grow. They felt invigorated hy the sense d adventure James was happy, the challaige of the business brought out the best in him. They were a happily married couple again: he goes out to work happily in the morning, she is contented, and the children are too. It was n d perfed, there were little tiffs here and there^ but it was a good normal life. Once again there was the feeling that the relationship was stronger, and had matured yet another step. This event was also the beginning of a stable, happy period for Teresa. Her desire for doseness and understanding no longer gnawed at her so badly. She was her usual supporting and accepting self i n the relationship. The business was going well , it was very much their common venture. Teresa's support gave James the confidence to risk more and more. They had come a long way: work was no longer something she was shut out of. The meaning behind James's drive to work had shifted from being a personal ambition, to doing something for the good of the family. He was now striving to balance work and family, and consulted Teresa more often. The relationship entered a new phase and a new challenge whan they were chosen by the wider religious Community to represent them i n an international oonfa-ence in America The two weeks they spent there, together with t h d r dd spiritual counsdlor and friend, were l ike a second honeymoon. It was a time of close communication and new discoveries. Teresa gained a new understanding of James's previously tiresone ambitions. She became aware of his vision and farsightedness, he was like a prophd really. She came to see his ambiticns as his way of striving for the visiœs he had. A s a represaitative of a tiny country among many others, James appeared to Teresa to be modest and small, yet she felt that they were strong and spedal too They had something to offer too They returned to Malta feeling that the way of life advocated by their religious Community, was va-y much what they wanted. Once again they were drawn together by common values. Teresa had all along been quite deeply involved, but James now began to see a role for himself i n the national organization of the Community. He had spedal gifts he could dfer and put to good use. They both became very involved in the planning and running of the Community, and enjoyed working together. Over the years they had evolved a harmonious way of working side by side w h i d i was very fulfilling. This s t ^ has added a new dimension to the relationship. They now had a ccmmon goal, not only a ccmmon approach. They now had the same dreams, aspirations, and hopes, striving to live according to the Christian principles of the Community and being open to others in need. Their commcn motivaticn binds them together very tightly. This is wha-e the rdationship is at present. There is a lot to relate on, and a good feding which is a bit too overwhelming at times. Their commitment to the Community involves them a lot and threatens to invade their family space. Teresa feds that they have to he careful alxxit this, and to choose wisely how to involve themsdves in the Community. The challenge is to strive fcr a satisfying balance of their various ccmmitmaits and leisure Teresa's most recent experience is a direct consequence o( this stability. W h a i the relationship and the family are moving along smoothly, she feels free to focxis on herself, and to question her expectations and mcrfivations. This action is both positive and negative for her. Self-focus generates new insights and directions, however it also brings exit the critical, cocksure, demanding side of her, which tends to create seme tensicn in the rdationship. At the base of this self-focus is the constant struggle against the negative mother figure she has internalized. Constantly, she has to f ind a balance between assertiveness and submissiveness, and b d w e a i giving and receiving nurturance A t times she feels she is too submissive and accepting, tending to let things be for the sake of harmony. This lowers her self-estean up to a point where she deddes that she has to regain her respect and esteem Self-esteem is a tricky issue for her. She realizes that sometimes she tend to throw herself away. It is degrading for her to feel that what she is, is not valued, even by herself sometimes. What is very impcrtant is that she esteems herself the right amount, not too much cr too little, both extremes are a form of self-deception. Generally, when the relaticnship is going well, the conflict does not arise, since her confidence is high and her needs are being for the most part, met. Her assertiveness has come out in the sexual part d the relationship. She feels that regular sexual expression is vital to the wdl-being of the rdationship, even if it is not always pleasurable and desired. So there are times whan she gives i n to having sex, even though she may not happen to be i n the mood. However, at other times, she insists on respeding her feelings and refusing to have sex. Fcr her to want it and anjcy it, there needs to be a build-up i n the emotional closeness of the day. Otherwise it w o u l d nc3t be a meaningful and bonding experience. Affedion is the main thing for ha-, without it there can be no real sexual expression. Another personal issue she is dealing with right now is a longing to be accurately understocad, and to express herself i n an accxirate way. She has noticed recently that pecple do not seem to understand what she has to say, espedally when it comes to the emotional strength behind her words. It is stifling to express scmething and receive feedback indicating a watered dcwn version of what she had intended to communicate. She would l ike to work on developing this side of her. A s a woman she feds that she is different from James. He is the rational thinker, Icoking to the future and sedcing to estaMish himself in the world. She pursues the "why" and the intensity of things, brings affection and sensitivity into the relationship. She also focuses on listening and dialogue at the heart level. This difference used to be quite problematic at the beginning. For example, James quite matta- of factly, expected Teresa to speak out atout what used to bother her. However she expected him to be sensitive enough to notice it. She could not tell him, he had to reach into her innermost parts by notidng how she expressed ha"self with him. There was no way of putting it into words fcr her. In these times she had feJt stuck, and ccnsdous of the fact that James was irritated with all these subtle complications. With time these differences were understood and accepted. The feeling now is one of pleasure i n the gender of the other. Ta-esa knows they are not the same and she likes it that way. It was not easy to become a full-time homemaker, but she felt she had to do it for the family. It is monotonous and stifling, cutting her off from sodety. She tries to make it meaningful by occupying ha- mind while she performs her daily boring tasks: 9ne r d l e d s on what she reads, thinks about an article she has to write, a meeting she has to run, a- a presentation she has to make Housewcrk is not respeded mudn, she feels. It is always needing to be redone, and does not bring the gratification that, fcr example, James derives from his career. Indeed one is far more l i k d y to notice a dnore which is not done than cne which is done, so there is little appredation of her work. She combats this by educating her husband and children, even by getting them to involve themselves, at least nominally in the home responsibilities. When Teresa looks bade over the 12 years of her relationship, she can see that the underlying thane for her has been the seeking and establishment of commcn centres between them. These, in turn, gave the rdaticnship harmony and an enduring quality. She looks to the future of the relationship with a great deal of confidence. This relationship is IT for her. She knows James very, very well. There is no part of him that is hidden to her, so she knows fully who she is dealing with. She has a long and ful l experience behind her, which makes her confident that she can deal reasonably well with any future crisis. There is a new beginning ahead of them: the road to middle age. Once again Teresa is asking and deliberating inside herself, setting ideals and determining the foundations on which their relationship needs to be based for the next fifteai years. C O U P L E II: M A R I S A A N D GEORGE Case Study Three: Marisa Marisa is 35 years old. She is the ddest child, and has one sister and one brother. She has been married to George for 8 years and has two children: Andrew aged 6 and Joanne aged 4. Before she had diildren, Marisa used to work in accounts. After the children were bom, she became a full time homemaker, although she partidpates in her husband's wcrk i n 2-3 days a week, d ^ e n d i n g cn family drcumstances. Prindpal components analysis. The first ccmponent accounts for 48% of the variance on Q-sorts. The fador loadings ùf events indicate a moderate variation ranging from .914 to -.052. The loadings on all but three events were very high and positive, the three anomalous events having fador loadings around zero. The pattern is a cyclical one with a stable plateau in the middle. The component describes Marisa's typical way of being when the relaticnship is going well . Item fador scores exceeding plus or minus 1.5 were extraded to define the compcnent. They are listed below, and phrased to indicate a positive event loading: Do not do what a woman is supposed to do. (-2.33) Do not have fears and doubts about the relationship (-2.10) Do not insist on getting certain things (-1.86) Do not Icng so much for doseness (-1.72) Do not like to be in contrcJ of the rdaticnship (-167) The relationship gives me confidence Do not like to be ind^endent (1.53) (-1.50) The second component accounts for 23% of the variance in Q-scrts. Factor loadings of events range slightly more than the first component, with a high of .935, and a low d -.227. Loadings were fcr the most part neutral, with three events loading very highly on the positive side (the same events as in compcnent one). The pattern is cyclical with a cmtral stable trough in the middle It is also inversely related to the first component to a considerable degree. This ccmpcnent describes Marisa's manner of b a n g in the relationship when things are not going so well. The items defining this component are listed below i n order of item factor score magnitude. They are phrased to indicate a positive evait loading: Do not fed I am united (-2.19) Do not do what a wcman is supposed to do (-2.03) Lcng so much for doseness (1.71) Scmdimes feel Icnely (1.70) Do not expa-ience harmony i n the rdaticnship (-1.59) Vulnerable and easily hurt (-1.59) Want to work hard for the good of the relationship (1.54) Both ccmponents indicate that Marisa is adamant about refusing to conform to a sodally prescribed r d e At the core of ha- stance in the relationship is a strong desire to be one with her husband. From her perspedive, the rdationship can he described as generally smodh and d e v d d of serious conflids. She dœs not have fears and doubts and does not feel the need to assert herself, take control, or be independent. The relationship gives her the closeness and ccnfidence she needs. On rare occasions when the relaticnship does not fare so well, her feelings d unity and harmony are ruptured. The desire to be one becomes strong, and she feels vulnerable, easily hurt, and lonely. In these times her easygoing, unassa-tive diaracter shifts as she feels the need to wcrk hard for the good erf the relationship. Marisa's own description of the two components is very informative; it is quoted va-batim bdow: If I had to define the real me over the last 35 years I've bean alive; rather than over the last 8 years that I've beai married, I would say that the real me is somebody who is insecure, w h o is alone It is a constant battle to overcome this alcneness. I feel very fortunate that the relaticnship picks me out of this. Because the relationship has been more recent i n history, then the extent of the bJack line (first component) is more present, but it is only thanks to the relationship that it is there. If the relaticnship had to be picked away from me, or not to have had existed, then the secend one (second compcnent) would have been the pattern erf my life. The other is the saving feature, it is what I would like to be Like heaven and earth, if you like; what you are and what you aspire to be. Personal narrative. A s long as Marisa can remember, she has always tieen the odd person out in the family. First there were her parents, then there was her, and finally her brother and sister, w h o were separated from her by five and seven years. Everybody had each other but she was alone. She remembers very v iv id ly a typical picture erf the family on one of their walks by the sea. Her parents walked together talking the way adults do, her brother and sister dhased each other, and played togetha- ahead of the parents. Marisa was too young to be an adult, and te» d d to play, she tagged along alone, craving companionship and togdho-ness. At schod she wanted to have an exclusive best friend, but circumstances had always interfa-ed: they were put into diffa-ent classes, C3r the other girl did n d want the doseness. It was all very disheartening. Marisa saw her father as a perfectionist, and her m d h e r as somewhat melodramatic They had a very lively relatienship bdween than. Although their daily interchanges were laced with critiasm, and a certain amount of free-talking, they loved each dher very deeply. Marisa's father even l iked to shew his love dramatically at times. Later cn, in her search for a partna-, Marisa was to p r d a - a stable, less playful relationship which was n d so marked by emotional highs and lows. The emoticnal drama d her mother and the demandingness d ha- father d i d n d appeal to Marisa, espedally the second. He was always pushing her ahead, t d l i n g her she could do better, and not accepting what he considered second rate work. Marisa was not territJly gcod at schod, she grew up with a constant nagging feeling that she was n d good enough, and lacking in self-confidence. At university it was particularly bad. She wcrked half-heartedly, n d keeping up with the level. What made it werse was that she still had n d found the constant companion she yearned for. What was wrong with ha-? Why was she so different? Why d i d dher people have good rdationships and she d id nd? She cpit university and want into a business training course. Marisa had known George for a numba- d years before she began to go out with him. He was a memhier of her wida- drcle d friends and was also in business studies. He struck her as being a decent, dependable, and hcnest sort of person. He belonged to a category of pecple she felt O K with, with whom she could be herself, and talk about things that mattered. One day he wrote to her saying that he needed to meet ha- in crder to talk alxDut scmething. In this first meeting, they talked and talked about themselves and their backgrounds. Without being extra personal, they were beginning to get to know each other. They had both had a bad time at university, so they spoke about what it felt l i k ^ how difficult it had been, and what plans they had for the future. A s Marisa returned home, she realized that George had not told her specifically what he had wanted to talk to her about, perhaps it had only been a pretext to meet ha-. However she came away frcm that meeting feeling that they had spcka i quite sincerely, that they had let their 'real pa-son' cone out. There wa-e mere meetings afta- that, the mere they talked, the mere they found things to say to each otha-. It was all va-y straightforward, no melodrama cr earth-shaking events. Each meeting became more personal. Marisa d i d not fall in love i n a romantic sort of way. Tha-e were no ups and downs, it was all very automatic After two or three meetings, he came heme to meet her family, not in the usual fermai way, but because it seemed more logical for them to chat inside than outside at the front door. After three months Marisa concluded that George was a person she could spend the rest of her life with. She had a feeling of 'This was it, what she had wanted all along'. As time went on, this feeling grew mere and more. This was a rdaticnship that could last, she could afford to invest in it. George gave her confidence and made her feel important, she could make h i m happy. This contrasted sharply with her relationship to ha- father: no matter how hard she tried, she could never satisfy him, but she could satisfy Geerge by simply being herself. Six months after the relationship started, the cloud erf a vague problem obstructed the relationship. The catalyst of this problem has since been forgotten, perhaps George had not understood something she said. There was a break in their usual good communication. Marisa withdrew and Gecrge d id not pursue the issue. Marisa felt a cold gap suddenly yawn between them. The strength of her feelings surprised her. Why did she feel so bad about this c d d spdl between them? She hardly knew this pa-son, why did he affect her so much? She wrote Gecrge a very personal letter to renew their doseness, and they made up. This inddent brought home to her how deeply George was getting into ha- life. Things seaned to have slipped easily and dfortlessly. It was like having climbed a mountain without being aware erf having done it. There was no proposal or dedaration of intent, but one and a half years into their relationship they started looking for a place. They were getting cn so well together, they took it for granted that they wanted to continue in the same ve in of things. The deliberations between them focused on the f inandal/pradical level: the prices of property wa-e rising, it seemed wise to step into the market at that time They bought the flat without having set a date for their wedding. Planning and furnishing their home was a very exdting experiaice. Marisa was pleased that George partidpated so a d i v d y i n this areas w h i d i was usually Idt for the woman to do. In two years Marisa had grown to be very comfortable with George, feeling at home and at ease with him. They never had conflids. The o ld yearning for a companion had been satisfied. George was wi l l ing to listen to her and talk to her on a very deep level. There was also a spirit erf equality in the rdationship. It was not a matter erf her supporting him, or he b a n g above her in maturity and being supportive of her, as her rdationships had often been in the past. There was no putting up of faces on any side, it was very open. They were like twins, life companions, sharing the same pcsnt of view, and depending on each other. That's why there was no need for proposals or dedsions. This impl idt k ind of dedsion making was very unusual for Marisa, w h o was used to submitting eva-ything to intense scrutiny and analysis. A s time went by, they began to spend more and more time together. They studied for their exams together, they both had to do it, so why not do it together? Besides they complemented each other i n aHlities and that helped them move along better. Then Marisa had an opportunity to work in the same office George d id (they were both working and studying at this point). Her father was against it, competing with George was not a good career move. Marisa was tempted. The place was nicer than others she had worked in bdore. She dedded to go for it by reasoning that out of the options available, this would have been the one she w o u l d have regretted most not d d n g . Working with George opa ied up the last recess of his life that had so far been closed to her. They even shared the confidentiality of business secrds at work. Now they wa-e truly together, they did everything togdha-. Still, it was n d quite right for Marisa, espedally when she was alone without George i n her parents' house She wanted to have h i m around more; to live with him. In their culture it meant marriage, so they had to g d married. At this point Marisa and George had their 'infamous engagement'. It started when both their parents began to insist on their having a formal engagement, for all sorts of artifidal reasons: because Marisa w o u l d n d have a diamond ring and would therefore n d be assured of George's resped; because they w o u l d not get the gift aunt Z had bought for all her nephews' and nieœs' engagements way back when they were children. Marisa was not the type of person to be forced into doing something. The idea of going through a meaningless rite just for the eyes of society, was the worst possible thing to ask of her. Her adamance became harder than stone. Her opposition was inflexible a diamond ring was an absolute waste of money. The idea of roping a relationship and assessing its value on the size of the diamond was utterly revolting. What was meaningful was buying the flat, setting a date fcr the wedding, and organizing preparation for marriage discussions in their religious group. The idea of an engagement was ridiculous. She hated the idea with an unflinching vehemence. George agreed with ha-, but not as energetically. It was creating a lot of tension and bad feeling, he hated that sort thing. Weeks passed and the impasse persisted, there seemed to be no way out. George longed to ease the tension, he suggested that perhaps she should give in. Finally after a day of moping, Marisa gave in to make everyone happy. This turned out to be her greatest regret in the relationship. She felt betrayed by George at a time when they should have stuck together. He should have stood by her, and not given in to the pressure of other people, even if they were family. The engagemait did not cost them a cent. What it cost them was the bad feeling this discord had created taetweai than. This is the only thing that to the present can still hurt Marisa. It was the first of two events which upset her usual confident, easygoing and secure way of loving in the relatioiship. The d d vulna-able, yearning self re-emerged, for a while she felt lonely, misunderstood. The wedding was in four months' time. Marisa wanted her and George to prepare the wedding togetho", everything together the way they wanted it. They ordered flowers, planned the songs, prepared the mass, and turned the chapel topsy turvy into the set-up they liked. Most unorthodox of all, and to the horror of her mother, George helped Marisa sew her wedding dress (traditionally the husband is not supposed to see the dress until the wedding). Marisa was very pleased with all the preparations, they did it all well, right down to the small details. Although insignificant to some, minor details were important to ha- for what they represented. It was her way of fighting the pomp and fuss that usually surrounds a wedding ceremony. If she did it all herself, then it w i l l become her occasion, with her meaning. The turn of events of the past year showed Marisa that she and George were different i n at least one respect. Marisa felt very strongly about certain things, and tended to get caught up i n her enthusiasm. George, on the other hand, was quite docile and wi l l ing to give in on various things. He quite honestly bdieved that in a conflict, the perscr» w h o felt strongest about it ought to get his way, all things being equal. This explained his behaviour over the engagement issue. Their difference in approach made Marisa feel that she should be careful i n order not to be bossy. She feared that her strength cf cpinion might influence h im unduly, so she purposely payed extra attention to his feelings an the matters they dealt with. She did not want to be like a bull i n a china shop, threading on everybody's toes. She fought this feeling by not pushing too hard, not overlooking George in her enthusiasm, and consulting h im pa-petually. This differaice made Marisa careful, but it d id not create conflicts in the relationship, George was w i t h her all the way during the wedding preparations, and it was very much a joint venture The wedding was a k i n d of official stamp of approval at what they wanted to do. Pa-haps mere impcrtant than that, it was the first thing they did together in the eyes of sodety. A s they sat in the chapel, passively getting married l ike any otha- couple, the surroundings they had created were a silent but pdgnant statement of thar joint cdlaboraticn, their stand against a sodety that tended to stifle and depersonify. Marriage brought very little change in the relationship. It was more l ike the cream on the cake, or the final hem cn a dress. In a spiritual so-t erf way, fcr Marisa, they had heen married since the third month of their relationship. Nothing fundamental changed because Ijefore they married, except for sleeping in different houses, they had been together all the time. The marriage gave the relatienship the final toudi, making it mere total, removing restridions. Mere than the sex they had begun to share, it was the feeling erf l iving, cocking and sleeping together that gave Marisa a feeling erf compldeness. After atout one year of marriage, Marisa began to long fcr a child. George felt he was not yet ready to have children. Bang an cnly d i i l d , and having lived with adults all his life, he felt uncomfortable around children. He was afraid he would not he able to handle a small rowdy child. One morning a friend who had been married around the same time as her, joyously announced that she was pregnant. This made the longing i n Marisa even stronger, yet she knew she had to be very careful. What if she became pregnant and George absolutely d i d not want the child? Where would she get the support she needed then? It was not something to insist on. It was important that both of t h a n wanted it. Gecrge was loving and unda-standing he would be ready for it sonetime Matters took a different course when Marisa became pregnant by mistake. It felt l ike an act of God. Ey ha- calculations it shouldn't have happened. Gecrge had initiated sex on that occasion, so it was clear that she had not manipulated the situaticxi. When it happened Marisa was rather preoccupied with what his reaction would be. She broke the news to him as gently and as unda-standingly as possible. After the initial shock, George took it very well. The pregnancy was terrific Her body fdt as if it was in bloom, she had no problems or discomfort. She was very happy and George was very supportive. Marisa was conscious that where before they had shared everything, her pregnancy tended to exclude h im because he was the male. So she used to t d l h i m everything she felt, read and thought, in order to make it a shared experience. Perhaps she overdid it a little Wt, but it was OK, they became very close at the t ime They discussed whdher George should be presait at the Hrth. He was not comfortable with violence of any kind, and Marisa was concerned that the violence of birth may impede him from linking with the child afterwards. She wanted h i m at ha- side, but was ready to forgo her desire if necessary. She left the dedsion to h i m When the time came, George dedded he would stand by her. Marisa had p r ^ a r e d h i m as best she could by giving h im reading material and t d l i n g h im what she knew. It was touching, and slightly amusing, to see how Gecrge very caringly but wi th inexperience, s d about b a n g a helpful husband during the birth. In spite of her previous bravado, Marisa was very, very glad to have George with her. The time she spait alone in labour befcre he was allowed in was very tough. It was v a y much a time fcr b a n g togetha". In the a i d the tàrth was not difficult, George was there lieside her, and it was all very rewarding and satisfying. Andrew was not an easy baby, he slept very little, and wanted to be carried all the time. B a n g inexperienced, Marisa gave in and focused all her attention on him. Gecrge was very supportive He used to cod<, clean, and take care of everything. She used to feel very alone when he wasn't home, she wanted him to be dose by her and he was there to give her everything she needed c c m p l d d y . Marisa was very grateful for all of this, it w o u l d not have been as good had it not been fcr his patience and goodness. Being so preoccupied and tired with the child, she could not give h i m as much immediate attention as she used to So when he had sonething to talk about, it usually had to wait, sex had to wait too Gecrge understood and waited in the siddines. It was very beautiful to see how aware he was of what she was feeling, how she was aware of him, and how they could he dose in spite erf it all. A s time wore on, Marisa realized how emotionally drained she had been i n this time, l iving in the aura of having created a new person. While all of this was going on at home^ George went through a career crisis. The job he worked at for many years had become dissatisfying and unfulfi l l ing. Oianges happening there were making life even more difficult. Eventually, Marisa emerged from the atsorbing needs of mothering, and was able to involve herself more i n such pradical aspeds of the relationship as George's career dedsions. They threshed out the issue togdher. Gecrge cfiit his job and they set up shop cn their own. They chose a name for their new company that signified it belonged to both al them. Their was a revision of goals on other fronts of the relaticnship too. Money became important because of the new family responsibilities. Gecrge's parents were getting old, espedally his father, who needed spedal care. Since George was the only child, the responsibility fell on him. He and Marisa accepted this responsibility and offered help will ingly. It became obvious that eventually they would have to live closer to George's parents. Marisa did not want them to move in with her and George. In her childhood she used to be deprived of her bedroom eva-y time there was a guest in the house. The memory of it still rankled. She wanted George's parents to live with them on the terms they themselves w o u l d set, and in an environment they had prepared, as opposed to merdy improvising as the situations arose. After much discussion on how to go about it, they dedded to buy a house large enough to be converted to two sqaarate residences, one for them and the other for George's parents. In the meantime, Marisa became pregnant again. This time it was planned. When her daughter was born, Marisa could ndt dedicate the same amount erf attantion she had given to her son (fortunately, Joanne was a va-y indepa ida i t di i ld) . There wa-e other matters calling for immediate attention. Things wa-e happening very fast and there was a lot to d o looking for the new house, planning renovations, tha-e were problems at work with some unsatisfied dients and, on top of it all, Marisa was having appendix attacks. George had to take care of moving house when she was in hospital, it was hard on him, she admired his having done it alone The tensions increased, taking their t d l on the relationship. The pressure made t h a n short tempered and snappy at each other. Their usual deep sharing had become a rarity in the atmosphere of crisis management that enveloped them. It was as if they were drowning and just barely managing to keep t h a r head above the water. As soon as they began to feel better, they w o u l d sink down again. There was no aiergy left over to put in the relationship, it was taken for granted , and survived mainly because it had grown to be so good and strcTig earlier on. Although external circumstances were i n turmoil, Marisa still felt at this point quite fortified by the relationship. There were bad patches where she ladced ccnfidence and felt insecure, but that had more to do with ccping with the times than with her relationship. As things were the relationship carried her through, perhaps not at full sail, but she made it through. However the deepening of this crisis trought a dramatic sudden drop in her confidence. From ha- pa-spective it was to be the seccnd and deepest crisis i n the relationship. It upset her usual good fedings of rdating and brought out her d d insecxire sdf. Their enterprise was encountering tag prc±ilems. This was espedally hard to take because d the expenses of a new house and the children's schooling. In the midst d it all Gecrge fell i l l with a viral infedicn ncbody could understand. H e ran a temperature and was depressed. Marisa felt he clammed u p and retreated into his shdl, although Gecrge later said he was not aware d having done so consdously. This behaviour felt terrible to her. Instead of threshing it out togdher, crying and banging their heads tcjgether as they usually did, Gecrge f d l silent and became uncommunicative. He refused to talk about the work issue. Later Marisa understocxd that it was his way of coming to terms with the problan. His first reaction was to stick his head in the sand and hope it would go away. Hcweva- at that moment the illness and the business troubles were too much to take It was a really bad time for Marisa, having to face things alone, to worry alone; George felt l ike a Mank wall to her. They d i d not quarrel, it all seemed to be very peaceful on the outside, he did not put up a barrier, he just vanished, as if he wasn't there. With time the whole thing just fizzled away, George adjusted himself to the situation and was able to deal with it. However Marisa is still reflecting on this incident and its significance: Did she know Gecrge as w d l as she thought she did? Or was she being too pushy and he needed to take some space for himsdf? Maybe he needed to sort these things out in his head before he spcke to her. It is a difficult issue for Marisa. On the one hand she wants to be careful not to impose herself on George; on the other, she wants to share everything with him. It w o u l d be hard to accept that he had to have reservations frcm her. Gecrge is not as intricately introspedive as Marisa, all these thoughts are quite nonsensical to him, he prders to a d rather than think. At present Marisa is experiendng a kind of identity crisis herself. The children are going to school now, and she is no longa- as imma-sed i n the needs of the family as she used to be She can sense a vocational choice approaching. There is no hurry, but she knows that eventually she w i l l have to dedde. She can see three roads open to her: completing her business exams, going into teaching or having more childrai . It's the first time since the beginning of the rdaticnship that Marisa had a concern which was purely her own, and did not involve them both. For this reason she feels somewhat alone, even though she talks to George about it. In the end she is going to have to be the one who decides. She is sure however that George w i l l support her in whatever she decides to do. The relationship may change as a result, certainly if she goes out to work, rdes w i l l have to be revised. However right now the issue is temporarily shelved, because Gecrge is trying to upgrade his qualifications and has relinquished his househdd duties to Marisa for the time being. Since he is the breadwinner, his need is the more urgait. In a saise the rdaticnship is at a crossroads. They have had their children and established themselves as a married couple. Since her adolescence Marisa had aspired to adiieve these things. No w that she has arrived, where does she go from ha-e? She values the relationship very highly, espedally those aspeds which have kept t h a n together: a very close compatilality which she has never found with anycne else, and a quality d sharing diaraderized by a lot d vulnerable talking about themselves at a very basic level. Metaphorically, George and Marisa a d as midwifes to give birth to eadi dhers' ideas. The diannels d communication could n d stay perennially open when the children came, and family responsittlities grew, however they have managed to work around this by becoming more sensitive to the recq^tive moments of the dher; and by maintaining a mutual trust in the temporarily "silent times," in the good intaitions and supportiveness d the dher. The presence d Gecrge in her life is what drives ha- in the marriage, n d the relatienship. She is deeply grateful to h im for his love, and for being the person he is: [There is] an awareness d the otherness of George. Because we are so close, and our ideas so intertwined, it is easy to fall into the rut of assuming we are identical, or the same aitity. While I value closmess to a deep extent, falling into this rut is da iy ing the richness of a loving and giving relationship. Wa-e there not to he this "otha-ness," there would be no jcy in giving, no gratitude in receiving. Living togetha- would become a sad, flat routine. This "rut" is, I think, my greatest a iany , more than the vague fear that the marriage might break up... So far, I have always realized when I had f a l l a l into this rut, and with the renewed awareness of the "otherness," comes a ta-rific gratitude, both of the love given so freely to me, and of the person that is George...being aware, as I am, that I am not the easiest of people to live with and love. The relationship has nurtured Marisa's sense of self-worth to a degree that now enables her to look bade on her past feelings erf infa-iority with peaceful self-acceptance. The old bitter a-itidsms have receded far enough to lose their implacable h d d on her. Above all she does not want to be alone. The prosped is scary and suffocating. She wants to be safe and comfortabJe in her relaticnship. Marisa diaraderized ha- steadfast spirit in the relationship as one d the pdes that (in unison with George) supports a tent. However she is also l ike a reed that chooses to bend in harmony with the wind. In response to George's docility she has been very careful not to squash h i m with her aggressive approach to things. It is a lifelong hattt which was n d easy to curb. Her identity has also been shaped to the needs d her family, much like plastedne. There is no air d martyrdom i n this however, she does it because it fulfills her as a woman, and brings with it the rewards d loving. At present it is in mdherhood, more than sex, that she expresses herself as a woman best. Sex is sometimes (though definitely n d always) an effort for her. The "love-making" asped is more important than the chemistry of "sex-making" to her. It is n d quite the same with George, he would fed like having sex mere often than she did. In the past Marisa used to be quite a feminist, not because she believed in femininity, but because she resented differences. To ha- men and women were the same i n everything except childbearing. Her concept of sameness has now given way to the idea of ccmplementarity, of not being w h d e without George. The union of a man and woman also implies a k ind of spiritual perfection or tdal i ty to her. This complementarity also extends to thdr rdes and pa-sonalities. While her sphere of responsibility is primarily the home and the children, and his is work, t h d r roles are n d as clearly delineated, there is m u d i overlapping. Similarly although gentleness and emoticnality are present i n Marisa as a woman, George does have these qualities toQ although to a lesser extant. Hovering on the horizon of Marisa's near future, besides the issue d her identity, is the quality d her relationship. This is foremost i n her awareness. Recently a couple they were friends with brdce up, and this set her thinking. Their relationship would n d break, it was strong. But what if they lost the love and energy to keep it working well? What if the spedre, that had taken over the relationship during George's illness, returned? Her hope and her energies are now cast towards maintaining the vitality and dosaiess d the rdationship. The issue d her idait i ty is not as dear cut. She feds the formlessness d her individuality,