Attachment Theory and Conflict in Marriage
A Research Proposal
Amidst all the successes that the society achieves through the existence of technology and communication, it is quite disturbing how the situation of the most important sector of the society suffers so much. Family, as the basic unit of the social relationships, is the one receiving the most negative effects of technological and industrial advancements. Intimacy and attachment has been much a hard case to deal with when dealing especially with the modern married couples.
The thoughts of long ago regarding the long-run relationship that marriage is supposed to be had been gradually changed by the fact that system of the society today have already changed as well. The priorities and the goals of individuals have already been exchanged with the need of being economically successful in the field of their own chosen careers. Sadly, although both men and women are aware that they were meant to share a special relationship based on love, only few are able to realize to understand the reality of the vows that they give at the brink of their wedding ceremonies.
Marriage, as a “human contract” is a special bond that should be considered as a serious link between two people who are bounded by love. However, at some point, the view of marriage has been changed during the present era. Because of the social changes, marriage has been subjected to different challenges. Today, conflicts are directly bombarded towards the relationship of married couples that in turn makes the situation much harder to deal with. As a result, many among those couples simply end up in divorce. Why is this so? Moreover, how are these particular cases of divorce related to the attachment theories that were further studies by psychologists to be able to explain the reason behind these particular occurrences in the society? These questions are the main reasons why I would like to use this particular topic as a focus of an impending study that I shall deal with for this certain course. Understanding the psychological claims regarding the said situations of marriage and divorce and integrating them with the actual theories that identify the reasons why they particularly occur in marriages would be the focus of the said study.
With the concern mainly directed to the married mates and their conflicts, I would intend to check different peer-reviewed journals that are directly related to the issues behind the marriage bond. From this particular research, I would like to see the consistency of the theories that were used to explain the reasons behind marriage conflicts and their actual impact on real experiences. I plan to examine the truth behind the claims and the relation of the theories with the actual occurrences. To start with, the introduction of the major literatures that would be utilized for the completion of this research.
A. The Truth behind Divorce Reports
The present society is an epitome of an almost perfect community of progress in terms of industrialization and economic growth. However, along with the said particular advancements it could be noticed that a certain sector in the society suffers alongside. The family, particularly, is one of the most important sectors of any human community. As the basic unit of organization, the family remains as the primary source of values and personality development of each individual in the society. It could not be denied that although there has been much progress on different issues of the society concerning the economy and technology, the suffering of the human relationships such as the family indeed has a great effect on the progresses that the society deals with.
B. The Conflicts
For many years, it has been a standard definition of a family to be referred to as a group of people who are related to each other and are thus bonded together by blood. The attachment within the said group goes beyond just the existence of a common blood, but it is further linked stronger through the existence of love.
With the said advancements though of the society, the family is further subjected to facing several issues that concerns the strength of its ties. With this point of focus, the relationship that exists between all its members should then be carefully examined. This examination should involve the said relationship with the social progress that the family faces today. From the surveys conducted by several social volunteers, there are at least three major factors of human relationship that contributes to the aggravation of the situations that the family faces at present. These three factors include time, communication and intimacy. Time primarily involves the ability of the family members to give other members the needed the time that they are due for bonding and development of their relationship as a family. Since time is lacking, the members of the family are having a hard time creating time for themselves to at least deal with each other through communication, in turn, intimacy is lost. This is specifically true with parents, or married couples. Because of the time that they devote to their jobs, they usually find it hard to balance their time to give each other attention for the sake of the development of their relationship. As a result, the love that they once have lost the love that they once had for each other because of lack of time, communication and intimacy, their relationship’s solidity begins to drift away.
This is where the issue of divorce comes in. It is much usual that when the couples loose their love for each other, their relationship begins to lack the strength it needs to help them stick together. As a result, most of them end up on divorce. As for a fact, there are at least 54% of the newly married couples in America end up in separation when they reach at least an average of three to five months of being together. At some point, around 29% of the said divorcees are young parents who decide that they are not yet ready to face the family life after living in together for some time. The children though that they leave behind or that they abandon in some way are the ones receiving the impact of divorce.
To help in the clarification of the issue, the following diagram is cited to show how many among the population in the American region actually submit themselves to marriage and how many of them actually have children.
Figure 1: Household Composition, 1970 and 1993
(Source: US Bureau of the Consensus, 1994;
as quoted by Diana Kendall, 1998, 299)
This diagram particularly shows that there is comparatively a high rate of couples who have their children within their own-created families. Hence, once they decide to go separate ways later on, the situation becomes a hard-to-deal-with account on the part of their children. To make the statistical data more clarified, the researcher of this paper has gathered the following notable data:
“Since the introduction of “no-fault divorce” in Canada 30 years ago, the rate of marital break-up has soared 600%. A third of marriages fail, and over a third of those break-ups involve children. One-fifth of Canadian children have lost a parent to divorce, with an effect that some sociologists now say can be “worse than a parent’s death.” Divorce is consistently associated with juvenile emotional disorders, crime,
suicide, promiscuity and later marital break-up.” From “The push for ‘high-octane’ marriages: An American state Rolls back the divorce revolution by re-establishing life-long covenants.
By Tim Rotheisler. Alberta Report, August 4, 1997 (Internet)
“The number of children living with both parents declined from 85 to 68 percent between 1970 and 1996. The proportion of children living with one parent has grown from 12 percent to 28 percent during this same time span.”
Quoted from Census Bureau’s release about its report on MARITAL STATUS AND LIVING ARRANGEMENTS (Internet)
From these particular reports, it could be noted that the number of children being directly affected by divorce are growing every year. Certainly, this also points out the need of attending to the needs of the children who are directly affected by the said result of social advancement towards economic industrialization that in turn is directly related to family issues at present.
With these particular reports and commentaries regarding marriage and divorce that has been collected through annual surveys and statistical analysis, divorce could then be considered as a major threat to the families, especially to the children who become the victims of this particular conflict in marriages. To be able to understand the deeper reasons behind these situations in a more clarified view, psychologists came up with a study that discusses the theories behind the major conflicts that marriages face today. This particular study pertains to the research on how the attachment theories particularly affect the relationship of married couples.
C. The Attachment Theories
It has been mentioned earlier that one of the main causes of the downfall of the strength of the marital link at present is the fact that the social advancements changed the priorities of human individuals. The time that they used to spend with their families is now used to attain more achievements in their own chosen career. As a result, only a few numbers of married couples are able to survive up to 50 years of lengthened relationship. However, with the studies that were further researched by psychologists, it could be noted that there are also some psychological reasons behind the development of marital conflicts. The finding particularly pertains to the development of attachment theories.
According to Dennis Coon, a behavioral psychologist, there are at least three types of attachment theories. The said types are to be discussed as follows:
It is a stable and positive emotional bond that makes an individual secure
about his or her partner. This particular attachment is marked by caring, intimacy, supportiveness and understanding. Moreover, people who are involved in this type of relationship think of others as generally well intended, reliable and trustworthy. As result, they are able to easily get into close relationships.
This type of closeness with a partner is influenced by fear of commitment and intimacy. People of this type of attachment usually pull back when the situation within their relationship gets tough. Another result of this particular attachment is that people tend to get suspicious, aloof, and skeptical about love. Overall, they are not able to become secure enough about their relationship that makes their attachments less lasting as expected. They tend to find others when they are faced with difficulties within a certain relationship.
This type of attachment is more of like a mix-up of what is secure and what is doubtful. It is a conflicting situation by which a person experiences intimacy towards a partner; desiring to constantly be with them and yet is having doubts on the capability of their partner to take care of them and the love that they offer to their mates.
(Buss, As quoted by Coon, 1999, 123)
With these particular types of attachment, it could be noted that people get involved within relationships for several reasons and have their own reasons why they at times opt to end their relationships. Their individual personalities indeed affect the part where their partners are also isolated to their own vision of what relationships are actually about. To support the said claims further, Buss tried to study the gender differences of men and women with regards their views of relationship.
The Involvement of Evolutionary Psychology:
“In a study of 37 cultures in six continents, Buss, a psychologist, found out the following pattern of human relationship bonds:
a. Compared with women, men are more interested in casual sex; they prefer younger and more physically attractive partners; they get more jealous over real or imagined sexual infidelities than they do over a loss of emotional commitment
b. Compared with men, women prefer slightly older partners who appear to be industrious, higher in status, or economically successful; women are more upset by a partner who becomes emotionally involved with someone else, rather than one who is sexually unfaithful (Buss, 1994, 19-28, As quoted by Coon, 1999, 124)
With these two main findings a conclusion could be derived. This particular conclusion refers to a rule male and female relationship. As a rule, women invests time and energy within a relationship. This is mainly because of the fact that women are involved in more effort than men when it comes to reproduction processes.
As a result, women think of long time relationship based closeness with their partners because of the fact that they are more expecting of a men who are able to provide them and their supposed children with the things ass well as the finances that they need. As a whole, women are more on commitment and long time relationship, while men are more concerned with the physical attractiveness of their partners and thus are able to change their mates easier than women could.
From this study, it could be noted that the attachment theories make deeper and more reasonable explanations why some people settle for separation than actually solving the problems of their marital relationship. Attachment theories as were given sense by the psychological studies, could be noted as the primary collected reasoning that could be used to understand marital conflicts in a deeper context.
To be able to prove the reality of the said theories and the claims of authorized reports mentioned in this chapter, I also propose to use a certain methodology that shall be discussed within the paragraphs that follows through.
So as to be able to incorporate Interpersonal communication within the methodology of this research, I plan not only to use the researches and the literature materials that were further cited earlier. Aside from the research based on writing, I also plan to get involved in an analytical interview with several married couples who are both having a good relationship and some who are not.
The interview questions shall be designed to encourage the respondents to unfold the possible deeper reason behind the conflicts that they deal with. The questions would also be designed to two sections that would address the respondents as mates and then later on as individuals. This is to be able to help them understand the fact that this research aims not only to resolve their problems as a couple, but also to resolve their issues as individuals that may consequently contribute to the betterment of their relationship later on.
Particularly, I would choose my respondents from few people married couples that I already know. This would help me understand the situation from more than just basing from what is obviously seen and observed from their answers during the scheduled interview. Knowing them in a deeper manner shall help me incorporate the values that they have as to how their situation goes well. With them knowing me, it would also help them disclose possible secrets within their relationship that may have triggered the conflicts that they have or may currently be dealing with still.
It would be a minimum requirement that the respondents are still living together or are still married. They are expected to at least have two to three years being together since this methodological research shall be particularly based upon the experiential accounts of the respondents as individuals and as couples.
To be able to help the three pairs of respondents disclose their selves to answer the questions provided for the interview. I would make use of the different tactics of conversation that would help me come up with the less-pressuring questions that are supposed to be answered. As for example, to ease some tension [since some questions would be quite personal], I would have sessions of interview that would isolate maybe an individual or maybe a couple from the others for them to be able to speak out their minds much freely. Aside from this, I plan to perform the interview method in a one-week span for me to be able to get the needed informations from the respondents in a not so pressured time limit. This particular visits and some panel interviews between me and my respondents would make the process much easier to complete, while coming up with the more essential informations needed for the research.
Data Collection and Presentation
I plan to use the integration of averaging with the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the data that shall be collected trough the interview. Obviously, the data that are expected to be gathered would mainly be opinionated. Hence, the connection that the opinions and the theories would share shall be analyzed well through the average results off all the responses that I shall receive from the respondents themselves.
To clearly present the final results, the usage of charts and diagrams shall be implemented. Accompanying the said diagrams and chart or tabular presentations are the explanations that would support the information that they ought to tell the readers in particular.
As the methodology that would be used would be consisting of research materials and its integration with actual-situation-based interviews, it could be expected that the result of this particular study would become an effective proof of the validity of the explanation using the attachment theories to refer to the conflicts that the married couples experience during their stay together. Furthermore, I also expect to find the deeper reason behind the marriage conflicts and be able to find several suggestive solutions that could attend to the major problems that married couples usually meet. This is to particularly help in the campaign for the sake of the children who are further victimized by the occurrence or existence of divorce in the society.
Review of the Purpose
As it has been mentioned earlier, this research is further designed to raise the conflicts that directly affect the lives of married couples. Along with the disclosure of the said problems, their reasonable explanations of occurrence shall be examined through the examination of their connection with the attachment theories. Consequently, it could be noted that through this particular purpose, I might also be able to find some possible solutions to the said conflicts as their roots are already to be discovered.
Scope and Limitations
Although the research that is proposed herein is strongly designed to address the main problems that are governing the human marriages today, there are still several areas that this study may nor be able to comprise within the time and the methodology that is planned to be applied. Particularly, the issue on how attachment could also be used as a way by which a marriage conflict could be solved is not so much focused upon in this study. Hence, it would be better if further studies could attend to this particular topic in the future.
To sum up, the entire study would be concentrating on the theoretical and actual situations of marital conflicts. This topic, as per mentioned earlier, indeed concerns several individuals who are within a relationship or within a family that is governed with such kind of conflicts, hence, making the study an essential topic for research and discussion.
Aside form the methodologies used herein, mainly the interview of the couples who are directly experiencing conflicts within their married life, it could also be appealing to get the opinions of the experts such as marriage counselors, regarding the matter. Their opinion with regards the situation would indeed contribute to the validity and accuracy of the end report. More than that, it could also be expected that with the integration of such expert-based opinions, the application of the solutions that may be gathered from the methodology could become much effective as to actual situations.
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