The paper "The Marriage Institution in Choosing Mates – The American Way and State of Our Unions" is a good example of an article on social science. In this article, the author sets out to investigate the American way of mate choice by using research findings to discount the widely held supposition that dating provides a valuable experience among couples, and that the experience assists in paving the way for a successful marriage. Although the author dwells considerably on explaining how dating and courting were experienced during the early times, the major aim of the article seems to discount the American dating culture of the marketplace learning viewpoint, which underlines the fact that having a multiplicity of dating partners and then getting to know one or more serious prospects over a prolonged period of time and on reasonably personal terms leads to marital success.
According to the author, this marketplace psychology in choosing spouses has only helped to challenge America’ s premarital Puritanism, leading to increased instances of premarital cohabitation before marriage. In the survey involving 459 women, the researcher found that through dating does not work and the marketplace learning viewpoint is merely a misguided perception when it comes to spouse selection, marital success is not totally unpredictable as it is to a large extent reinforced by love and other factors that structure a couple’ s day-to-day marital relations.
A good way to generalize the points made by the author is to synthesize the most fundamental points that may lead to success in the marriage institution. It has been suggested that although dating may have its own advantages in terms of assisting couples to know each other better before entering into a marital relationship, it cannot in itself lead to a successful marriage.
In this perspective, it is important to highlight the factors that have been known to lead to a successful marriage in the American society, such as love and commitment, sharing power and decision-making in the family, pooling resources, enjoying similar leisure-time activities, having shared values and morals, as well as having mutual friends. Individuals wanting to have successful marriages should desist from selecting their spouses the same way they would buy a car in the marketplace, or undertake dating or courtship for long periods of time as all these variables are not related to marital success.
Ultimately, upon personal reflection, marital success is brought by a life-long commitment to each other, respect, love and sharing in similar family-related attributes and functions. The two questions to guide classroom discussion include (1) can arranged marriages lead to lower divorce and/or separation levels in the American society, and (2) why is selecting a spouse for life-long companionship quite different from buying a car? In this article, the author sets out to “ explore the power dynamic of marriage promotion, particularly in terms of the enforcement of heterosexuality and hierarchies of gender, race, and class. ” Through undertaking an ethnographic study in Oklahoma in 2004, it is clear that the author’ s salient points include (1) marriage promotion initiatives are guided by an assumption that heterosexual pairings define social institutions like marriage and family, (2) U. S.
federal and state law attaches a substantial number of advantages to heterosexual marriage, (3) there exists a gap between the stated objectives of marriage promotion initiatives and the realities on the ground, (4) fears about the declining importance of the nuclear family in American society is driving federal and state agencies to consider marriage promotion initiatives as a mechanism to re-institutionalize marriage, (5) the white middle-class family is still considered as the lens through which to view issues of marriage and family, and (6) the environment of the marriage promotion initiatives discourages dealing with gender outside the boundaries of marital heterosexuality. The article has important ramifications for sociological thought, especially in the realms of marriage and family issues in American society.
It is important to note how heterosexual relationships and the gender hierarchy that comes with this relationships continue to reinforce male-oriented domination in the marriage institution by compelling women to put up with men’ s idiosyncrasies since ultimately men are perceived as the stronger sex, and also how federal and state agencies across the country continue to embolden the white, middle-class families as a configuration of gender hierarchy predicated upon institutionalized heterosexuality. Consequently, while it is true that the fear of declining importance of the nuclear family unit in the American society is real and that rising family breakups are threatening the public order and imposing new burdens on core institutions in the society, there is need for policymakers and other relevant stakeholders to reformulate and redesign marriage promotion initiatives and workshops so that they do not continue to reinforce heterosexuality and male dominance at the expense of other sexual orientations and equality in marriage.
These initiatives, in my view, should be framed in a manner that the benefits attached to heterosexual marriages should also accrue to legally binding same-sex marriages.
The two questions to guide classroom discussion include (1) are the marriage promotion initiatives in the U. S. doing more harm than good, and (2) what is the relationship between the marriage promotion initiatives and the reinforcement of heterosexual marriages in the country.