Psychological Aspects of Gender and Couple Relationships
The psychology of gender and couple relationships still remains the most popular, engaging, and relevant issue. It concerns every person who seeks to create a strong long-term relationship, which becomes a basis of a family and a whole society, with another one. A human is a social creature that cannot and should not live alone. Searching for a worthy partner is an important task in the life of every person. Nothing could be more important than the harmonious relationship in a married couple and a joint parenting. In addition, the connection with the opposite sex is the best soil for the personal development. The strongest and weakest features of our character can be priory revealed in a love relationship. Therefore, the topic of relationship psychology is directly associated with the overall work on oneself. A man and a woman are the best psychologists for each other.
Building couple relations are a difficult and time-consuming process, which is based not only on the material wealth, but on a deep understanding of both sexes’ needs and various psychological aspects as well. Eight articles devoted to psychological aspects of gender and couple relationships are examined in this paper.
The research “Psychological Intimacy in the Lasting Relationships of Heterosexual and Same-Gender Couples” (2000) conducted by Mackey, Diemer, and O’Brien provides a nearly complete picture about the psychological relationships of heterosexual and same-gender couples. Authors devote their research paper to the problem of psychological intimacy and its importance in creating relations between the closest individuals. They also examine the lasting relationships and explore factors, which play a significant role in determining the quality of psychological intimacy. Psychologists emphasize the importance of the physical affection between partners, an ability to solve conflicts gently, a sense of fairness, and a mutual support within this relationship.
This study, which had lasted for 10 years, is particularly valuable because of its focusing on communicating with representatives of 108 relations at the middle and old ages. All of the persons are diverse, according to such determinants as sexual orientation, educational level, and race. The article is addressed to such problems, connected with the means of being psychologically intimate for separate couples. The study as well analyzes the factors, which influence the quality of heterosexual, lesbian, and gay male long-term relationships. It shows that the happiness of the couple principally depends on the partners themselves and their behavior towards each other. The same-sex relations could be no less successful than heterosexual, despite some special difficulties. A warm and cozy family atmosphere is not a result of the same-race union or equal educational level of the family members. However, it is a consequence of comfort psychological relationships between them.
The concept of intimacy should be a background of the gender and couple relations. It forms a basis of the examined article. Psychological intimacy is defined as a variety of verbal and nonverbal interactions, which embody willingness to be honest with the partner and readiness to discuss private feelings and thoughts with him or her. The theory of wearing masks in the everyday life also is reflected it this research paper in the content of a personal disclosure. It determines the stage of possible vulnerability in the couple relationship. For this reason, psychological intimacy means the disclosure and ability to trust one’s partner that can strengthen relationships between people who love and respect each other.
The article “Strengthening Couples’ Relationships with Education: Social Policy and Public Health Perspectives” (2008) written by Halford, Markman, and Stanley focuses on creating some mutually satisfying and health relations through providing the proper educational and social policies. Authors examine the principles of the couple’s relationship education (CRE) and develop some programs for its improving. They research the ways of decreasing the prevalence of relationship separation and distress and diminishing the rate of divorces. This paper analyzes the CRE’s effectiveness helping to avoid the risks of future relationship misunderstandings between young people and to strengthen psychological and physiological intimacy between the experienced partners.
The research findings of CRE could show the evidence of benefits and advantages of such an approach in regulating and improving social relations. Nevertheless, the efficacy of CRE should be still examined as well as a permissible level of interference in the private life of couples. In this case, the social policy imperatives promote the number of initiatives for settling the problems in gender relationships every year.
One of the most important reasons for supporting the CRE policy is negative effects of the couples’ relationship problems in a parenting and growing-up process of children. Adult members of family can also suffer from the unhealthy emotional atmosphere at home. Responsible states are deeply interested in saving the family institute and avoid the mass-disappointment in long-term relations. In 2006, the USA authorities awarded $150 million in grants to fund demonstration projects that concentrate on the delivery of CRE (Halford, Markman, & Stanley, 2008). In conclusion, we should mention that government supports CRE because of its positive influence on marriages (existing and potential). They have become a determinant of health relationships among citizens and form the score of the psychological well-being of the society.
The study “Men and Women Are From Earth: Examining the Latent Structure of Gender” written by Carothers and Reis (2012) involves a wide range of issues. We have primary observed non-physical aspects. Now, the research paper focuses on physical as well as on psychological questions. The taxometric methods in sex exploring that are used by the authors can examine the gender differences through researching the physiological characteristics (anthropometric features and strength), behavioral measures of common hobbies, a sexual indicator and intimate relations, gender-related dispositions (femininity, masculinity, care orientation, rudeness in communion, etc.), and intimacy (e.g. intimacy with the closest friend, social provisions) (Carothers & Reis, 2012).
The article deals with Spence’s gender identity theory. From the first weeks and months from the birth, every child gets a unique experience and behaves in a particular way. The child’s activity and experience determines whether a person is male or female, because the sexual identity includes not only physiological features, but psychophysical as well. The authors don’t challenge the average differences between sexes, but stress that they cannot present a holistic picture of the people’s behavior. It is vitally important to explore gender-typical psychological variables for developing and improving relations between men and women.
The interesting point of view is proposed by Carothers and Reis. They admit that sex could be the most important method of people categorizing. Thus, the gender relations are more important than any other. This thesis is supported by a simple example. Parents of newborns are interested first of all in the sex of their child. Even the information about the child’s or mother’s health is not so important at the moment. Naturally, all creatures are divided into males and females, who differ in many important behaviors, which have significant effect sizes.
Finally, the chosen research adopts an empirical perspective for defining whether gender differences are best characterized as qualitative or as a matter of degree. The study uses taxometric methods for determining whether they are taxonic (i.e. representing the existence of distinct categories) or dimensional (i.e. reflecting differences of a degree) (Carothers & Reis, 2012). After the numerous verifications and analyses, Carothers and Reis conclude that the dimensional approach dominates. The examined measures uniquely represent some examples of the same ground attributes rather than qualitatively different categories of human features.
The article “Femininity/Masculinity” written by Stets and Burke (n. d.) also deals with the theme of gender differences. It focuses on such aspects of gender identity as femininity and masculinity. The behavior of a man or a woman in any society depends on the person’s identification as masculine or feminine. The authors prove that both femininity and masculinity are rooted not in a biological sphere of a human being (sex), but rather in the psychological and social ones (gender). The proper distribution and categorizing of gender roles is a key to a successful relationship between a man and a woman.
The concept of gender roles is deeply explored in the study. Actually, gender identity shares the particular expectations of an activity and manners given one’s gender. A man is the pride and strength, and a woman means beauty and tenderness. Everything else stems from these basic differences. These are two different but mutually complementary indestructible lifestyles, which form a coherent psychological integrity and become weak separately. All cultures at all times (for example, the teaching about the Yin-Yang) emphasize that men and women balance each other in all psychophysiological and spiritual aspects.
Stets and Burke mention that the western civilization characterizes men as aggressive, instrumentally oriented, and competitive members of the society. Meanwhile women are much more expressive, cooperative, and passive. A man should take care of the family’s wealth, while the woman is obliged to protect the psychological comfort at home. In the modern society, the understanding of femininity and masculinity primary depends on social and cultural conditions. Unfortunately, in a lot of issues the duties of genders are mixed. Scientists advise to revise and rethink the femininity and masculinity nature for creating the harmonic relationships between genders. Observing the article, we also conclude that the heterosexual couples are preferable, because their relations are natural. Parenting together, men and women, even unconsciously, promote the balanced maturation of the new generation. Their responsible behavior can prevent from many psychological and social conflicts. The children in such unions are healthier psychologically.
The article written by of Ward called “Men and Women Can’t Be “Just Friends” (2012) is a study of current interest that focuses on the possibility of friendship between men and women without any romantic relationship. This topic is relevant because in the modern society, especially in Western countries, the representatives of opposite sexes are in a constant social interaction and can occupy the equal positions in the society. It gives a deceptive impression that feelings and instincts are sidelined. This article, as well as the previous ones, concerns the issues of gender identity and roles. This concept plays an important role in interpersonal relations.
The research shows that very often men and women do not realize how friendly sympathy could be important in intersexual relations. Even if we are not talking about love, people need to be attractive to each other. However, for the women attractiveness of their opposite-sex friends is much important than for men. It happens so because of innate feminine sensuality and romanticism. We conclude that the friendship between men and women exists and can be very successful. However, a sexual sympathy (at least, from the one side) will always be present in its context.
This article called “The Dance of Connection: 15 Simple Rules for a Remarkable Couple Relationship” deals with couple relationships and consists of advices for lasting and happy marriage. It was written in 2013 by Harriet Lerner. The research findings of this work can be useful for both young and experienced partners.
For improving a psychological atmosphere in the family, there is significantly important to pay attention at the following rules: 1) to say nicer and warmer things to a partner (at least, two-three ones) every day; 2) not to allow oneself extra criticism; 3) to be open-hearted, while listening a partner; 4) to find a balance between own interests and support of the partner; 5) not to forget sincerely apologize; 6) to be diplomatic and not demand an apology; 7) to perform even small promises; 8) not to press a partner emotionally; 9) to speak shorter, quieter, and calmer; 10) to be flexible in planning the time with a partner; 11) to leave a conversation, when it becomes nervous and overly expressive; 12) to be a mystery; 13) to mare some rules about using home techniques; 14) to take a sexual initiative; 15) to be interested in the family experience of parents for building the own one.
Fileta in her article “What Men Want in a Godly Woman” (2013) examines the features, which are extremely important for men, when they are searching for the life-partner. The concept of femininity/masculinity forms a context of this research. According to Fileta’s point of view, a woman should possess several characteristics for a successful marriage. For this reason, the woman must consist of realness (she should behave naturally and not be too inaccessible for a man), confidence (must know what she wants and be socially successful), beauty (she must take care of herself and be attractive), and passion (it gives a female some charm and makes her desirable).
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This study “Men and Women Cooperate Differently in Relationships: Study” (2013) points out the importance of cooperation between a man and a woman inside a couple. The basis of the relationship is emotional concept. This article explores that women and men have different approaches to the problem of supporting their partner. The emotional state of a man becomes well if his woman is happy and satisfied. Meanwhile a woman, on the contrary, becomes more irritable if she sees that her man is going to make concessions. Therefore, any cooperation between men is much easier.
If we had an opportunity to look into the deepest corners of the human soul, it probably would have seen how strong the need not only to be loved, but also to experience love and give someone that love is. We would see how much love lies within each of us. In many cases, this feeling remains unclaimed. It can be hurt when it seems that our love, i.e. the most precious thing we have, is not needed. Gender and couple relationships priory have a psychological and social origin and are based on exchanging of love. It is so because everyone needs a close friend or a partner, who can understand and support. These relations are diverse and complex. They need a lot of time to be created and are very vulnerable. It is important to carefully build them and protect.
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