Disjunctive vs. Conjunctive
Discourse Behavior in Couples
Section A: Categorizing Interactions Using the Ennead Chart
This is Table 1d (READ TABLE FROM BOTTOM UP)
PHASE THAT GOVERNS THEIR INTERACTIONS
Relationship at the INTERNAL
Relationship at the INTERMEDIATE
e.g., partners know but often disagree with each other's opinions and justifications
e.g., partners take turns giving in even if they don't agree
Relationship at the EXTERNAL
e.g., the wife's movements are directed by the husband using force, threat, or intimidation
e.g., the partners' interactions are governed by the expectations of tradition and family
This Table can be found in Section 8 of the Lecture Notes on The Unity Model of Marriage by Dr. Leon James: http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy26/409b-g26-lecture-notes.htm#Table%201d
The table above illustrates what an Ennead Chart looks like. This chart is composed of 9 cells of zones (ennead= nine). Each of these 9 cells are created through the cross alignment amongst a couple’s threefold self and whichever phase the couple falls into that governs their interactions. The couple’s threefold self is made up of each individual’s three domains of behavior: sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective. Sensorimotor acts exhibit physical characteristics that reflect their relationship phases or their sense of identity. Cognitive processes are the individual’s thoughts and beliefs which they bring into the relationship. Affective states are the motivations and feelings we have within ourselves and what’s projected onto our partners. By understanding the threefold self, we can understand how our individuality affects our future encounters in relationships or the phases we come to adopt.
Anyone who glances at the Ennead chart will immediately notice that the beginning of the chart is at the bottom. This “bottom-up” philosophy of development applies to most aspects of human life. When you are born, your physical body is small and you are incapable of taking care of yourself until you grow up. When you enter a job or internship, in most cases you begin at the bottom and must “work your way to the top.” Applying this concept to The Unity Model of Marriage, it should be no surprise that the bottom level, referred to as the Dominance Phase, is the beginning basis for all relationships. Starting from Zone 1 (highlighted to indicate where the relationship remains); couple’s enter relationships from the Dominant Phase. Social, cultural, spiritual, and traditional influences initially affect the couple’s behavior. Their threefold self is governed by dominance and the idea that men ULTIMATELY have rights on how they want their wives to be. These influences challenge the man’s desire to abandon tradition and total independence; therefore he continues to resist his significant other’s pleas, demands, suggestions, or desires. However, there are men who gain willpower to overcome these restraints and move towards achieving higher levels of companionship.
Moving in the Equity Phase or the intermediate level of relationships means that men are more willing to give up some of their independence and work to develop a more equal relationship with their spouse. However in this phase, unity cannot be achieved on the basis that both partners in the relationship desire to retain their separate identities and fail to conjoin in order to become one. Conjoining is defined as a husband and wife’s (or boyfriend and girlfriend) will to relinquish their separate identities and become one person or soul. Dr. Leon James defines the Equity phase as having a competitive mentality because both spouses seek to achieve fairness and not complete unity. Their interactions are scrutinized constantly because some circumstances they will encounter may not always yield a fair decision. Also, sometimes fairness is not enough. Women at times don’t wish to play the “agree to disagree” card. They want complete understanding and affective conjunction from their spouse. Zone 5 is highlighted to show that although the couple remains in cognitive conjunction, they still haven’t acquired affective conjunction thus advancing them into the Unity phase of marriage.
Achieving sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective conjunction allows you to move into the Unity phase or the internal level of marriage. I believe Dr. James should call this level “eternal” because couple’s who wish to enter the Unity Phase of marriage have beliefs that they will be together throughout eternity. This level allows couple’s to fully agree on each other’s beliefs and desires. Initially, when a woman enters a relationship, if she acknowledges total commitment to her partner, she will strive to help her spouse align his thoughts and feelings with hers. Zone 9 highlights that couple’s in the unity phase have achieved this affective conjunction by the total commitment and the husband’s will to align his thoughts and feelings with his wife’s. Couples in this phase think move, think, and feel like each other. The ennead chart helps in the visualization of The Unity Model of Marriage and guides readers in applying these concepts to relationships people see.
“Because I love you and I can’t do this to you.” – Rafi in the movie Prime (2005)
Prime (2005) is a movie about a recently divorced woman named Rafi, who in the beginning sees a therapist about her problems becoming newly single. Rafi, a 37 year old woman, is encouraged by her therapist to embrace this situation and her age by venturing out into the world and exploring new opportunities. A new opportunity arises when she is sought out by a man named David who is 14 years her junior (23 years old) and develops a relationship with him. She finds this as a refreshing experience until she realizes that the man she is dating happens to be her therapist’s son, who despite hearing all of the juicy details of her son and Rafi, continues to adamantly disapprove of their love for each other. Through the couple’s ups and downs, their relationship ends up in dissolution as Rafi refuses commitment with David.
Zone 1: External Coercive Interactions:
When Rafi and Dave go on their first date, Rafi inquires about David’s age. David, feeling reluctant in sharing that piece of information with her,
Rafi: “Dave, quick question for you. How old are you?”
Dave: “Actually, I don’t speak Vietnamese, why do you ask?” –Because he knows Rafi is an older woman and he is scared about what she’ll think of his age, he indirectly refuses to answer her question through insensible humor.
Rafi: “Are you being evasive?” –Rafi at this point is laughing and giving in to his humor, but still fights for her concerns.
Dave: “I am trying…you know I don’t really tell my age. I think people get way too caught up in it.” – Here Dave now knows he cannot avoid Rafi serious inquisition. But he still wishes to uphold his dominance by being direct and telling her that he doesn’t want to say his age. Also, he starts to display affective disjunction in his last statement because he’s not caring about Rafi’s possible feelings and thoughts on the matter.
Rafi: “I’m 37, did you know that?” – Rafi has her mouth wide open which is a sign of sensorimotor disjunction because it shows that she is offended by his rudeness towards her. She continues to probe his thoughts in order to see if he cares.
Dave: “No, I haven’t thought about it.”- David is lying when he states this. It is obvious through shaking his head, looking away, facing his body away and frowning that he holds on to his independence, thus stuck in sensorimotor dominance.
Rafi: “SURE you haven’t. Look, I know you’re a lot younger than me but, you know, how much?” – At this point, Rafi is looking straight at David, yet David turns his head and body away from her, shakes his head while she is talking, and smiles (but this somewhat mocks what she is saying).
The conversation ensues but the mystery of Dave’s age is solved. When Rafi finds out Dave is 23, she tells him that she doesn’t know if she should be doing this. He rolls his eyes and then tells her “Come on,” and she submits to his dominance by following him towards what he has planned for her.
Zone 2: Internal Coercive Interactions:
Dave brings his friend over to hang out although Rafi doesn’t like other people over in her “living space.” When she finds that Dave’s friend is in her house, and hiding nonetheless, she gets upset and an argument ensues.
Rafi: “What is going on here?”
Dave: “Ok, ok, ok, ugh… We were only here for a few minutes and I heard you coming and I panicked and I told him to hide.” – Although Dave is clear to Rafi about why he hid his friend Murray in the closet before Rafi came home, he still went against Rafi’s views on whom she would like in her apartment.
Rafi: “You hid him in the closet?”
Dave: “Rafi we were only here…”
Rafi: “…long enough to have a beer with your pie-throwing sociopath friend.” – Now Rafi used a tactic describe in Deborah Tannen’s book Gender and Discourse. Tannen (1994) states that many researchers believe that people who interrupt [particularly men] are dominant speakers. However, Tannen (1994) argues that women interrupt far more than men in conversation, but this may not necessarily be a sign of dominance.
Rafi: “What is wrong with you? I can’t believe I have to come home to this! People hiding in the closet, you’re lying. A godamn pre-schooler Dave!”
Dave: “You had me on lockdown since the minute I moved in here.” – Dave is now blaming Rafi for his mistake. He’s staking his independence on what and whom he believes is wrong in this situation instead of aligning what he should think along with Rafi. Rafi thinks that having people over invades her personal space but Dave needs to retain his independence. Earlier before this scene, we saw Dave’s friend trying to convince him that Rafi is trying to control him and he needs to stand up for himself. Dave is allowing his social life, independent of Rafi, take precedence over her beliefs and views.
Dave: “Yeah! You tell me you want me here and then you treat me like an inmate.” – Dave is projecting his mistake on Rafi. Freud discussed projection as a defense mechanism where a person takes something wrong about them and projects it onto someone else and claims that they are the one that has the problem.
Rafi: “An inmate. I mean, you barely carry your weight around here Dave. I do everything and you can’t even clean up around the place. I mean the one thing I ask you is to tell me when you bring someone over here.” – Rafi is pleading with him and trying to make Dave realize how she thinks and feels things should be done.
“Rafi, this is not a big deal. You need to get over it. I’m not Francis. I’m
not lying, I’m not cheating on you, and I’m definitely not avoiding you.” –
Dave is now using a Freudian defense mechanism called denial. He’s is denying
all of the things he has obviously done. He initially lied to her about hanging
Rafi: “Thanks, that’s reassuring…”
Dave: “I can’t do this anymore. You should get a dog if you want to give orders because I really don’t give a …. Anymore!” – Dave now abandons Rafi and claims his independence, man-hood, and self-proclaimed dominance. This argument scene is a great illustration of men who refuse to care and accept what a woman thinks and her beliefs on matters. They walk away, yell, use denigrating language in order to stake their independence and coerce the woman to accept their ideals.
Zone 3: Inmost Coercive Interactions:
This scene is after Dave acts completely rude to Rafi’s boss and refuses to sincerely apologize for his behavior.
Dave: “I just asked him something, where something was, and he gave me all of this attitude.”
Rafi: “Jesus Dave, that’s totally uncool.” –Rafi is upset about David’s immature behavior towards her boss. She is acknowledging her feelings about the situation.
Dave: “That guys a shmuck.” – Dave continues to aggravate the situation by ignoring what Rafi’s feelings towards his behavior. He continues to act irrational.
Rafi: “A Shmuck? That is the guy I work for. Who are you? What are you thinking?” – She is directly stating that there is disjunction between them. While he shows disjunctive sensorimotor acts by facing his head and body away from her while she is talking, folding his arms, and frowning, he also shows cognitive disjunction by not aligning his thoughts and beliefs on that particular situation with hers. He then begins to show affective disjunction with the preceding statements.
Dave: “I got cut to one day at work. Then I find out I have to be out of my place by Monday. I’m going to be broke. I’m sorry, okay?” – He doesn’t see, think, or care (sensorimotor, cognitively, or affectively) about Rafi’s feelings towards the matter. Instead, he puts what’s going on in his life above how she feels. In Section 17a, the concept of “Not Making Up Adequately Enough” was brought up. At the end of Dave’s statement he just says “I’m sorry, okay?” He expects Rafi to understand because he’s going through a rough time in his life. However, this is a disjunctive conversation act because he’s not allowing himself to see how Rafi’s feelings we’re disturbed by his behavior. His justifications only further his will for affective dominance because he’s forcing Rafi to put her feelings on the side and take care of his. This is doesn’t propose unity, nor is it obviously fair. It only establishes affective dominance unless Dave can align his feelings with Rafi’s and not vise versa.
Zone 4: External Negotiated Interactions
Rafi wants Dave to show her what a normal Friday night was like for him before he dated Rafi. Dave stakes his independence by trying to avoid her demands but accepts the fact that it’s all right for her to see what he used to do.
Rafi: “Ok. Let’s do something, it’s a Friday night.”
Dave: “What do you want to do, start observing the Sabbath or something?”- Dave uses sarcasm as a form of dominance in the conversation.
Rafi: “No, I want to know what a normal Friday night was like for you before you met me. I mean, you didn’t sit around fireplaces in the village drinking merlot did you?”
Dave: “Mm, I usually used to sit around trashcan fires… drinking 40’s.” –Instead of being sarcastic, Dave starts to give Rafi fair and truthful answers.
Rafi: “C’mon” – Rafi is indirectly pleading with him to be more specific. Tannen (1994) stated that indirectness is not just a form of weakness, but rather the person being indirect is seeking rapport from the person they are being indirect towards. Building rapport with the person you are talking with is a style found in unity interactions. In the Equity Phase, rapport is lacking because their two separate identities inhibit it.
Dave: “What?” – Dave still tries to hold onto his independence by not
Rafi: “I want to know what you did. Show me!”
Dave: “Are you sure.”
Thus Dave takes Rafi out on what he would normally be doing before he met her.
Zone 5: Internal Negotiated Interactions
Rafi talks to her therapist (who happens to be Dave’s mother) about her and Dave’s thoughts on how much Rafi should give to their relationship.
Rafi: “I mean, maybe if I give myself to him completely, he’ll step up in the ways I need him to. He said he knows I’m not giving all of myself and it’s unfair to us.”
Then Dave’s mother terminates the conversation and tells the truth about Dave being her son. The point I’m trying to make with this example is that Rafi and Dave are trying to make their relationship work. When they discuss what each person needs from one another, Rafi believes that she needs to give herself more to the relationship. This statement most likely infers that Rafi needs to ease the pressures of her career, lighten her expectations on him, or be there for him more in his times of need. Dave agrees and thinks that Rafi is not giving herself more to him, implying that Dave gives most, if not everything to her. They negotiate and come to a mutual agreement, but as discussed in Section 12 of The Unity Model of Marriage, Dave’s thoughts on what’s “fair” contradicts Rafi’s ultimate needs and only contributes to her mental distress. Dave has advanced from the Dominance Phase, but resides in Equity because he focuses on what’s fair and not on complete, inmost happiness. He acknowledges that there are problems, but since he doesn’t realize the idea of easing Rafi’s mental distress, he has not advanced into the Unity phase.
Zone 6: Inmost Negotiated Interactions
Dave corners Rafi in an elevator and pours his heart out to her and his desire to be with her.
Dave: “I’m Sorry.”
Dave: “And it was a really, really bad call and I wasn’t thinking. I’m so sorry Rafi. I just wanted this stuff to go along, but you gotta work with me…Look, Rafi we might have some things that are working against us and I do screw up from time to time but so does everybody else. The difference with me is I am actively, trying so hard to get it right and I want to be the man that you see in me every so often…I want to be that guy for you. Bottom line is, I love you so much. I’ll figure it out, okay? I’ll get it. You just got to give me a chance.”
Knowing that he loves and desires to be with her, Dave pleads with Rafi to accept him back into her life. First she must accept that he is sorry and that he made mistakes, but then again most people make typical mistakes. Although she what he does affect the way Rafi feels, Dave believes that it would only be fair for her to work with him on his misbehaviors and give him another chance because he really loves and needs her. Dave is motivated by Rafi to be the man that she wants him to be. Rafi really loves and desires Dave to that’s why she becomes motivated to accept him back into her life. The couple seems so close to Unity. Dave is motivated to be everything that Rafi wants him to be, but then Rafi loses her commitment with Dave. She realizes that it’s too late. Rafi feels that through Dave’s repeated actions, he cannot prove himself to her in being the man she desires. She does not desire being fair and working with him to be a better man. She expresses her gratitude for all that he’s done and been to her but she will not help Dave to understand her intentions. Their relationship dissolves without accomplishing movement into the Unity Phase.
“Like you said, this is it. This is Life. And I’m in Love with you Samantha. I think that’s the only thing I’ve ever been sure of in my life.” –Andrew in Garden State (2004)
Zone 1: External Coercive Interactions
While Andrew is in the waiting room for his Neurologist appointment, a seeing-eye dog starts humping his leg. He doesn’t know what to do and hears a girl laughing at him. This girl happens to be Sam and he asks her what to do. She gives him some advice which he refuses to take which then initiates a conversation between the two.
Andrew: “Thanks for your help, well at least your good intentions.”
Sam: “I recognize you…Not from high school but from T.V. Didn’t you play the retarded quarterback…Great job man!”
Sam continues to compliment Andrew on his acting skills. Andrew barely glances at her and slightly ignores her compliments while he continues to fill out his forms for the Neurologist.
Andrew: “Well, thank you, thanks. Appreciate it-I have to fill out this form though, so…” – Andrew cuts her off and thanks her, but continues to focus on himself. He nods his head while saying no as an indirect gesture to communicate that he doesn’t want to engage in anymore conversation with Sam. Referring back to indirectness mentioned above. Tannen (1994) stated that indirectness was a means of building rapport with the person you are conversing with. Indirectness can also be a means of showing dominance and given in her example with the Greek father and daughter. Andrew shows dominance by using indirect forms of communication (facial gestures, non-use of eye contact, body gestures, etc). Sam will then continue her praise and, despite Andrew’s lack of interest, go on to talk about her cousin who aspires to be an actor. After her discussion, she begins to grasp Andrew’s lack of interest and says “I talk too much. I won’t speak. You got all of your forms to fill out.” Sam submits to Andrew’s lack of interest and the dominance ideal that threatens further conjunction.
Zone 2: Internal Coercive Interactions
Andrew takes Sam home from the clinic and uses this moment as an opportunity to get out of a previous obligation to one of his other friends.
Andrew: “Are you doing anything right now?”
Sam: “Can you elaborate on doing anything?”
Andrew: “No, I just knew this guy Jesse who bought this mansion right up here and he wants me to come visit him, but I don’t want to stay very long so I was thinking, like, if you came too I could just say I have to take you home when I’m ready to go.”
Sam: “Wow. That’s pretty damn random of you Andrew.” – Here Sam uses sarcasm to show her shock at Andrew’s self-interests.
Andrew: “I know.” – Andrew says this while phasing out and not really thinking about what he’s asking from her or what she thinks about his proposition.
Sam: “Nice to meet you, can I use you?” –Again she uses sarcasm to call him out on his manipulation.
Andrew: “No.” – He uses the defense mechanism of denial as discussed above. He is clearly using her without any thought and coerces her by making her go along with what he wants to do so she can get a ride home.
Andrew: “No, c’mon it’s not like that.”
Zone 3: Inmost Coercive Interactions
Andrew is at the airport and he tells Samantha, who is emotionally upset, that he has to leave her in order to find himself. Samantha is so upset and tries to convince Andrew otherwise but he continues to follow his own thoughts, motivations, and desires.
Sam: “What are you thinking about? You’re not coming back, are you?”
Andrew: “C’mon Sam. Of course I am.”
Sam interrupts: “No you’re not! You don’t realize. This is it. This is good. This doesn’t happen often in your life you know. We can work this stuff out. I want to help you, you know. We need each other…” –Sam fully commits and wants to conjoin to Andrew. She is desperately trying to make Andrew understand how much she wants to help him through his problems and how they’re love is something that they cannot ignore.
Andrew: “Look, this isn’t a conversation about this being over. It’s…I’m not like, putting a period at the end. I’m putting like an ellipsis. Cuz, I’m worried that if I don’t go figure my stuff out, if I don’t land on my own two feet, then I’m going to ---- this whole thing up. This is too important to me. I gotta go. Look I’m going to call you when I get there. I’m going to call you. Look at me. Look at me! You changed my life and I only knew you in four days. This is the beginning of something really big. But right now I have to go.”- Andrew is in the affective dominance phase because his feelings take precedence over Sam’s. Sam bears her heart, soul, and sincere concern for him and yet he only focuses on what he believes he can do for himself. According to tradition, society weens men in thinking that the only way for them to take care of their problems is through their own actions and self-discovery. Rarely do you find society dictating to men that in order to realize the innermost aspects of one, they need to adopt different points of view versus a single, personal bias.
Zone 4: External Negotiated Interactions
Andrew finds Sam in the parking lot of the clinic and asks her why she is a liar. Andrew and Sam have ventured into the Equity Phase because he allows her to have a say and they start initiating competitive mentalities.
Andrew: “Why do you lie?”
Sam: “What do you consider a lie?”
Andrew: “Enough for people to call you a liar.”
Sam: “People call me lots of things.”
Andrew: “A liar?”
Sam: “I could say no, but how would know I’m not lying?”
Andrew: I guess I could choose to trust you.”
Sam: “You can do that?”
Andrew: “I can try.”
Here, Sam and Andrew are negotiating on whether or not to trust what Sam has to say. In Andrew’s last statement he says “I can try.” In the Unity Phase, a husband doesn’t say this. Instead he says he WILL do whatever the wife-appointed task is at hand. A man, who says he will try, relinquishes some independence, but he will probably hold on to some of it if he feels he is unable to accomplish the task. When Sam challenges him, she has gained her stance in the equity phase allowing the possibility of them to enter to Unity Phase.
Zone 5: Internal Negotiated Interactions
Sam and Andrew go to a bar and discuss why Andrew chose to be an actor. Then, Sam confesses that she has epilepsy. This scene illustrates how their relationship progresses in the Equity Phase.
Andrew: “I don’t know, it was the only thing I liked doing; pretending to be someone else. I have been so out of it lately that only parts I get are like handicap people [Sam Laughs]. What? That is not funny.”
Sam: “C’mon, you got to see that as a joke. If you can’t laugh at yourself then life will seem a whole lot longer than you think.”
Andrew: “All right so, what are were laughing at you about?”
Sam: “Hmmm, I lied again. I have epilepsy.”
Andrew, who is embarrassed at his lack of success in achieving satisfying acting roles, begins to compete with the thoughts and beliefs of Sam. Instead of just completing giving in and agreeing on Sam’s philosophy, he challenges her thoughts on what she believes is funny about herself. He doesn’t agree on her justification of her actions and therefore puts her on the spot.
Zone 6: Inmost Negotiated Interactions
This scene takes place in Sam’s backyard where she is burying her recently deceased hamster. Sam and Andrew reach affective equity when they both talk about their feelings towards Andrew’s deceased mother and Sam’s dead hamster.
Sam: “What are you thinking about?”
Andrew: “Right now?”
Andrew: “Right now I was thinking I’ve been doing a lot of these things lately.”
Andrew: “Date? This isn’t a date. Funerals.”
Sam: “Why who else died?”
Andrew: “Oh, ugh…my mom just died. God that’s so weird to say that out loud. But, yeah, that’s the reason why I am home.”
Sam: “I’m so sorry. God I am so sorry. Here I am putting you through another one of these. It’s not like jelly [hamster] is anywhere near like your mom. I mean we loved jelly but, I’m so sorry.”
Andrew: “No, it’s okay. It’s all right.”
Andrew goes on about his mother being a paraplegic and her cause of death was drowning. Sam was so distraught she started crying.
Andrew: “Why are you crying?”
Sam: “I don’t know, I’m usually not like this. It’s so sad, you know? It’s like, it’s a real life tragedy or something.”
Andrew: “Well let’s change the subject okay. Let’s really bring the focus back to Jelly. What could be ruder than talking about someone else who died in the act of burying a close friend?”
Andrew’s last statement showed that through affective equity, he allowed Sam to find out about his tragedy but felt it wasn’t fair to compromise her feelings by making her listen to him talking about his mother’s death. Instead, he saw that she was mentally disturbed which made him motivated towards focusing more on her lost friend and emotions.
Zone 7: External Conjunctive Interactions
In this scene, there was nonverbal sensorimotor conjunction. Andrew, Sam and one of Andrew’s friends go on a trip to see a guy who offers Andrew some wisdom. This man lives in an old wooden boat next to a junkyard. It’s pouring down hard and Andrew feels enlightened being in it that he jumps on a bulldozer and begins screaming at the tops of his lungs for the whole world to hear. Sam and Andrew’s friend here his screaming and join him as well and all three of them scream together. After they are done releasing all of their anger to the world, through synchronized movements, Sam and Andrew turn to each and kiss as though they were standing on top of the world. Andrew’s friend refuses to interrupt and after they’re done kissing, Andrew holds her close to shelter her from the rain. Sensorimotor conjunction is established with these synchronized movements.
Zone 8: Internal Conjunctive Interactions
Sam looks at Andrew and says “You’re in it…”
Sam: “You’re in it right now, aren’t you?”
Andrew: “What do you mean?”
Sam: “My mom always says that when she can see I’m working something out in my head. She’s like ‘You’re in it right now.’ And now I’m looking at you and you’re definitely in it. The story, you’re definitely in it right now.”
Andrew: “You’re right. I’m definitely in it… I love you.”
Andrew agrees with Sam’s thoughts making them success in Zone 8 of cognitive conjunction. Andrew agrees with Sam’s philosophy of the moments you share when you’re lost in thoughts and he loves her because of the thoughts that she has.
Zone 9: Inmost Conjunctive Interactions
The last scene of the movie is where Zach Braff gets off of his flight and rushes to find and be with Sam.
Sam: “What are you doing?”
Andrew: Do you remember that thing I had about working stuff out on my own and my way of figuring stuff out?”
Sam: “The ellipsis?”
Andrew: “Yeah it’s dumb. It’s dumb, it’s awful. I’m not going to do it okay? It’s like you said, this is it. This is life. And I’m in love with you Samantha. I think that’s the only thing I’ve ever been sure of in my entire life. I know I’m really messed up right now. There’s a whole lot of stuff I have to work out. But I don’t want to waste any time of my life without you in it. I have to do this right?
Sam: “Yes, Yes!”
Andrew: “So what should we do?”
Then the movie ends with them kissing. Even though at first Andrew tried to hold on to his independence, he realized that such a thing wouldn’t work because without Samantha, he is not complete. Only with Samantha can he be successful in working out his problems because he knows she is the one that can help him make things better. He agrees with her reasoning and beliefs. He rejects myths of “absence makes the heart grow fonder” or men have to “man-up” and handle their own messes. He completely conjoins with Sam’s love and will work with her to keep them and their love united throughout eternity.
Contrasts of Prime and
In Prime, the interactions between the
couples and their designated phase were a lot easier to interpret than was
Both of these movies contrast through the
ennead chart. In the bottom level of zone 1, the couple in Prime began
their relationship liking it each, but Dave actively resisted Rafi’s pleas for
divulging his true age. On the other hand in
In zone 4,
both couples successfully advance to the equity phase. In Prime Dave
starts to understand that Rafi has a right to see what he used to do. Andrew in
Thus she terminates her commitment and ends the relationship. However, Andrew has sad feelings about his mother’s death and tells Sam what happened. As Andrew sees Sam crying over the story, he immediately tries to get her to focus on her dead hamster. He knows that he’s hurting inside from his mother’s death and that’s something significant, but he also thinks it’s only fair to focus on burying Sam’s hamster without talking about his mother’s death. This moment compared to the moment between the couples in Prime advances Sam and Andrew into the Unity Phase. Sam and Andrew successfully complete the steps in stages of the Unity Level and know that they’re meant to stay together forever. However, Dave and Rafi will remember the times they had and move on in their lives and eternity without each other.
Movies and Their Psychological Effects
There are movies churned out every year concerning values that fall heavily on the Equity and Dominant phases of marriage. Rarely do you find such movies that promote Unity or couples knowing they will spend their lives in eternity. Movies are more focused on what will entertain an audience versus promoting good values. There are several movies that have come out recently and made top box office that promote dominance in men and inferiority in women. Some of these movies are 300, I Think I Love My Wife, Norbit, Black Snake Moan, Borat, Rocky Balboa, and Little Miss Sunshine.
In the #1
The point made is that this movie
has been widely seen throughout
Section B: Finding of a Prior Generation
Effects of Gender Portrayals on Younger Generation
Examples of anti-unity values (AUVs) that are often promoted in the media include:
This is Table 9
1. Living together unmarried
2. Having children out of wedlock
3. Making each other jealous on purpose
4. Adultery for various reasons
5. Promiscuity and bi-sexuality
6. Sexy dressing for men other than one's partner
7. Having a same sex best friend who is placed ahead of the partner or in competition for certain things
8. Having a heterosexual best friend who is placed ahead of the partner or in competition for certain things
9. Same sex friends going out as a group for fun and entertainment without their partners
10. Flirting with other gender as retaliation against one's partner (or other reason)
11. Separate interests and activities accepted for partners
12. Manipulating partner through deception
13. Accepting the idea that it's OK to "agree to disagree" about some things
14. Promoting the idea that one should not try to change one's partner but should accept them with their faults, etc.
15. Girls only or boy’s only entertainment
16. Acceptance of the idea that men are more important
17. Promoting the idea that men are more rational than women
18. Promoting the idea that women are generally frivolous as part of their gender
19. Making it look normal for a man to exploit women
20. Making it look normal for a man to abuse women
21. Making it look normal for a man to have prerogatives or perks that women should accept and honor (e.g., serving men, doing what they want no matter what, being dominant, etc.)
22. Making it look like what women say and think as less important
23. Accepting the idea that a man does not need to "grovel" when he apologizes for something bad he did to her (the minimum is enough and she should not ask for more even if her feelings are still hurt or else she is being "unreasonable" etc.)
This Table is found at http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy24/409b-g24-lecture-notes.htm#Table%209
Laura C. Moa
Her report can be found at: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409bf2006/moa/moa-409b-g25-report1.htm
Laura elaborates on some of the AUV’s or (Anti-Unity Values). In AUV #13, she discusses that “agreeing to disagree” is deceptive form of communication because it goes against the values of Unity relationships. A couple who “agrees to disagree” finds themselves stuck in the Equity Phase. They cannot advance until they give up their individualities and adopt mutual beliefs. She discusses AUV #6 “dressing sexy for other men other than your partner.” She states that women who do this promote the acceptance of men being more willing to look and engage in pornographic material which threatens the woman’s threefold self. Laura considers all forms of intimacy involving someone other than your spouse falling under AUV #4 “adultery for various reasons.” She believes that intimate with someone other than your spouse robs the spouse of rights to sole intimacy, especially women who seek mental intimacy conclusive with physical. Lastly, she beliefs that AUV #7 and AUV #8 are closely related and conflicts with the Unity ideal that spouses should put each other first over all other relationships.
Laura states that children are impressionable and that there are many forms of disjunctive behavior throughout the media. She gathered information on popular rappers and artists such as Tupac and Eminem. These artists, like many others, constant denigrate woman and promote ideals focused in the dominance phase. Laura states that in psychological research they’ve found strong correlations that media may have strong effects on youth. She states that if this link were actually to be proven causal, then the younger generation would feel the effects of negative gender portrayal.
Her report can be found at: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409bf2006/akiyama/akiyama-409b-g25-report1.htm
Tiffany discusses AUV #11 “Separate interests and activities accepted by partners.” This AUV states that men can do whatever activities they want even if the wife doesn’t approve of them. She also discusses AUV #8 and states that both AUV’s can related to AUV’s 13, 22, and 23 because the husband makes the wife feel that she is not first priority and that she must compete for his love. Tiffany looked at many popular television shows (adult and children) and examined the prevalence of AUV’s. She believes that in almost any show you can find at least several AUV’s floating around. It’s hard to find shows, if not impossible, that don’t contain an AUV. She also states that some people probably watch T.V. because the disjunction that’s portrayed helps them feel better and not alone in their own disjunctive relationships.
Her report can be found at: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409bf2006/bulda/bulda-409b-g25-report1.htm
Her report can be found at: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409bf2006/murray/murray-409b-g25-report1.htm
Angela clears up a question brought up in the beginning sessions of my class about AUV #1 “Living together unmarried.” She believes that this is against the Unity model because couples are “purposely not committing to one another and committing to the sanctity of marriage.” It’s “fear of commitment” that disables couples from moving on to the Unity model. Living together before marriage means that the possibility for someone walking out are greater than if it were marriage. She thinks that couples are purposely not allowing themselves to fully conjoin with each other and they’re missing out on the possibilities of truly attaining a solid bond.
Angela discusses AUV #11 “having separate interests and activities accepted for partners,” in a couple she examined through a T.V. show called Super Nanny. The couple examined had four kids and the husband would leave the wife virtually every evening struggling in taking care of the kids while he pursued his own musical interests. Angela believes that when a couple is not united in their goals and interests, the couple will soon grow apart and they would lack a common goal that would unite them.
Angela takes a personal approach when thinking about the effects of the AUV’s on children. She has three nieces and a sister whom she felt was trained to tolerate the toils of a male dominated relationship. She felt that the AUV’s in the media taught her sister to back down or she would suffer the consequences brought on by her male counterparts. Her sister would at times teach her nieces to accept that a man has more power than females. Angela believes that there is a cycle that continues to dominate itself through culture and the media. Girls are learning the same lessons now.
Her report can be found at: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409bf2006/gora/gora-409b-g25-report1.htm
When Christine looked over the AUV chart, she realized that many of these values were highly accepted in today’s society. An example she sees in relationships are couples who lived together before getting married because they had a child. Having a child out of wedlock may divert the wife’s sole intentions towards the baby promoting jealousy in her partner. While jealousy ignites, a man who is stuck in the dominance phase or doesn’t wish to respect the wife’s feelings may feel more obliged to associates oneself with AUV’s. However, by supporting these values he will elect himself to stay in the male dominance phase of marriage whereas his spouse may feel that this behavior is torturous.
Christine discusses positive and negative reinforcement. She believes that when children view programs which positively reinforce “popular” behaviors and negatively reinforce the ones that aren’t it will influence children to do the former than the latter. A lot of the behaviors on T.V. which promote AUV’s are likely to exhibit positive reinforcement. However, if behaviors in the media are shown to be negatively reinforced, then children are less likely to follow them. Her observation falls along the basis of Social Learning theory. Social Learning theory dictates the ideals of positive and negative reinforcement, but it also uses model to infiltrate these ideals. Christine discusses further on T.V. shows that could have an impact on children and their values. One show she analyzed was Hogan Knows Best. This show stars Hulk Hogan, who was and still is a famous wrestler and his family going about their daily lives. When Hulk Hogan disrespects or badgers his wife’s feelings and intentions, because of his fame and popularity, children as well as adults will more likely implement his behavior. They find Hulk Hogan a legend and like the T.V. show is called “Hogan knows best.”
Her report can be found at: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409bf2006/ide/ide-409b-g25-report1.htm
Katie realizes that through her own personal experiences, she was subconsciously applying AUV’s in her life. In AUV #9, she “loved” to spend time with only her friends. She didn’t realize until she understood the meaning behind the action that it was looking as though she was being independent, without her boyfriend. She also applied common adolescent sayings to AUV #7. But this logic conflicts between the unified themes and promotes selfishness. The couple should work on making their own close and personal relationships or friendships involved with the other partner so they can have mutual friends and not friends independent of the spouse.
Katie examined some of her favorite
T.V. shows such as Family Guy and
Her report can be found at: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409bf2006/afonin/afonin-report1.htm
Christina believes that in today’s
society “sensorimotor stimulation” and “minimal cognitive stimulation” is more
prevalent than couples trying to achieve affective conjunction or “stimulation.
It seems as though she’s saying that societal norms can only allow them to be
involved in zones 1 or 5. Society fails to promote idealism rather the message
which gets sent is everyone should be different rather than being the same. The
irony is that we’re all doing the same thing and getting nowhere at it
Christina monitored a children’s cartoon on Nickelodeon called The Fairly OddParents. Through a scene where these husband and wife fairy-godmothers are trying to explain the consequences of eating junk food to a child, the husband starts to make jokes about his wife. As shown in AUV’s, making jokes at your spouse can be detrimental to them affectively. She believes this example shows that it’s all right for men to make demeaning jokes about their wives when they are trying to be serious. Also, this show is primarily viewed by children who are impressionable and could possibly model the male dominated behavior. Christina also analyzed her findings in the show Friends. She found that the AUV’s are not seen by it’s viewers to be explicit, immoral, or degrading. Rather it is a source of mockery and laughter (possibly lots of money).
Christina believes that anti-unity values lure children because of its connotations (i.e. this is funny, this is sexy, this is acceptable). She believes that adults should try to make their children understand the negative effects that the media may have on them. She feels the younger generations have “promiscuous behaviors” and are carrying on AUV’s, and parents need to rationalize acceptable behavior in order for them to understand.
My Reactions to Their Findings
I believe there is a consensus amongst all of these student’s reports that the media may have an effect on the mentality and attributing behaviors of children. From previous psychology classes, there has been a long-standing dispute as to whether media affects the behavior of children. This falls back to nature versus nurture debate and questions to whether we a stuck in behaviors according to our biological predispositions, or are we passively being affected by what we associated ourselves with? Were we born we these behaviors or did we learn them? In the 1994 film Natural Born Killers starring Woody Harrelson and Robert Downey Jr., two lovers go on cold blooded murdering sprees while a reporter, who is obsessed with interviewing and broadcasting their psychotic rampages, finally to interview them, telecasting it around the world. The viewers get to track the lover’s insane relationship and past which is filled with sadness and abuse. By the end of the film, these unabashed killers go from antagonists to protagonists and spark a revolution from television viewers to obliterate those whom oppress and abuse you. The film was absolutely amazing and highly approved by critics, not for it’s debauchery but for it’s message that the media is only concerned with showing you images that sell or what makes good TV, regardless of the negative effects children, as well as adults, are tricked to endure.
In the end of Natural Born Killers, they kill the reporter (who allied with them) on live television, giving a message to society that their obsessions with immoral and dangerous behaviors will end up destroying the innocence that is left. In the beginning of the film, the female lead was sexually molested by her father at a young age. Like Christina Afonin, if media relates to negative behaviors and values in children, then promiscuity will continue to flourish and the innocence of youth will no longer be known. In the discussion on Christine Gora’s report, I introduced the concept of Social Learning theory. According to Social Learning Theory, children who have adopted someone as a model towards them (i.e. family members, friends, “heroes”-people they have admiration for) will examine their behavior and imitate their behavior accordingly. Social Learning Theory also brings into account positive and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is defined as behaviors which are rewarded in order to continue the behaviors. Negative reinforcement allows punishment to behaviors which want to be eliminated. If a child sees their model receiving positive reinforcement for a behavior, they will most likely imitate that behavior and vise versa for negative reinforcement. If the model is rewarded for committing an act falling under the category of an AUV, it is very possible that the child will imitate that behavior.
I can agree to their findings. Christina Afonin brought up an excellent point that parents need to monitor what their child views and rationalize the behaviors children may see in the media. I strongly feel that this frightening issue of the subconscious effect media can play on child-rearing and development is something that can no longer be ignored. People know that this has become a major problem, and often you’ll hear complaints from an older generation towards the attitudes and behaviors of youth. Because of the busy lifestyle and constant obligations people allow themselves to have, there hasn’t been much focus on values that adhere to a more idealistic society. Rather the mentality is “what works at this time and place.” When and where do people have the time to work, sincerely understand, and promote genuine values to whomever they meet or raise in this world? Until we can find a solution to everyone’s obsession society’s emphasis on individualism versus collectivism, the hope in the success of the Unity model will fade.
Natural Born Learners
The Chappelle Show was a very well-known show for my generation a few years ago. The show promoted the male dominance perspective especially in the infamous “Rick James” episode. In this episode, Dave Chappelle parodies 80’s rocker Rick James and his supposed lifestyle. Rick James was quite infatuated with his “bitches,” and at often times, he would call them over to show his friends a few of their private parts. After he commanded his women to do this, he would shout out “I do whatever I want. I’m Rick James Bitch.” I remember after this episode aired (even I was thoroughly entertained), every person I knew that watched it kept saying those lines after every immoral or silly action committed. Even I kept saying it at times, ironically since I am a woman and my name is Kelly Sasser not Rick James. My current boyfriend bought a shirt with that quote and majority of people find it hilarious rather than offensive or immoral.
Another incident I’ve encountered was a leadership training camp for 4th through 6th graders. When we asked them what their interests were in music, most of them were exposed and accepting of artists such as Eminem. Eminem is infamously known for singing songs degrading females and others with harsh lyrics. In his song titled “Kim,” he talks about brutally killing his wife. What these children don’t understand is that their subconsciously being influenced by someone who limits their own behavior without any regards to morality or the influences he or she may have on others. What is extremely disturbing about these influences is the effects it has and the impermeable cycle rendered. A 30 year old manager at my workplace was fired for his inappropriate behavior towards women. I had to file a complaint because he pushed his dominant male attitude on me, forcing me to clean up a mess he made. I ended up cleaning up the spill because of the consequence of it not getting done. I feel it was an equitable exchange because although I complied to company policy and allowed him to feel righteous in making me clean up his mess, I still exercised my right to complain about his behavior, which would have led to another manager alleviating the problem.
Social Learning Theory is not a far fetched concept. Through introspection, people will most likely agree that there was someone in their life that they looked up to. On the widely popular website Myspace.com, there is a section where people can state who their heroes are. If these people are exposed in the media, especially with their own personal lives and relationship, will in many ways exhibit or promote an AUV, with positive rewards (i.e. Britney Spears, Madonna, Parents, etc.). Children will be the central focus of this debate because they are still developing and acquiring mechanisms to survive and adapt in personal ways with respect to society. If parents keep allowing their children to be fed information without rationalism or stated consequences of certain behaviors (i.e. negative reinforcement), then children will affect development by taking surrealistic events exposed on television (majority of television poses unrealistic situations) and implement it into their development. This leads children to be out-of-touch with reality and other beings who hold an affective self. The irony within the concept of dominance and how it’s affected by television is that we strive to create a society of independent thinkers, and yet the majority is exposed to same cause, acquiring much of the same behaviors amongst their peers.
The media will expose as much reality as they will surrealism to audiences of all ages. Through maturity, most adults can understand the difference, but to a child, this distinction isn’t as pertinent. Media continues to grow. Since the 1950’s with the introduction of TV, children are exposed habitually to the wonders of the world in their own homes. The famous philosopher John Locke stated accordingly to the concept of tabula rasa (clean slate) that children were born as blank slates without rules for acquiring the information they receive. The information is processed by a child’s sensory experiences. According to this philosophy, which follows along many development theories like Social Learning Theory, children hear and see media, process what they encounter through their senses and implement it into their development. This is done through free will; however, adults need to places rules and regulate what gets implemented into their own fragile understandings.
Research on the Effects of Gender Portrayals on Younger Generations
Nabi, Robin L. and Chris Segrin. (2002). Does Television Viewing Cultivate Unrealistic Expectations About Marriage? Journal of Communication. 247-263.
This article surveyed 285 never-married university students examining the relationship between television viewing, holding idealistic expectations about marriage, and intentions to marry. When they analyzed findings from previous research, they found that TV overall was negatively associated with idealistic marriage expectations. (i.e. as TV viewing goes up, idealistic expectations of marriage goes down and vise versa). However, the precious findings found that watching television associated with the romance genre had a positive relationship with idealistic marriage expectations. In their supporting research, Nabi and Chris Segrin (2002) found that other studies conclude that when people enter relationships, if they have idealistic or “unrealistic” beliefs, (i.e. “mind reading is expected,” “sexual perfectionism,” and “disagreement is destructive”) this was positively associated with marital distress and negatively associated with the desire to maintain a relationship (Eidelson &Epstein, 1982). Personally, when I look upon this finding, I believe that the definitions associated with the unrealistic beliefs are over-exaggerated and their wording could have possibly skewed their results. Understand that “mind reading” and trying to understand what a person is feeling and thinking are two entirely different concepts.
Mind reading means the physical capacity of entering a mind in order to retain and divulge the information it holds. The latter signifies building rapport and mental intimacy. Think archaeologist to a psychologist. Psychologists cannot physically prove the existence of a mind, yet when helping patients, they build rapport and try to understand the nature of their threefold self. This analysis falls along the point that when you present unattainable beliefs towards people, especially children, it’s more likely that they will experience unhappiness in relationships or marital distress. Children as well as people become so preoccupied with unrealistic beliefs and definitions making it that much harder for them to reach enlightenment.
Nabi and Chris Segrin (2002) also cited another observation on the effects of television on adolescents. Signorielli (1991) found that TV viewing maintained small, though positive and significant associations with negative beliefs about marriage (i.e., questioning marriage as a way of life [fear of commitment], preferring to live together before marriage [AUV#1], and believing that monogamous relationships are too restrictive [AUV’s 4,5, and 10]). These findings suggest that television is sending a mixed message about marriage; that is, marriage should be a part of one’s life, even though it may pose difficulties (Signorielli, 1991). Nabi and Chris Segrin’s (2002) research discussed their findings in terms of cultivation theory which addresses the relationship between television content and viewer’s beliefs about social reality (Gerbner, 1969). Gerbner (1969) states that compared to light television viewers, heavy television viewers are more likely to perceive the world in ways that more closely mirror reality as presented on television that more objective measures of social reality, regardless of the specific programs or genres viewed. This concludes that no matter if you see a child’s cartoon or an adult TV show, there will likely be prevalence in the exhibition of AUV models or behaviors that distort the perceptions towards marriage in its viewers.
Low, Jason and Peter Sheppard. (1999). Portrayal of Women in Sexuality and Marriage and Family Textbooks: A Content Analysis of Photographs from the 1970s to the 1990s. Sex Roles, 40, 309-318.
Low and Peter Sheppard (1999) compared images from college level Human Sexuality and Marriage and Family textbooks from the 1970’s and 1990’s. They found only slight differences between the images in the 1970’s and 1990’s. These images were pictures of traditional female roles. Because of the feminist revolution, only a few pictures presented from the 1990’s were feminist related. However, much of the photographs in the 1990’s still reflected the traditional gender portrayals of females despite “changing of the times.” Although their research was conducted almost 10 years ago, Low and Peter Sheppard (1999) felt that their research was important because, then, the gender role portrayal of women was primarily investigated in the context of television, radio, and magazines. This research is also relevant to our inquiries placed today because there is reason to believe that gender portrayal is affecting perception and the development towards reasonable desires versus impermeable idealism.
They believe that college-level textbooks may be reinforcing rigid gender distinctions while neglecting young women’s needs to develop greater flexibility in their gender role conceptions. According to The Unity Model of Marriage, if women conform to these conceptions towards which gender role they should portray, then they will be stuck in the male dominance phase, permitting their husbands to control their lives and disregard cognitive and affective existence. Another thought to ponder is not only what an adolescent sees which affects their perceptions and beliefs, but also the way they receive it. In this finding, we can assume that it’s education itself that fuels this never-ending cycle of prejudice against women and rigid gender role portrayal. I’ve heard that there is a negative correlation between amount of prejudice and amount of education received. If a person is more educated than someone who is not, they are less likely to prejudice and vise versa. However, in this finding we see that whoever takes a course with these textbooks will be subjected to images and media focusing on rigid female gender role portrayals.
The media, in more ways than one, seems to affect views of society. Through several theories (i.e. Social Learning Theory and Cultivation Theory) we can see the structure and ways in which a person may be consciously or subconsciously prone to being affected. There is no escape from media, and therefore children will lose themselves with values that cause mental distress and dissatisfy their need to obtain fulfilling relationships. Unlike the values of the Unity Model, they will be forced to swallow individual values caused by societal norms and reject those which promote Unity.
Section C: Disjunctive vs. Conjunctive Verbal Interactions
Summary of 17a: Conjunctive and Disjunctive Verbal Interactions amongst Couples
Conjunctive and disjunctive verbal interactions are like what yes means to no. Most of the disjunctive interactions are brought on by the husband who battles within himself to give up his independence. Each phase goes through encounters with both conjunctive and disjunctive conversation, but only when a husband willfully reaches the Unity phase is he governed by four conversation rules according to his conjugial state.
In the Unity phase, the first rule the husband must follow is to be reactive and friendly towards his wife while she is talking to him. This behavior would be equivalent to the excitement he felt the first time he met and courted her. When she is talking he needs to feel alive and possible offer her “cooperative overlap” throughout her conversation, or to be supportive of what she says; evidence not of dominance but of participation and solidarity (Tannen, 1994). The second rule is to deny him the right to express disagreement with her or say “no” as a means to go against what she’s saying. When his wife asks him to do something, he replies by saying “Ok, if you want to.” When she is correcting him, a conjunctive reply would be “all right, I’ll adopt your view on the situation.” The third rule of conjugial conversation states that the husband needs to create a conversational style where his wife doesn’t feel oppressed, instead making her feel free, and safe. He must deny himself the need to yelling, abuse her, degrade her thoughts and feelings, or allow any bodily sensation affect the environment he creates and maintains for her. The fourth rule is a husband must use the conversation as a method of enhancing her mood, making her feel
young at heart and stimulating her mind. He must not focus on himself, but express his thoughts when the wife inquires about them. He could again use “cooperative overlap” (Tannen, 1994) or do anything possible to make her feel that her thoughts and feelings are important and have an impact on his life.
In the Equity phase, all of the rules apply only to equal exchanges between husband and wife. This mentality allows disjunctive conversation to be more accepted. According to the equity phase, the first rule would fall something along the lines of the husband being friendly and reactive towards his wife only when she is being that way as well. If she is abusing him by swearing and yelling, a fair exchange would be to do the same back. Cooperative overlap (Tannen, 1994) could exist along the lines of initially accepting what his wife has say but then moving to establish his point as well. The second rule would not apply to the marriages in the equity phase because if what her wife says or demands isn’t completely fair, he will refuse and try to work towards a compromise rather than total agreement. He would use a disjunctive reply towards his wife’s demand by saying “Ok, I’ll do that if you do this.” The third rule wouldn’t apply to the equity phase because a wife wouldn’t feel unoppressed and free in her conversations towards her husband because her needs may not be fully met when her husband wishes for her to “agree to disagree” or compromise with what he needs. The fourth rule doesn’t apply because he weighs his thoughts and feelings along with hers. He cares that his wife’s needs are met but he also considers his as well.
He wants both sides to be heard and feels that his thoughts should impact what his wife thinks. In the issue of “Not making up adequately enough” after disturbing his wife, he wouldn’t work to completely satisfy the needs of wife. Instead he would only do what he feels is fair. If she insists that making up adequately enough would get him to do something he doesn’t want to do or isn’t fair, he wouldn’t accept his wife’s judgment and continue to follow his.
In the Dominance phase, however, none of these rules apply. He may follow the first rule at times, but only if he was getting something out of it. This isn’t like the equity phase, where there is an equal exchange. It would be manipulation. It would be a rare occurrence that a husband in the dominance phase would deny himself the right to disagree with his wife, as the second rule dictates. Husbands in the dominant phase will constantly negate or refuse what the wife asks or demands. When she tells him something, the most obvious reply for dominating husbands would be the opposite. Opposite of what the third rule states, husbands in the dominance phase will constantly oppress their wives by denying what they have to say, abusing them mentally, emotionally, verbally or physically. Most husbands will yell, claim their wives are “complaining” or “nagging them.” The fourth rule wouldn’t apply to males in the dominance phase because they would only create a conversational atmosphere that enhances their mood. When a wife is talking, a husband may intentionally or unintentionally ignore what the wife is saying and force her to say it all over again. He may joke and degrade her to appease him. He would never make up adequately enough and only say what he feels is enough for the female. Rarely would the husband express his feelings and emotions, rather dictate his thoughts and ideas and force her to accept them.
I’m a Unity kind of Gal
If you don’t read carefully to the notes, you might get the idea that couples in all three phases are ONLY likely to commit the acts and conversation styles applicable to their behavior. However, Dr. James states that people in either phase will, at times, oppose their beliefs and actions and fall back (or forward) into a phase. To this logic, I agree because we are still human beings prone to mistakes. But the point Dr. James is trying to making is which phase we primarily establish ourselves with and how a person actively tries to maintain their behavior and interactions within that role. I can see how someone in Unity will work very hard to maintain conjunction as opposed to those stuck in the dominance phase constantly forcing them to accept disjunction. Because of societal norms and cultural upbringing, it’s extremely hard for males to achieve enlightenment from the restraints of the dominance phase. As stated in Section 12, every relationship starts out in the dominance phase. This is because it takes for people to realize that they’re just tools of society and the only way to achieve mutual fulfillment within a marriage is to break down predisposed boundaries (i.e. gender portrayals). This section is not just a lesson towards husbands to treat them idealistically. Rather it’s also a message to wives who wish to conjoin to work in helping their husbands see that listening to them is beneficial to their well-beings.
Examples from Deborah Tannen’s book Gender and Discourse.
Tannen, Deborah. Gender and Discourse (Oxford University Pres, 1994) pg. 37 and pgs. 181
Example from page 37:
Isadora: “Why did you turn on me? What did I do?”
Isadora: “What did I do?”
Bennett looks at her as if her not knowing were another injury.
Bennett: “Look, let’s just go to sleep now. Let’s just forget it.”
Isadora: “Forget what?”
Bennett: (He says nothing)
Isadora: “It was something in the movie, wasn’t it?”
Bennett: “What, in the movie?”
Isadora: “…It was the funeral scene. … The little boy looking at his dead mother. Something got you there. That was when you got depressed.”
Isadora: “Well, wasn’t it?”
Isadora: “Oh come on, Bennett, you’re making me furious. Please tell me. Please.”
This is a disjunctive interaction between Bennett and Isadora. Instead of trying to build solidarity (Tannen, 1994) or actions governing couples in the Unity phase, he exerts his power over Isadora by using the linguistic strategy of silence. Many researchers believed that silence was a way of helplessness and weakness, but in this example, men act silent as a way of governing their wives actions (Tannen, 1994). Bennett willfully imposes his dominance behavior on Isadora. He doesn’t follow the first rule of conjugial conversation for husbands. Instead he ignores and denies his wife the satisfaction of an answer about his feelings. This behavior also violates both second and third rules of conjugial conversation. He is consciously disagreeing with Isadora’s pleas for an answer and creates a conversational atmosphere where she feels imprisoned and exhausted by her tireless efforts.
Example from page 181:
Wife: “John’s having a party. Wanna go?”
Before we understand the true intentions of this conversation, it seems as though the husband response was conjunctive. Tannen (1994) uses an example that expresses her ideas of indirectness. Some researchers believe that when a woman is being indirect, it shows that she’s incapable of fully expressing the way she feels. However, Tannen (1994) believes that being indirect is a way to get her partner, or whomever she’s having a conversation, to build rapport and trying to understand her feelings on the situation. Although we’re still not sure in how the husband responded towards her question. He could have followed the first rule of conjugial conversation by using a friendly tone. But this is not justified based on the information given because he could have very well done the opposite. The husband follows the second rule of conjugial conversation by denying himself the right to disagree with her. In the example below, I will discuss how all rules of conjugial conversation are compromised with his preceding statements.
(After the wife asked him if he wanted to go to the party)
Wife: “Are you sure you want to go to the party?”
Husband: “OK, let’s not go. I’m tired anyway.”
The preceding response now compromises his status in the Unity model and brings him back to the dominance and equity models. He somewhat violates the second, third and fourth rules of conjugial conversation by not even allowing her to express her opinion on the matter, saying NO to attending the party, and being preoccupied with only his sensorimotor and affective self. He disagrees with the wife before she has a chance to state whether or not she wants to go or wants him to come with her. He only thinks about the way he feels physically and fails to consider her emotional feelings towards the situation. However, we cannot completely say he violated the first rule. We don’t have any knowledge of physical characteristics corresponding with the statement. He could have tried to build rapport had the wife’s question been an indirect way of saying to her husband that she didn’t want to go. Either way, the husband still allows himself to follow dominant and equitable reasoning and needs work in moving to the Unity phase of marriage.
Section D: Conclusion and Advice to Future Generations
What I’ve Learned Thus Far
Before I took Dr. James’ class on The Unity Model of Marriage, I associated myself highly with equity models of marriage. I strongly believed that that was the highest and only way couple’s could achieve happiness within their relationships. From a class I took a semester before I registered for Dr. James class, I became well informed on dominance models. Never did I come along a model like the Unity model which claims describes how the equity model creates many problems for couples who associate themselves with it.
Dr. James has laid the foundation for something truly revolutionary. This model has been something we all wish to achieve, yet many people are stuck in the mentality that this is absolutely impossible to achieve. Each individual wants freedom to live their lives according to their own virtues and desires, yet what we don’t understand is what underlies them. We are sucked into society’s expectations, dictating how we should act and treat other people. Society influences how we should live our lives. But you have to ask yourself, is this total freedom? We are told to not let anyone compromise our dreams but we are still TOLD TO DO WHAT WE’RE TOLD! The dominance model of marriage are people who want independence, yet allow themselves to be influenced by forces around them telling them to disrespect and ignore a wife’s thoughts, feelings, and sensations. The idea of dominance and power, as well as though who advocate it, has been around since the dawn of man. Men used to express power against fellow men leaving them to think that their oppression would never be revoked. Women, especially wives, have felt this the most, but wishes of revolution were granted and people are more equal than they were before.
So now majority of people are stuck in the dominance and equity phase with dreams of unity. This desire is not far-fetched or extremely idealistic, but we continue to deny ourselves of this sort of enlightenment. Men do not want to completely give up independence and depend on a wife’s love because society and the media emphasize mixed messages. I believe that men and women continue to be oppressed by societal norms which are ultimately affecting their personal lives and relationships. Hopefully, one day we will begin another revolution towards eternity and not just the now.
Advice for Future Generations
This report took me a complete week and a half
to complete. I procrastinated till the very last minute and must now suffer the
consequences of turning my report in late and receiving point deductions. This
isn’t a joke. Unless you are the best and fastest writer in the world, YOU NEED
Remember, if you are taking this class, you have at least some interest or background in psychology. USE WHAT YOU KNOW! The reason why people initially reject Dr. James reasoning is because they are biased as to how this applies to other situations or to their own lives. It’s easier than you think. In Section 15, I applied Piaget’s accommodation/assimilation theory to Dr. James model and received great feedback. Don’t forget the logic of perception. What you may perceive is right may be entirely different to another person. You may not agree with what Dr. James says, but try to understand his logic its intention. His class may not be solely based on the negative bias of science, but even other psychologists who heavily apply the negative bias of science to their careers agree that the rules of empiricism may not always prove consistent. Good Luck!
Section E: Links
My Home Page: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leon/409bs2007/sasser/sasser-home.htm
G26 Class Home Page: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy26/classhome-g26.htm