The purpose of this study is to identify the factors of successful marriage accounts from self-described happy couples. For this purpose 300 couples were selected from among the staff of the industries, and the parents of students. The procedure undertaken is cluster sampling. So far two 3 couples who got a high score from ECS (1989) and described themselves as happy couples underwent an in-depth, semi-structured interview. The results show that successful couples trust, consult, are honest, believe in God, make decisions together, have commitment, friendly relationship, and rational objectives. Traditional couples and non-traditional couples differed only in the procedures of family management.
As the first data collection on happy couples continues, the first results of the in-deep semi-structured interview have demonstrated that successful couples were introduced to each other by the relatives and all the couples had ethical, religious, cultural, social, economical common points. Traditional and non-traditional couples considered the items of Table 1, as the factors of successful marriage. Also, believed that the stability of their marriage is related to the items of Table 2,
Further Successful couples reported in the case of any disagreement at first grumbled and after a short time both husband and wife tried to convince each other through reasoning or one of them made concessions to end the argument between them. The personal characteristics that they attributed to each other were same about each of them. These couples had intimate relationships with each other and with other people. If their relationships with others had a negative impact on their relationship with each other they quickly terminated those problematic relationships. Successful couples passed their leisure time with their family and parents and had a good sense of humour because they believed that life with no humour becomes boring. All of them laid much emphasize on the training of their children. They believed that no training could be superior to parents' training. The only difference between traditional and non-traditional couples was in the family management in that in the traditional marriage both husband and wife believed that the man should have the last word and in these families the financial decisions were made by the husband. In traditional families both the husband and the wife believed that the man is responsible to earn his families livelihood and the woman is responsible for doing the housework and training children.
The data of happy first 3 couples supports the important of the four areas formed in the literature:
Commonalities: lucky couples had common points in personality, economical and social status. The previous researches also emphasize that personality commonalities of couples anticipates a good marriage and similar researches prove that equity in marriage depends on the racial similarities (Russell & Wells, 1991). Also documents indicate that marital prosperities depend on the perception of the similarities between the wife and the husband (Corsini, 1956). This means the more husbands and wife are similar to each other; the more successful they will be in their marriage.
Equity: Mckenzie (2003) posits that perceived equity in love or attachment may be an important predictor of whether the couple stays together. Steil and Turetsky (1987) suggest that equality is most conducive for building intimate relationship. As it was identified the difference between the traditional and non-traditional couples is their view about the gender role traditional couples considers the husband responsible for the management of family and non-traditional couples describe their relationships as a friendly one. This finding confirmed the inconsistency theory that assumes couples report low marital quality and overall happiness if wives’ statuses are higher than their husbands’ (Gong, 2007). Also, the researches undertaken by Mckenzie (2003) demonstrated that lucky couples have friendly relationships.
Communication: All the couples who were interviewed emphasized that they have a healthy and harmonious relationship Gottman (1994) suggests that key to improving marriage is learning how you argue.
And the lucky couples indicated that after a disagreement and argument they end it quickly and reached to an agreement on that subject. In a longitudinal study by McNulty (2008) it was identified that the couples, who have less aggressive behaviour towards their each other, would experience a longstanding marital life and a high marital satisfaction. They are more generous towards others. Our research emphasized this point as well and we can claim that lucky couples were generous towards each other and others. This study supports the finding of Fletcher, Thomas, and Durrant (1999), who suggest that a good communication model creates high levels of accommodation and involves managing the expression of negative cognitions and emotions by not expressing them, or by responding in a positive or diplomatic fashion.
Marital satisfaction: researchers have found that perception influences marital satisfaction (Mckenzie, 2003) Michalos (1986) created the ideal-real gap theory which proposed that discrepancies between what an individual perceives and what is ideal may affect satisfaction or happiness. The lucky couples in our study did not differentiate between the realities of life and their ideals. They considered themselves as realists.
Limitations: Industrial centres did not have a good cooperation in putting their staff at our disposal for gathering data. Another limitation imposed on this study is that the data collection of 10 happy couples has not finished yet.
Recommendation: Doing research on more social, economic, background and racial samples and comparing it with different researches.
I am grateful to Dr. David Olson and all those who assisted us in this work and without their assistance this work would not become a reality.
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