Relationship maintenance theory

SAGE Reference - Relational Maintenance Theories

relationship maintenance theory

For many people, simply staying together is not sufficient; instead, the quality of the relationship is important. For researchers, this means examining behaviors. This entry looks at definitions of relationship maintenance, maintenance strategies, and theories used to explain and predict relationship. Relationship Maintenance Source for information on Relationship Gottman's ( ) theory of marital success versus failure reflects a causal process model.

What is most important here is, sharing and communicating any task or activities in a relationship but this dose not happen in more cases.

relationship maintenance theory

This as to do with interest as well as team work. I think all of these strategies are just right to have a good relationship. Being cheerful and upbeat, not criticizing the partner; assurances, openness, which refers to directly discussing the nature of the relationship all seem like the right thing to do.

I do try to use these stratagies with my wife we have different things around the house that on a nightly bases we're switching whether I'm give our sun a bath and puttting him to bed and my wife is doing dinner or vise versa exc The most important one is being positive because if one of is having a bad day its real easy to ruin both our days so I just stay positive and reasuring.

It works out well most of the time considering she's working alot more then she did before I lost my job and we have alot less money so I'm kinda the defuser.

Relationship Maintenance |

Accordingly, researchers would examine relational longevity or stability. At a second level, relational maintenance means engaging in behaviors that help to sustain the quality of the relationship. In other words, being together and stable is not enough—one must also consider the quality of the relationship.

Thus, maintenance researchers would be interested in examining relational properties such as satisfaction, love, and trust.

Relationship Maintenance - Maintaining Quality

A third definition of relational maintenance refers to keeping the relationship status quo. This definition would point to keeping a particular stage or state e. Fourth, maintenance refers to repair. This definition leads one to examine how people overcome problems and perhaps transgressions. Finally, maintenance refers to managing the dialectical tensions that naturally occur in every close involvement. For example, researchers investigate how people manage their desires for feeling connected to someone while also having an independent identity.

These alternative definitions point to behaviors that function differently to keep close relationships stable, satisfying, in a particular state, and in repair despite natural tensions that inhere in close involvements. This entry briefly highlights research that has examined relational maintenance using each of the alternative definitions see Canary and Zelley for a review of alternative research programs on relational maintenance. Maintaining Stability For many people, relational longevity equals success.

Certainly, silver and golden wedding anniversaries symbolize success. They also reflect years of interaction patterns that have somehow led to stability. Perhaps the most widely cited research with regard to predicting stability comes from the work of John Gottman Gottman emphasizes behaviors that determine whether or not a couple gets divorced. Gottman's theory of marital success versus failure reflects a causal process model that specifies alternative paths that satisfied versus dissatisfied married partners take.

Specifically, Gottman argues that marital partners' negative message behavior causes a shift in perceptions of each other that lead to unfavorable beliefs about the partner. In particular, negative message behavior e.

relationship maintenance theory

Whereas stable couples have a 5: Unstable couples, however, exhibit an equal number of positive and negative messages. According to Gottman, negative conflict behaviors lead to negative emotional reactions.

  • Relational Maintenance Theories
  • Relationship Maintenance
  • Relationship maintenance

Differences between stable and unstable couples also are evident in the attributions made regarding partners' negative behavior Gottman For example, stable partners rely on positive or benign attributions to explain negative behaviors e.

Unstable partners, on the other hand, explain the causes of their problems using hostile attributions, or explanations that reflect internal, stable, global, and intentional features of the partner e. Once hostile attributions are in place, partners tend to distance themselves from one another, re-cast the history of the marriage, and, finally, separate. The primary strategies for maintaining stability would be to use cooperative messages, avoid negative reciprocity, and attempt to explain the partner's negative behavior using benign attributions.

If one cannot alter defensive beliefs about the partner, then the assistance of a marital counselor, therapist, or spiritual leader would appear to be in order. Maintaining Quality For many people, simply staying together is not sufficient; instead, the quality of the relationship is important.

relationship maintenance theory

For researchers, this means examining behaviors that are linked to relational satisfaction and other indicators of quality. Laura Stafford and Daniel J. Canary set out to determine a finite set of behaviors that would lead to increases in relational quality. By quality, Stafford and Canary referred to satisfaction, trust, control mutuality i. Using various methods, these authors uncovered a finite set of relational maintenance behaviors. Stafford and Canary derived five relational maintenance strategies, or approaches to keeping the relationship in a satisfactory condition.

These strategies are positivity, or being cheerful and upbeat, not criticizing the partner; assurances, such as stressing one's commitment and love; openness, which refers to directly discussing the nature of the relationship; social networks, or attempts to involve friends and family in various activities; and sharing tasks, which refer to doing one's fair share of chores and other work that needs to be done.

Stafford and Canary found that positivity was most strongly related to satisfaction while control mutuality and assurances were most powerfully linked to commitment. These findings suggest that maintenance behaviors have varying functional utility in promoting different indicators of quality.

If someone is having a bad day, they can provide the necessary support and positivity needed to maintain the relationship. Individuals may meet through a message board or on Facebook while living hundreds of miles away.

relationship maintenance theory

These virtual relationships require the least amount of maintenance. People in a virtual-only relationship may be highly committed to each other and display just as much maintenance behavior as those in close proximity. Idealization often will reflect unreal expectations. Facebook relationship maintenance follows implicit rules for interaction. Even if those in a virtual or long-distance relationship do arrange to meet in person, it is usually set up well in advance and allows time to prepare for control of the encounter to reinforce the online image rather than the reality of their life.

Through the technological advancements that have taken place over the past twenty years, communication has evolved from handwritten letters to emails to text messaging to Facebook to Skype, significantly shortening response times with every step. The increased use and familiarity with technology, even as it evolves, will result in user's adaptation to computer mediated communication and reduce some of the advantages of face-to-face communication.

However, the amount of time spent together improves the satisfaction in any relationship and face-to-face communication is still recommended whenever possible. Both are common behaviors, though they are embodied in different ways and perhaps with different ulterior motives. When you phone somebody to congratulate them on a birthday or anniversary, it is a deliberate action that clearly shows you taking the time to show your affection for someone you have a relationship with.

These are clear strategic behaviors designed to give positive reinforcement. For example, if a wife is cleaning up from dinner, and her husband decides to take out the trash. This would be considered a Routine Maintenance Behavior. They are used without the express purposes of maintaining a relationship, yet they still help people preserve their bonds with one another. Part of this has to do with the difference in routine maintenance and an exchange relationship.

The key difference being that benefits are given without one expected in return, as in an exchange relationship. From this perspective the maintenance and enhancement of close relationships depends on the extent that both people are concerned for each other's needs, and are willing and able to meet those needs. In romantic relationships, there is the intimacy element that is added. This is physical intimacy and a deeper emotional intimacy than a friendship would have.

There are four relationship stages when it comes to romantic relationships: It was reported that married and engaged couples used more assurances and task sharing than did dating couples. However, engaged and seriously dating couples reported that they used openness and positivity more than did married couples.

Then, married couples reported the most social networking. Daters tended to be more social with one another. For example, they called and sent each other notes and cards more than the married couples did.

They use maintenance behavior early on in the relationship and then also in the later years of their marriage. As the years progress they may shift focus to family or careers, but then later on when their children have grown and they are settled in their careers the focus may come back to the relationship maintenance since the couple have less distractions.

Strictly platonic groups have both sides saying they do not want anything romantic out of the relationship. Those in mutual romance groups both want the friendship to become romantic. Individuals in a desires-romance group indicate that they wanted the friendship to become romantic, but the partner indicate they want to stay friends.

Last, the rejects-romance group said that they would like the friendship to stay platonic, but the other person wanted it to become romantic. Friends that want to move to romantic relationships use more maintenance behaviors, as increases in maintenance behavior mark a change from friendship to romance.

These groups tend to talk about outside relationships and there is activity done together and less flirtations used. One of the main challenges in maintaining a long-distance relationship is the lack of face-to-face contact and communication.