Marriage is the intimate/conjugal relationship between a man and a woman. It begins with the choosing of a person with desirable qualities for marriage by an individual. For instance, educational achievement, socioeconomic, religious and racial factors might influence a person choice of a partner resulting to homogamy, heterogomous and endogomous marriages or relationships (p.149). In addition, Geographical availability of a person helps in the development of strong ties. For example, residential areas and colleges help in sustaining strong community ties as barriers are that might deter a person’s choice of a partner are eliminated. The choice of a marriage partner differs from one individual to another. Though love is an essential ingredient for marriage, it is important to consider other factors (p.140). For instance, some people consider religious/spiritual factors, economic/ physical factors among other issues. Also, others consider the personality which is the temperament of a person and includes the attitude or character of the person in general.
There is no specific place where a couple can meet as some people meet in schools/ colleges, work place or even during adversities! Therefore, to understand more about the choice of a marriage partner, I will interview three married couples namely: Michael and Riley, Corral and Lu Burston, and Gary and Tonya Speights
(Michael and Riley is a white couple, Corral and Lu is a biracial couple as Lu is a Chinese while Gary is a white man and finally, Gary and Tonya Speights have a great age difference as Tonya is 20years younger than Gary; it is an African-American couple. Each couple signs consent form hence the involved parties are entitled to adhere to the terms and conditions of the consent form).
Name of unit ________________________________________________
Name of assignment__________________________________________
Sociology of Families in America
1. I agree to be interviewed for the purposes of the student’s assignment named above
2. The nature and purpose of the interview has clearly been explained to me, I have read the assignment and/or the entire information sheet as provided by the student.
3. I agree that the interview may be recorded electronically.
4. Any questions that I have asked about the nature and purpose of the assignment/interview have been answered satisfactorily.
5. Choose a), b) or c):
a) I agree that my name may be used not for publication but only for the purposes of the assignment
and / OR
b) I understand/agree in case of future reference, that the student may pursue publication in the future and use my name.
c) I do not wish my name to be cited or used, or my identity remains otherwise disclosed, in the assignment.
Name of interviewee_______________________________________
Signature of interviewee____________________________________
6. I have explained all the required information about the project and the implications of the interview to the interviewee and believe that this consent is informed/clear and she/he understands the implications/effects of participation
Name of interviewer________________________________________
Signature of interviewer_____________________________________
Michael and Riley
Interviewer: Can you please explain about when and where you met your spouse?
Michael and Riley: (Michael chooses to speak) I am 30years old Riley is 28years old. We attended the same college, fell in love, dated for 5years and we have been married for 5years. Initially, we were good friends and participated in different activities together like going hiking, participating in volunteer activities among other things. This was made possible by education and proximity.
Interviewer: Michael and Riley, did you have an idea of what you were looking for in a spouse and did your choice meet that criterion?
Michael: No. I just needed normal relationships, I wanted to have fun with Riley but I must admit that I always wanted a beautiful woman in my life! A strong love bond developed but we decided to marry when she become pregnant with my child (Lamanna & Riedmann, 2012, p. 141).
Riley: I always wanted a tall handsome man in my life. I also wanted an emotionally stable and intelligent person. Michael fits under that category. Also, we were doing the same course so due to frequent meetings in class and group discussions, we became good friends.
Michael: I fell in love with Riley the moment I set my eyes on her! She was stunningly beautiful! She was also popular in college, so going out with her was like “attaining a trophy!”
Interviewer: Since you have been married for five years, have your expectations been met and have you been facing any challenges in your marriage?
Interviewer: How do you solve marital conflicts like religious differences?
Michael: For marital harmony, we do not allow our religious views to interfere (Lamanna & Riedmann, 2012, p.149) with our marriages hence each one of us is free to practice what we believe in.
Corral and Lu Burston
(Corral is a white man while Lu is of Asian origin)
Interviewer: How did you meet and how did you arrive to the choice of your partner?
Corral: Education is a source of empowerment as an individual acquires relevant skills, values and knowledge (Lamanna & Riedmann, 2012, p.149). Therefore, I met Lu when I was doing a PhD in one of the prestigious universities in China. I discovered that she was very intelligent. In addition, she was talented in gymnastics and this attracted me to her.
Interviewer: Did you have an idea of what you were looking for in a spouse?
Corral and Lu Burston: (Corral decides to speak)
Corral: Yes. I always wanted to marry an intelligent, white-American woman as my parents have pure American decency but I changed my perception when met Lu in the university as she is very intelligent.
Interviewer: Lu, what was your perception about interracial marriage and the cultural differences?
Lu: We come from different cultural/family background as I am a Chinese but we discussed this before we formalized our marriage. Though it was quite difficult for my parents to allow my migration to America, they finally accepted my choice of a marriage partner. Initially, I was a Buddhist but converted to Christianity when I decided to marry Corral. This is because I wanted our children to have common religious views.
Corral: What really matters is that we held similar values like respect and love for each other hence the issue of race or cultural differences was easy to handle as we maintained constant communication which is a recipe for a healthy marriage. Also, we received a lot of social support from both the matriarchal and patriarchal families so it was easy to adjust.
Interviewing Gary and Tonya Speights
(Tonya and Gary is a African- American couple and Gary is 20years older than Tonya) Interviewer: How and when did you meet?
Gary and Tonya: (Gary seems to be excited about this question and willingly answers this question)
Garry: We met in the church 15years ago. Her beauty and faith in God attracted me. We dated for five years and have been married for ten years.
Tonya: Garry is very handsome and we came from the same neighborhood so we often met quite often in church.
Interviewer: Since you share similar religious views and occupation, where there challenges?
Gary and Tonya: Our relationship did not have many challenges as we had similar goals and come from the same place (Lamanna & Riedmann, 2012, p. 149). Also, our faith in God has sustained our relationship/marriage.
Interviewer: Age is crucial in choosing a marriage partner, how have you managed to assimilate the age difference between you?
Garry and Tonya: (Garry chooses to respond) Sonya is 20years younger than me but she portrays a sign of maturity in her character. She always rationalizes her ideas hence creating mutual understanding between us.
Tonya: Garry understands and guides me in decision making like when involved in a difficult task like purchasing a family asset (handling money). This is in regard to his age so I always enjoy his company. In addition, whenever conflict arises, we are able to resolve it in a rational manner. He is in fact the perfect match for me!
The choice of a marriage partner is usually based on love. There are different types of love which include eros love characterized by strong emotional feelings, storgic love which is an affectionate love, pragmatic and agape love among others (Lamanna & Riedmann, 2012, p.140). From the interview, the choice of partner begins with physical attraction which the couples confused with love. This attraction leads to bonding. For instance, Michael argues that she “fell in love” with Riley but commitment was after Riley became pregnant. Therefore, if conception had not taken place, them Michael would probably not have committed himself to Riley. Also, their love did not meet the criteria of the love triangle which are passion, decision/commitment and intimacy (Lamanna & Riedmann, 2012, pg. 140).
Geographical availability also contributes to the choice of partner. Lamanna and Riedmann, argue that residential areas, colleges help in sustaining strong community ties as barriers are that might deter a person’s choice of a partner are eliminated (2012, p.149). This is because geographical availability helps in maintaining social class and educational homogamy. For instance, Corral and Lu Burston met in college a prestigious and educational achievement played a key role. Also, Michael and Riley met in collage and participated in similar vocational activities and proximity of their residence contributed to their meeting. Lamanna and Riedmann supports this by arguing that upper-class families usually send children in similar schools while middle-class families send children to middle class school hence the children only interact with others of similar social class hence maintaining an homonogamy relationship (2012, p.149).
Michael and Riley married because of unplanned pregnancy and though they argue that they married out of love, the driving force could have been the unborn child. Heterogamy marriage is also evident in the modern society due to improved means of communication that have improved geographical availability like interracial websites (p.149). For instance, For instance, Corray and Lu are married despite their cultural/ethnic differences.
Religion also plays a key role on the choice of a marriage partner, for instance, Gary and Tonya Speights met in the church but later learnt that they shared same geographical area. However, religious difference like in the case of Michael and Riley and, Corray and Lu could be a source of conflict in a marriage or in the choice of a partner. Therefore such differences should be discussed before marriage.
Though age is important in choosing a marriage partner, wide age difference can be a source of conflict. For instance, Tonya is 20years younger than Garry and I think this gap is too wide! How do you walk around with someone who looks like your father for a husband? Though the couple says that they have no conflict due to their age, their emotional maturity is obviously difference hence there is a significant form of conflict.
In conclusion, geographical availability and socioeconomic factors like educational level and social class play a key role in the choice of a marriage partner. Though interracial or heterogamous marriages are on the increase due the narrowing of geographical marriages by technology, there are challenges that might arise due to different religious or cultural views. Therefore, love or physical appearance of a person should not be the ingredient for a marriage.
Age difference also contributes towards the choice of a marriage partner but constant communication is crucial in resolving disputes among couples.