Expectations of marriage before and after the first year of marriage among Maltese Catholic couples

Azzopardi, Charlie (2007) Expectations of marriage before and after the first year of marriage among Maltese Catholic couples. DSysPsych thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.

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This thesis explores expectations of marriage before marriage, their origin, and their development in the first year of marriage among Maltese Catholic couples marrying in the Church. Nine couples were purposely selected from a sample of marriage preparation course participants to attend two semi-structured interviews; one before marrying and another one approximately one year into marriage. The first interviews consisted of questions around the origin of expectations of marriage and on expectations of marriage before marriage. The second interviews focused on the development of expectations within the first year of marriage. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to analyse the data. The various themes that emerged are highly indicative of the shifting constructions about the family and the transitory nature of gender roles in Malta with current couples finding themselves ensnared between traditional and post-traditional constructions. Expectations before marriage continue to persist into the first year of marriage as do various tensions between partners. While women generally expressed expectations concerning togetherness, connectedness, and increased emotional intimacy, men generally expressed expectations regarding independence and separateness. Women were also generally more inclined to voice expectations of romanticism than their male counterparts. In spite of the relatively long courtship and high level of perceived romanticism before the wedding, disappointed expectations, particularly of the romantic expectations held by women, were immediately experienced after the wedding as partners realise that the map is not the territory. Marriage invokes a psychological shift which needs to be further explored. All the emerging themes are embraced within an over-arching theme of an evolving relationship narrative, involving the co-construction of a collaborative dance between individuality and relatedness within a rapidly changing context.

Item Type: Thesis (DSysPsych)
Additional Information: A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of East London in collaboration with the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust for the Professional Doctorate in Systemic Psychotherapy
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Systemic Psychotherapy, Couple Relationships
Subjects: Research, Tests, Assessments > Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
URI: https://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/1534

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