SOC 204


    Potential Essay #4



    Posts : 1
    Join date : 2010-03-02

    Potential Essay #4

    Post  sasingh88 on Sun Apr 18, 2010 4:40 pm

    Engagement is seen as a public statement of your decision to marry and represents a transitional status from singlehood to that of marriage. There are several functions served by an engagement. An engagement is one way to monogamize the pair or in other words, the couple is exclusive to each other with no possibilities of anyone else. A social-psychological function of an engagement is that is serves to increase the individuals’ identity as a couple. By declaring their commitment to each other, they are reinforcing their “we” status. By getting engaged, it encourages the man and woman to get to know their partner’s family and friends more. As important as it is to know the person you are marrying, it also as important to know about the family you are marrying into. An engagement is also seen as a form of anticipatory socialization. When couples plan on getting married, they begin to think about and anticipate how each partner would carry out their respective roles as a married couple. Certain questions most couples would have to consider and face include where they would live, where they would work, how they would divide their duties as husband and wife, etc. Last not but not least, an important function served by an engagement is that it increases intimacy. As an engaged couple they have greater accessibility to one another, see each other more and spend more time with each other through activities such as planning the wedding, etc.
    There are five different forms or processes of engagement. Two forms are termed short, which is defined as the engagement lasting for 6 months or less. The remaining three forms of engagement are termed long, defined as an engagement lasting for 6 month or more. One form of engagement is Short But Sweet. According to this type of engagement, the real decision to marry was made by the couple earlier but not made public. The couple had already planned on marrying and made their decision public near the time of marriage. Thus, the engagement period for this form is very short. The second short form of engagement is Short But Brittle. Couples become engaged in order to engage in sexual activity. This type of relationship is unstable and brief, thus in most cases couples break the engagement off. The primary reason couple enter into this engagement is so when they engage in sexual activity, it is more acceptable by society’s norms. The third form of engagement and the first of the long kind is Long But Separated. Under this type of engagement, couples enter into this committed relationship in preparation of being separated from each other. For example, if one of the partners was going to the military service or out of the country for various reasons- couples would often enter into an engagement to clarify and declare their commitment to each other. The second form of long engagement is Long But Inconclusive where the couple get engaged but not yet married. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest engagement was recorded as 67 years before the couple, residing in Mexico, finally tied the knot. The last form of long engagement is Long Enough. This form allows the couple time to go through the processes from being single to being marries. The processes include getting to know each other, getting to know the family in which they will be establishing relations with, and so forth.
    But an engagement does not ensure the security of a relationship. Couples can face many problems during this period of time such as continual patterns of quarreling, strong disagreements over major goals and values, different sets of incompatible friends and having an on and off relationship. Some solutions sought by couples in troubling times like these include breaking the engagement off, eloping, continuing with the unsatisfying relationship and working through the problems. The best way to resolve an issue to ensure a stable relationship involves verbal and nonverbal communication, developing interdependence, and accommodation and compromise. Accommodation is when couples temporarily put aside differences to continue with the relationship. On the other hand, compromise is where each partner gives up something to maintain the relationship.
    The next step after an engagement is the actual marriage itself by having a wedding. A wedding emphasizes the seriousness of this relationship or marriage and is a public declaration of your commitment to your partner. There are many sociological functions as to why couples have weddings. One of the main functions is that marriage is seen as a rite of passage into adulthood. Just as sweet sixteens, bar mitzvahs, etc. are seen as rites of passages for youths, weddings is seen as the first big individuals take as adults and members of society. When a man or woman gets married, they not only build a relationship with their partner, they also create bonds with their partner’s family- the future in laws. Weddings serve to help bind relations between the families of the bride and groom, as well as between the couple and their respective in laws. Weddings not only strengthen relations with in laws, but also with your own kinship ties. Weddings in a sense serve as a family reunion where family members that you haven’t seen for some period of time come to celebrate this special occasion. Last but not least, weddings serve to legitimize the relationship between the couple no only in the view of society, but also that of the state. The state recognizes the relationship between married couples and provides them with more benefits in terms of tax breaks, etc. than to couples cohabiting together. This in a sense reinforces the social necessity to enter into an acceptable form of relationship such as marriage.
    There are four theories as to why there are weddings. The first theory is the Family Obligation Theory which states that a wedding publicly emphasizes the couple’s obligations to each other. The second theory is the Family Precarious Theory where marriage is seen as a difficult journey in one’s life. Thus, a wedding provides the couple with the social support network to help through tough times often involved in marriages. The Religious or Transcendental Theory views marriage as a sacrament or sacred religion. Marriage is a special union that ties two people together in an eternal bond. The last theory is that of Conspicuous Display. Wedding is one way to show off to family and friends the amount of wealth you have. Weddings can be simple church ceremonies or lavish events with great focus on details such as food, entertainment, venue, etc.

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