... vi ties that go on between the partners in the relationship define and "provide the force that sustains relationships." (Dainton, 1, 1998) In marriage, most of the communication happens in conjunction with another activity. "Talk is embedded in the activities of everyday life." (Dainton, 5, 1998) Most of the conversation that occurs deals with catching up on the day, planning or coordinating some activity, and the usual small talk. The most important type of interaction is affection. This interaction is the most fulfilling and reassuring in relationships.
It also carries the most substance, and, therefore, is the most meaningful. Affection is necessary for the maintenance of relationships. The couple needs to know that their spouse cares about them, whether it is to be conveyed verbally or non-verbally. Empowerment and Decision-Making Now that it has been established that interactions between the dyad are a necessity, a closer examination of the interactions is needed.
Within the interactions themselves, who maintains the power authority and control? How does this affect marital satisfaction? In the past, it has been true that "males made all the important decisions in marital relationships and females dutiful y complied with hat ever the males wished." (Richmond, McCroskey, & Roach, 1, 1997) However, that is not the case these days, in fact, the women's movement has empowered women a great deal more allowing them to have a greater influence in / on society. Most of the marriages in our society attempt to attain equality from each member of the dyad. "Such relationships are highly dependent on communicative interaction for decision-making and mutual influence of the marital partners on each other." (Richmond, McCroskey, & Roach, 1, 1997) A marital dyad that demands equality must use communication to attain it. Couples who have an equal balance of power in their relationship report the highest level of satisfaction in their marriage.
It is also found that spouses that have made an attempt to influence their spouse's behavior will probably induce a negative outcome. Then with that negative outcome, marital dissatisfaction will eventually develop. Some negative outcomes that are a result of an imbalance in marital power are "verbal / symbolic aggression, marital violence, and relational dissolution." Richmond, McCroskey, and Roach, 4, 1997) Members of marital dyads do not like when their partner tries to influence or coerce them. The highest satisfaction is reported when each member used "referent power." Referent power is based on trust, respect and care.
"In the context of a marriage, the more affection and respect one has for the other, the more that person will try to please the other." (Richmond, McCroskey, & Roach, 5, 1997) Referent power is when a member defers power to the other member. This occurs when one member of the dyad is more knowledgeable, or has more competence in relative areas. In essence, they put their trust in their apo uses control. However, who holds control when it comes to relational maintenance? Maintenance is important in keeping marital satisfaction.
Women are generally more comfortable in talking about their relationships with men. "Women are more sensitive than men to social cues, and therefore, more aware of the quality of their relationships." (Ragsdale, 2, 1996) Women are, for the most part, in control of relational maintenance. "Women use verbal expressions of affection more than men and also more often choose direct discussion in handling minor conflicts." (Ragsdale, 3, 1997) As a result of this, women tend to issues better than men and try to get problems solved. Women are also more self- in their marriages than men, therefore sharing more of themselves with their spouses.
Self-disclosure that is reciprocated by the spouse helps the relationship progress to deeper levels, therefore, projecting more satisfaction and creating a two-way communication. It helps to empower each member of the dyad and allows for easier maintenance. Expectations and Fulfillment "Every communication message has a relational and content component." (Kelley & Burgoon, 41, 1991) The relational component tells how one should receive the message. It pertains to what association the sender of the message has to the recipient and how the content, or devotive meanings of their message should be read. These meanings and messages are used to define the relationship.
These definitions are then used to set op guidelines or set up relational expectations. In a marriage, there are expectations that people set for each other. Whether these expectations consist of a spouse taking the garbage out, a spouse calling to say that they will be late, or expecting that a spouse not set any rules at all; they are, all the same, expectations that individuals hope will be met. Relational expectations may either be prescriptive or predictive. "Prescriptive expectations are one's beliefs about what behaviors should be performed or avoided." (Kelley & Burgoon, 41, 1991) "predictive expectations are one's beliefs about what behaviors are likely to occur." (Kelley & Burgoon, 41, 1991) When it comes to relationships, it is important not to violate expectations, especially prescriptive expectations. Unless of course, it is a positive violation, then the actions exceed the expectations and illicit positive outcomes.
Violations result in "status degradation" and "re-examining the relationship." (Kelley & Burgoon, 42, 1991) It is found that discrepancies in expectations are "higher in disturbed marriages."" (Kelley & burgo on, 43, 1991) So, if there is to be marital satisfaction, it is necessary not to create too many expectation violations in the relationship. Communication is the basis of all interactions. During interpersonal communication it is necessary that the participants reach a mutual understanding of what message each other is trying to convey. This mutual understanding is vital to sustaining a functional relationship. As with any relationship, marriage is no different. Each member of a marital dyad must have clearly defined, and understood communication between them.
Satisfaction and stability in a marriage is achieved through communication and interaction between its members. A breakdown of interpersonal communication is positively related to dissatisfaction in a marriage. How can this problem of dissatisfaction be taken care of before it begins to be a within the dyad? Is it even a possibility to alleviate the rising divorce rate? Too many people are getting divorced today, and the institution of marriage is losing its meaning. It is no longer thought of as a bond, or a tie that keeps people together "till death do us part." I believe that by continuing research on marital stability and satisfaction many more questions will be answered. Many more ways in which satisfaction is obtained will be uncovered as well.
I know that there will never be an equation for marital satisfaction, but hopefully people will realize that communication is the key factor to having positive relationships. And by using good communication, satisfaction in those relationships will follow.