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Games Of Statuses. How To Maintain Balance In A Relationship - Relations
Games Of Statuses. How To Maintain Balance In A Relationship - Relations

Video: Games Of Statuses. How To Maintain Balance In A Relationship - Relations

Video: Games Of Statuses. How To Maintain Balance In A Relationship - Relations
Video: Relationship Games: Power Plays 2023, June

What happens in a relationship when one of the spouses changes their social status? For example, does she go to work after a break, or receive a promotion and "bonuses" in the form of business breakfasts and business trips, or stops working - of her own free will or by force?

Thought Contract

In systemic family psychotherapy, there is the idea that partners enter into an unwritten and even unconscious marital contract with each other. This does not happen simultaneously, spontaneously and by itself. At that moment when one sees the other and for the first time catches himself thinking “I want to be paired with him, I want this for myself,” - oops, the contract has already been concluded. Its principal points are the characteristics, features, features of "the very same".

For example, future (but still unaware) spouses meet at a party and he pays attention to it. She holds her gaze, catches herself in admiration, admires how she laughs, how lightly and naturally she jokes, how great and simple she communicates with others, thinks: "I wish I could be with her!"

Any parallel is sure that it could become the equator if it were not infringed on its rights

Mark Twain

What unconscious agreement do you think he is making with his future wife at this moment? Perhaps he expects from her ease and simplicity in a relationship, an invariably good mood and a willingness to look at life with humor. In this case, every time she is sad, upset, dissatisfied with something, he will feel that she is acting dishonestly and violating agreements. She, in turn, also has something to present to him and what to expect from him.

For example, at a completely different moment in their life, she, seeing how he patiently and attentively explains to his grandmother, who is losing memory, how to use a mobile phone, catches herself thinking “I want to be with him” - at this moment an invisible record appears in the marriage contract “He is always balanced and patient."

And when he is angry that she is sad, she, in turn, is angry that he is intolerant of her weakness. Both feel free to make claims against the other. The set of expectations that each spouse forms in relation to the other is usually quite accurate - it is formed on the basis of the first impression and is related to the essence of the person.

In other words, the contract usually reflects who the person really is. Naturally, the spouses are unaware of these expectations from each other. Why is this long introduction about unconscious marital contracts needed? Then, that they can and should be realized and, which is very important, these contracts need to be regularly rewritten - including when the social status of one of them changes or when the couple goes through transitional stages.

Bifurcation points

Transitional stages can be called those stages in the life of a married couple, in which changes in social status are natural and inevitable. This is moving to their own home, the birth of the first child, the exit from the decree, the appearance of subsequent children, the stage of the "empty nest" - the departure of children to their own homes.

In each of these situations, the spouses go through a crisis, to get out of which they need to find new ways to organize their lives, establish / restore emotional and sexual intimacy, adjust the psychological distance and, of course, renegotiate contracts.

Otherwise, one of the important regulators of the well-being of a marriage is grossly violated - the balance between "taking" and "giving". This balance is based on the approximate value equivalence of what a person gives in a relationship and what he receives from a partner. Naturally, he invests not at all what he receives.

He gives what he considers important, necessary, useful and valuable (for example, care and time), and receives what his partner considers important (for example, protection and solving everyday problems). Or, in other words, he gives what he has in abundance, and receives what he needs.

While everything is more or less calm at the level of marital contacts, the family system is in equilibrium

I expect from you a good mood, you from me - patience. I have this patience - heaps (inherited from my grandfather, who worked at a shoe polish factory), but you, with a good mood, do not have a deficit. Both win, no one suffers.

What happens when one of the partners changes social status? There is no unequivocal answer to this question, since each pair has its own unique pattern of needs. We can only say with confidence that this leads to a local crisis in relations - perhaps not as deep as in the transitional stages, but also noticeable and leading to a shift in the balance in one direction or another.

Gender stereotypes

In her book "The Second Sex" Simone de Beauvoir wrote: "Women are not born, women become", meaning that being a woman or a man means learning in the process of education all those features of behavior, thinking and emotional response that are in this particular society considered feminine or masculine.

In the society of our contemporaries, women theoretically have as many rights as men. There are probably a little more responsibilities, since raising children has been and remains a predominantly female territory of responsibility (although there are some shifts here, it is too early to talk about global changes).

Where the divide lies is with regard to issues related to success. A man in our society is literally charged with being successful - building a career, earning a lot, being realized in the profession, demonstrating stability and purposefulness.

The woman is in an ambiguous and ambiguous situation. If she chooses a career, she collects disapproval from the environment due to the fact that she abandoned her female destiny (to bear children and cook cabbage soup), her husband (if any) is disliked, and the house does not sparkle; if she chooses “simple female happiness,” then she risks hearing accusations that she has domesticated herself, become a “clown”, lost herself in children, does not develop, and with such a wife, the husband must certainly be interested in other women. There is no easy choice if you are a woman.

Looking at this difference in social expectations regarding the sexes, it is easy to come to the conclusion that in a situation where a woman is more successful in her career and earnings than her husband, emotional stress in a couple should increase

In order not to fall out of the social stereotype and not look like a marginal in the eyes of those around him, the husband must immediately pick up speed in career growth, or make the wife give up her ambitions and voluntarily choose a demotion (for example, through maternity leave).

Both methods are not easy to execute, therefore, often an intermediate version of coping with a situation in a couple, where the wife is noticeably more successful than her husband, are “ransom” ones. The man receives some benefits that can be applied to his inflamed ego and to atone for the symbolic harm that the disturbed balance causes him. For example, a high salary of a wife allows her husband to realize himself in an exotic and expensive hobby or a profession that is not very popular, but very much loved.

In couples who are able to ignore social pressures (from the outside and from the inside - in the form of expectations, stereotypes and prejudices), inequality in status can run smoothly on the whole

Both are happy with the way their story is developing, and each does what he does best. But in this scenario, we again return to the importance of maintaining a balance between "take" and "give". Well-being in a relationship is possible only if there is a mutual feeling that each other's needs are being sated (in other words, contracts are relevant, timely rewritten and accurately executed).

Power and dependence

Who pays for groceries and shelter? Who is asking for money from whom? How is the family budget formed? Money, children and sex - these are, according to family psychotherapist Anna Varga, the most acute conflict topics in marriage. They can be combined with the question "Who makes the decisions?" Social status is inextricably linked with money or its deficit, which means that the issues of symbolic balance can be reflected in the balance of the real - which of the spouses has access to financial resources and how they dispose of them.

A husband can make a lot of money and occupy a high position, but at the same time receive money from his unemployed wife for lunch and pocket expenses. A hard-working wife can generously fund any wishes of her husband.

If there is a difference in social status, it is important that this does not become a space for abuse of power and manipulation. In other words, the spouse whose status is lower should not feel infringed upon his rights, "supplicant" and dependent on the other.

Each couple is looking for their own unique way to maintain the self-esteem of each spouse and the balance between needs and opportunities

And the more often you change your mental marriage contracts, adapting to new circumstances, the freer and more durable your relationship with your loved one will become.

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