Social Exchange vs Communal View of Romanic Relationships
Chris and Linda were very happy once upon a time. It took them years to become unsatisfied within their marriage. Before Linda made her decision to leave, she is seen to be frustrated about several issues that she has put on Chris. I believe that when their relationship began she had a communal view of her marriage. Linda was less concerned with a perfect balance between her and her husband. Instead, she was concerned giving benefits non-contingently. As time progressed, Linda’s perception of her marriage changed when she realized that she was basically carrying her family on her own. She began to analyze that she was working more hours than her husband and doing more for her son than her husband was. Overtime, she switched from a communal view to the exchange style. Linda began to keep track of the tasks that Chris was not completing, which ultimately made her leave her family. In exchange relationships, there is the expectation of balance in giving and taking. Each person assumes that when one person gives a benefit, he or she should then expect to receive a comparable benefit from the other person. Linda continued to expect certain aspects out of her marriage that were never satisfied. Therefore she perceived the costs were outweighing the rewards, and left her family.
Chris on the other hand always had a communal view of his marriage. From the moment he signed the contract to sell the bone density scanners, to him getting his internship with Dean Whittaker, his main concern was always his family. Unfortunately, Chris was unable to balance his work life and his family life. He was fully aware that he was not meeting certain needs when he ran out of excuses to tell Linda. For example, when Chris comes home with a scanner which clearly upset Linda, she goes outside for a smoke. While Chris is trying to explain his day to her, she cuts him off and says “whatever”. He tries to assure her that their situation is temporary, and things will get better. She replies with “You said that before, when I got pregnant. It’ll be fine.” Before she walk away she tells Chris that she doesn’t care. Linda continues to antagonize her husband, and Chris continues to make an attempt to make things better. Ultimately, Linda left Chris because her focus in her marriage shifted. If she was as optimistic as Chris, then maybe she would have been happier.
Relational maintenance strategies are used in marriage to maintain the relationship. Two of the first three maintenance actions and activities which scored the highest according to Stafford and Canary’s 91’ research study were: sharing-tasks, and positivity. Sharing tasks describes how partners distribute relational responsibility, and positivity refers to being pleasant and making situations enjoyable for one another. If Chris engaged in these actions and activities, then he might successfully been able to maintain his relationship with his...