A Communication Perspective on Cohabitation and Contemporary Dating Relationships’’ by Jennifer S. Priem and Catherine A. Surra.
The family is an important aspect of society, an essential social factor that is defined by the way in which family members relate to one another, beginning from the relationships and marriage. There has been tremendous progress in the creation of better communication in the family unit. According to studies, the communication patterns impact each other from one generation to another (Vangelisti, 2004).
This essay is focused on reviewing the article, ‘’A Communication Perspective on Cohabitation and Contemporary Dating Relationships’’ by Jennifer S. Priem and Catherine A. Surra. The review summarizes the article, giving a brief structure analysis, identifying the interesting sections and providing a general reflection of the article.
Review of the Article
The general purpose of the article that is considered in this paper is exploring the current studies and educating readers through a unique and timely review of the relationships that exist in the family setting. It basically analyzes the existing literature on the families and the interaction of the family members. The authors shed light on the topics that re mainly concerned with the formation and structure of the family unit, as well as the importance of certain processes of communication. The article can be used as a guide in the study of family issues, especially by counselors and therapists. Besides, students in higher learning institutions can use it in researching family communication in their course. The article brings together different views that have been handled by the researchers, practitioners and therapists.
When family members unite, they create a social platform that is varied in the way it can cause harm to other people. Members of the family can avoid being hurt by creating a good environment that can enhance the comfort of everyone. This begins with the type of foundation that they build. The theoretical and methodological issues influence the way in which the family is perceived in the current society. The work of the writer is mainly focused on the links between communication and emotions in closely tied relationships. The article provides a comprehensive discussion and exploration of the current studies and theory on family interaction. It integrates various perspectives and issues in family interaction and analyses various methodological and theoretical choices that are made by the family researchers. The authors are focused on the methodological and theoretical issues influencing the description of modern families.
Major Conclusions from the article
- Families are systems
- Families are in coherence
- Communication enhances better family relations
- Communication in the family is tied onto social, cultural and physical contexts.
The article focuses on the cohabitation of couples as an issue that is currently being experienced in society. It defines cohabitation as the act of partners living together before marriage. The article drives onto the conclusion that cohabitation is acceptable to most Americans (Axinn & Thornton, 2013). It is a surprise that some parents advocate for cohabitation before couples are married. Others on the other hand, consider cohabitation as a substitute for marriage. Some couples engage in cohabitation and finally end up living as husband and wife without considering other formalities that are involved in marriage.
The article also comes to the conclusion that families are systems because the members therein are interdependent. The relationships between the members are also systematic. It is as a result of the connection between the members that create a team, giving them the name family (Vangelisti, 2004). According to the article, it should be understood that the interactions within the family and the influence they receive from external sources like the media that impact their social relationships and communication.
The social interactions in all these families vary from one unit to another. Gay and lesbian, single parent and step parent families are unique because the different people in the family are faced with various challenges and benefits that make them diverse or bring them together unlike those who are in a restrictive biological family. The authors provide a clear description of the patterns that differentiate social interaction in the various types of families that are in existence. There are various approaches that are created for every family to make sure that the people cope and live as one.
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Sroufe & Fleeson point out that families are coherent. The authors are of the view that a family is unit that can be easily understood since the processes therein are structured and organized. Families do not alter themselves and in case any change takes place, they are easily predictable. Normally, life changes just the same way as the economy, education, marriage, old age and other experiences which members in families encounter. This eases the study on interactions and social issues of family members.
Communication creates better families. Families are able to bond through their daily interaction with one another. Through daily communication, members of the family are able to create strong bonds. Besides, they are also able to create the roles that should be undertaken by each member in communication, thereby enabling children to know their roles as well parents and other members. Communications also ensures the maintenance of rules that are set out especially those that touch on privacy and understanding among family members.
Family communication is tied onto the social, cultural and physical contexts. The way in which the members behave and their cultural environment impact the way in which they communicate. The agreement of the family members to keep certain information private also impacts the way in which they communicate. This may either hinder or increase the closeness of the members, thereby creating restrained relationships amongst them. There is also the social factor whereby couples come from various social backgrounds, thus, some may hold conventional values unlike others. The communication of such couples is different from that of a couple that holds similar view on values.
Surprising Findings from the article
One of the findings about families in the article that has surprised many is that cohabitation in dating is likely to become the main cause or impact of closeness that is experienced by couples. The article builds on the argument that when partners live together during dating, they may feel the urge of getting committed and uniting in marriage. Most couples that cohabit end up in engagements and are committed to becoming an item. The more the couples feel commitment to each other; they are able to stay together for a long period of time. However, it is a surprise that cohabitation is discouraged even though it increases the feeling of closeness and commitment in most relationships as outlined in the article.
Another fact that appears to be surprising is that marital communication contributes towards the growth of the family unit. It is a surprise that communication in marriage is mostly focused on conflicts and situations that require problem solving. However, it is very important in families since it is critical in ensuring stability and satisfaction in many relationships (Vangelisti, 2004).
I hold the opinion that communication is an important aspect in the formation of interpersonal relationships. People achieve their goals by relating in one way or another with the people that they meet during their daily activities. I was brought up in a big family where everyone conformed to the set rules in the family irrespective of their age. This has created my strong belief in the fact that when people agree and listen to the opinions of one another about pressing matters, they are able to reach a consensus without experiencing conflicts. Based on the way I was brought up, I have interpersonal skills and an educational training that have enabled me to get along with different people and communicate effectively. This has helped me in building good relationships with almost everyone that I meet.
It is important to always seek and respect the opinions of others about an issue. This is essential in communication since it creates a consensus and when people are in agreement, it becomes easier to address the problems and handle situations. As a result of this, I believe in the need for the researchers to do more in educating people on effective communication within the families in order for them to help in building stronger families.
I can recall my aunt being in a very tricky situation after competing college and decided to cohabit with her boyfriend. The two had known each other for sometime but did not think it was a good idea staying together or even start living like husband and wife. In the process of their cohabitation, she became pregnant and the two of them had to live together in order to take care of their child collectively. They kept pushing their wedding forward until they had three children in the cohabiting relationship.
I am in agreement with the article that cohabitation could lead to some unimaginable situations where people live and forget that they need to get married and start a family, and fail to start a family before getting married. The couple got married just recently in their forties with older children, leaving people wondering about the kind of example that they had set for their own children. It is sad to learn that there are certain people in today’s society who approve of the relationships that look like rehearsals of lifetime commitment.
For people to have proper communication there is need for the creation of specific communication processes. Family members can find it much easier to handle difficult times if they can effectively communicate with each other. It is important that people learn to listen and consider the opinions of others on an issue before coming up with decisions. Besides, family members should also take time off their busy schedule and talk about issues that they feel are affecting their relationships.
People should feel well taken care of, when communicating especially with children. It is important to show empathy in order for the person to know and understand that there is someone who truly understands their feelings.
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Vangelisti, A. L. (Ed.). (2004). The Routledge handbook of family communication. Psychology Press.