Report 5: “Mental Intimacy”
Psy 409b, Spring 2008, Generation 27
Dr. Leon James, Instructor,
Link to class home page
Section 1: Lecture
Link to: Lecture Notes (Section 6)
In order for husbands and boyfriends to develop a deeper level of mental intimacy with their wives and girlfriends they must first do two things, which include: stop adding to their partner’s mental distress and, secondly, men must learn ways that will ease their partners’ mental distress.
Below is a list of common behaviors, or “anti-intimacy practices”, that husbands and boyfriends must refrain from doing, in order to ease or not add any more mental distress experienced by their wives and girlfriends:
1. Insulting or embarrassing their wife in public.
2. Ignoring her when she walks into the room.
3. Refusing to help her with household chores.
4. Pressuring her to have sex even when she says no.
5. When a husband lies or hides things from his wife.
Husbands must monitor their interactions with their partners and must take note of the types of disjunctive behaviors they partake in, which may result in their wife’s unhappiness or mental distress. In order to do so, they must allow their wives to point out these disjunctive behaviors and then must try to stop these negative behaviors themselves.
Dr. Laura and Disjunctive Behavior
One example of a disjunctive behavior explained in the lecture notes was found in a radio conversation Dr. Laura Schlessinger had with a woman who was upset that her husband accused her of not loving him because she chose to teach Sunday school at a Christian church than accompany him to mass at the same church.
Bill of Rights
If husbands choose to they can also draft a “Bill or Rights” in which he is choosing to not respect his wife’s choice to teach. According to Dr. James, this is a form of mental abuse and this mentality and level of moral reasoning stems from the male dominance phase of the Unity Model of Marriage. A solution to this would be for the husband to accompany his wife while she teaches Sunday school. He doesn’t necessarily need to know the subject matter; he can just sit there and help her manage the children in the classroom. By doing this, the husband will show his respect for his wife and her choices.
A bill of rights or list of human rights that they owe their wives everyday. By having this list, it portrays for husbands in specific terms what his ideal is as a practitioner of the unity model of eternal marriage. In addition, the couple can encourage one another to develop a deeper level of mental intimacy as characterized under the unity phase of the unity model of marriage.
For example the Bill of rights could include the following:
1. Placing the wife at the top of the husband’s agenda and daily effort.
2. Giving the wife total loyalty, taking precedence over children, career, and hobbies.
3. Husbands preferring to spend time with their wives over time spent with friends.
4. Husbands showing their wives that they enjoy their wives’ humor and intelligence.
5. Husbands will show that they enjoy speaking with their wives and will respond to her in a kind and caring manner.
How to keep your marriage strong
Here are some other tips on how to have a more successful and meaningful marriage as stated by Dr. John Gottman from his research on successful marriages:
• Express more positives than negatives. In Gottman’s research, he found that those happily married showed a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative statements to each other and about their relationship.
• Accept each other’s influence. In strong partnerships neither spouse is too rigid to consider the requests or input of his or her mate.
• Maintain high standards. Those who regularly accept disrespectful behavior from a partner are likely to see their relationship deteriorate over time.
• Learn how to exit an argument. This can include expressions of humor, compassion or appreciation; a time-out until cooler heads prevail; or even backing off from your position in the disagreement.
• Edit your angry thoughts. Just because it’s normal to feel anger doesn’t mean it’s useful to express all of it. Those rated as happier couples learned to manage angry thoughts and share them judiciously.
• Consider your opening. Pay attention to your tone and wording. Couples can avoid, soften or de-escalate differences through the manner in which they raise sensitive issues.
• Don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Gottman reports that the average couple waits six years before reaching out for help with a troubled marriage. The earlier a couple addresses problems the easier it is to make positive changes.
J. Garcia and A. Valenzuela
The Lazy Husband by Joshua Coleman
Chapter 8 For the Husband pages 182-202
Chapter 9 The Lazy Husband Campaign pages 203-206
In Chapter 8 of his book, Coleman addresses the husbands, and gives tips on improvement under the following areas: Housework and Sex, Childhood, Parenting, Daily Appreciations. In this section I’ll look at his suggestions and see where they fall within the Unity Model. Coleman states “the best way to change your partner is to change yourself.” I usually think his point of view is Equity, but this comment sounds more Unity to me. Other topics covered in this chapter also places Coleman in both Equity and Unity.
Housework and Sex
Coleman points out the different views of males and females on the importance of sex in the marriage. He mentions studies on Marriage by John Gottman, and gives tips on how to lower a wife’s stress by helping with the housework, in turn increasing her sex drive.
Here are the three tips he gives:
· “Write out a list with her of what she’d like you to do.” I think this could fall under the Unity Stage, as it shows the husband’s desire to understand what the wife wants and needs, and is trying to be that for her.
· “See if there are bargains that can be made.” This falls back into the Equity Stage, the give and take that isn’t always equal.
Examine Your Childhood
This chapter falls under the Unity Model. It opens with this sentence:”…appreciate everything that your wife does for you, the kids, or the house. I mean every freaking thing.” It also encourages the husband to not be defensive and to talk about feelings. The tips in this chapter lead to mental intimacy, and affective conjunction.
I liked this chapter, and found that none of it falls into the Male Dominance stage. I think it takes couples in the right direction moving from Equity to Unity. I also am very interested in Gottman’s research, and think it could be very useful for husbands really trying to improve their marriage. However, I also think that the husbands most in need of these tips are probably not going to be willing to read this book.
Lecture Notes 16e: Monitoring Disjunctive vs. Conjunctive Discourse
1. “Negation Denial and Refusal”
Disjunctive replies in a conversation occur often in the Male Dominance and Equity stages, and less often in the Unity Stage. Disjunctive replies in a conversation are for example: “no I don’t want to do that” “I didn’t do/say that” “let’s do this, not that.” Conjunctive replies, most common in the Unity Stage could be for example: “I would like to do that” “I may have said/did that” “yes, let’s do what you suggested.”
I think a lot of men reply in these negative ways to women’s suggestions. I also think in order to “keep the peace” a lot of women accept these replies rather than argue for what they really want. It may place me in the Equity phase, but I think compromise is the key to a good relationship. I think sometimes the woman should give up what she wants for the man, just as I think the man should sometimes give up what he wants for the woman.
2. “Disloyalty, Secrecy, Lies”
Disjunctive acts in this section included the husband discussing things with others that he had not discussed with his wife, or discussing his wife with others in a manner she would not approve of, keeping things from her and lying to control her. Conjunctive acts in these situations would be to not discuss things with others without discussing them with her first, speaking about her as though she were listening, being open and honest with her about everything. These things occur most often in the Male Dominance and Equity stage, and rarely in the Unity stage.
3. “Abusiveness, Swearing, Yelling”
Both physical and verbal violence are disjunctive. This covers degrading and prejudiced language, swearing, physical abuse, throwing or breaking objects out of anger and yelling or harsh tones rather than speaking respectfully to each other. Conversation is key in relationships; these practices are most common in the first two stages, Male Dominance and Equity. They should be very rare if you are in the Unity Stage.
Many woman and even men sometimes stay in abusive relationships. I believe being verbally abusive is just as bad as being physically abusive, and think it’s sad so many people put up with it.
4. After Disturbing His Wife, Not Making Up Adequately Enough
A man must humble himself and make things right after his disjunctive behavior. This is not easy for him, but it shows he is moving toward mental intimacy if he does. A woman must make her feelings know, so the man can understand how his disjunctive behavior hurts her. If he really cares about her, he will want to make things right.
I think it is equally important for a woman to be conscious of her man’s feelings in regards to her actions. This is usually easier for the woman, but something I think both men and women need to continuously work on.
Link to: Generational Reports (C24)
Tracey Nieto presented C24 using two of the provided Generational Reports by previous students Buchner and Montague. Anti-Unity Values (AUV) were discussed in these reports, which consists of values that inhibits a couple from gaining Affective conjunction found in the Unity model of marriage.
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 boys 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.)
Examples of Anti-Unity Values can be seen in the media through television shows which we watch in our everyday lives. We adopt these characters to enter into our homes each afternoon or night, and we follow their stories and feel their heartaches or joyous experiences through their shows. We become their friends, their families, their sisters and daughters as we live and share each story line with them. Like our friends and families, these characters go through trying times, in pursuit of finding happiness and structure in their lives. They may have ups and downs which may follow them through these AUV’s that arguably everyone has tried or experienced at least once.
Everybody Loves Raymond
• Encouragement of Male Dominance
• Promotion of women’s servitude and duty to her husband
- Ray’s mother serves dinner and cleans the home, while encouraging the men to rest and relax.
• Husband and wife’s relationship is not exclusively intimate in that Raymond’s family member are always involved
• AUV # 9, Ray’s golf trips with his male friends
- Exclusion of his family to be with his friends
Sex and the City
• Living together unmarried (AUV # 1)
• Promiscuity and bi-sexuality (AUV # 5)
-All the girls dated and slept with many men to satisfy their emotions and sexuality.
• having a child out of wedlock (AUV # 2)
• Adultery (AUV # 4)
-A wife cheated on her husband purposefully because he was not giving her the attention that she wanted.
• Making each other jealous on purpose (AUV # 3)
I feel that some of these AUV’s are an understatement of ones relationship. Perhaps if the couple lived together (AUV # 1) they could learn how to deal with problems that they experienced and strengthen their passion for each other, or discover that they are not meant to be together. I feel that it is acceptable for couples to cohabitate before they are serious enough to get married and discover these faults later; it can be a step that they can take to decide if they are right for one another.
However, in the lecture notes, it describes it being harder for the couple to move from Equity to Unity since it would be difficult for the woman to change or motivate her man to agree with her wishes. Other AUV’s such as #4 and 5, adultery and promiscuity can not be acceptable to either partner because it is morally wrong and threatens their union of reaching Unity. Being exposed to hurtful attacks at one another by lying in bed with another partner can only push the man and woman further apart from each other- widening the gap for which their relationship may fall through.
I believe that couples should follow the “Golden Rule” do unto others as you would want them to do unto you. If you cheat, or don’t treat your significant other well, then expect them to do the same- to cheat and treat you poorly as well. This is because if you disregard someone else’s feelings, how can you expect them to give you love and care, they should not because it will only enforce Male Dominance, not Equity or Unity: which are what is needed to reach spiritual Unity in marriage.
Section 3: Presentation on Exercises
b) Describe what they did and how they interpreted it.
I don’t know why, but the presentations were given on separate day. However, Sumiyo and Josie presented on the communication portion of the exercises, being the 5 secrets to a healthy marriage according to Gary Smalley, and the 5 A’s of Relationships, respectively. Angela and Lisa presented on the 4 intimacies. The first presenter I will summarize is Lisa Ha. Lisa reported on physical and mental intimacy as provided by the previously mentioned website. According to the website:
Angela presented on spiritual intimacy and emotional intimacy.
According to spiritual intimacy, the partners have the deepest level of bonding, comparable to the unity phase in the Unity Model of Marriage. Similarly in both models, this phase is where the partners are no longer individually a “me” but are one together as a “we”. In this spiritual intimacy each has to make the commitment to each other, as well as the commitment to God. The commitment to God helps to develop the spiritual intimacy between partners
She described emotional intimacy as where both partners put themselves "out there" for each other. They share their thoughts, feelings and experiences openly and place themselves in vulnerable positions. Reaching the levels prior to this one permits for emotional intimacy to rule. She also named “vital signs” from the web site that keep LOVE alive.
Lisa Ha described mental intimacy as the development of two minds working together as one. It can also be described by the acronym L.O.V.E. Listen, Overlook and forgive, Value each other, and Express love. This intimacy grows through communication, creating an understanding of each other. Lisa proposes that these two concepts must be reached to arrive at the unity phase. She also included in her presentation 4 situations that we engage in during sexual activity.
Phase (0) Sex without mental intimacy, not trying to achieve marital unity,
Phase (1) Sensorimotor system of partners is the central feature. They each think of their own thoughts and feelings. (DOMINANCE PHASE)
Phase (2) Cognitive and Sensorimotor phases of conjunction occur. Becomes more intimate, knowing of each others attitudes, values and being familiar with each other’s sense of humor and understand each other. (EQUITY PHASE)
Phase (3) Affective, cognitive, and Sensorimotor intimacies all occur. Sexual pleasure is more personal, more meaning and satisfying. (UNITY PHASE)
Sumiyo presented on Gary Smalley’s 5 secrets to a healthy marriage:
1. Get rid of anger and keep it at the lowest possible level.
2. Strive to shed bad habits you learned as a child.
3. Do not set unrealistic expectations for your marriage.
4. Accept your spouse as a flawed human being, the same as yourself.
Section 4: Annotated Web Links
Comedian, Chris Rock, shares a comical perspective on love and relationships that relate towards Dr. Swedenborg’s description of men and their refusal to have conjoined intimacy with their female partners. In order to transcend to the next level of unity, a man must be more open and more flexible towards his partner.
This website provides a story from a woman who has experienced physical abuse from her husband and how it has affected her throughout her life. As she stays and attempts unity with him, he forever stays in the male dominance stage.
Author, Kara Oh, talks about how to get a man to open up and share from his heart, creating more intimacy and love. This video can serve as an example of the male dominance model where women want intimacy from their male partners, but men are unlikely to give the women what they want during this phase of the Unity model.
The following is a video of jokes that make fun of the type of disjunctive behaviors displayed by husbands in marriage that often times displeases their wives.
This website provides the 7 different ways that men mentally abuse their wives and gives advice to women who are going through it.
The “Nagging Wife” is a commercial that serves as an example of the first two levels of conjunction as described by Dr. Emanuel Swedenborg, in which the husband displays cognitive disjunction by ignoring his wife and her needs. The husband in the commercial doesn’t wish to be bothered by his wife while he is working on his laptop, so he presses a button on his computer to get “rid” of her.
A musical poem about Soulmates. This video can serve as an example of the last phase of the Unity model, where husband and wife have conjugial love for one another even in the afterlife.
Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz reveal the seven secrets of successful marriage as discusses in their new book entitled Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage.
A youtube video blogger shares his perspective on marriage by providing viewers a secret to a successful marriage that every man needs to know.
In response to his first video, “The Secret to a Successful Marriage: For Men”, A youtube video blogger creates a second video providing women viewers a secret to a successful marriage.