Theories of choosing a marriage partner
There are various theories for choosing a marriage partner. Some researchers, such as K. Melville, liken the process of choosing a spouse to a trade transaction, with the” currency ” in exchange being the social values of two individuals, such as social origin, economic status, education, and personal qualities (age, appearance) (Melville K., 1977).
Proponents of the theory of homogamy (Nye A., Berardo F., Bossard J. and others) argued that “exchanged” can not be any man and woman, but only those who have the same “social value”, or homogamy. In fact, the possible candidates include candidates with the same characteristics that are of primary importance in terms of marital choice (race, religion, social class, proximity in educational level, age, marital status, territorial proximity of residence) (NyeL, BerardoE, 1973).
The theory of “complementary needs” (winch R.) consists in the assumption that the principle of homogamy can only be applied to socio-cultural characteristics, and at the level of personal characteristics, opposites are attracted (Winch R., 1954). This means that a domineering man is often attracted to a meek woman, while a calm and gentle man may be attracted to an energetic and direct woman (Kraig G., 2002).
The instrumental theory of matchmaking developed by Centers R. (1975) also prioritizes satisfaction of needs, but States that some needs (for example, gender and belonging) are more important than others, and that some needs are more inherent in men than women, and Vice versa. According to Senters, a person is attracted to someone whose needs are similar to or complement their own.
According to Adams, who studied strong student couples for 6 months, primary attraction is based more on external characteristics such as physical attractiveness, sociability, balance, and shared interests. Established relationships are strengthened by the reactions of others, getting the status of a couple, a sense of comfort and tranquility in the presence of each other, and the action of other similar factors. Then the couple enters the stage of mutual obligations and intimacy, which brings the partners closer together. Members of a couple who have committed themselves to each other study each other’s views and values. At this stage, the couple is often ready to make a decision about getting married (Adams V. V., 1979).
The stimulus-value-role theory (Merstein B.) is based on two important assumptions:
at each stage of the development of partner relationships, the strength of the relationship depends on the so-called equality of exchange (taking into account the pros and cons of each individual, each person tries to marry the most attractive partner for themselves);
mating choices include a series of successive stages, or filters. There are three stages: incentive (attractiveness of the partner) – value (similarity of views) – role (compliance of the chosen person’s role behavior with their expectations) (MursteinB., 1970).
In the circular theory of love (Reis A.), four stages are considered:
establishing relationships (criterion-ease of communication, depending on socio-cultural factors);
self-disclosure-the emergence of trust, the possibility of revealing yourself to others;
formation of mutual dependence (based on a sense of need for each other);
realization of the basic needs of the individual (love, trust) (Reissl. L., 1976).
Common to these theories is that they are all based on the principle of socio-cultural homogamy, and the mechanism for choosing a partner is considered as a system of filters. These theories consistently narrow the circle of possible candidates, cutting off the unsuitable ones. At the final stage, there are those pairs of men and women who theoretically should be well suited to each other as spouses.
The direction of research on the motives for choosing a marriage partner, called “identification”, has its methodological origin in psychoanalysis. Representatives of this direction believe that in marital choice, the identification of the child with the parent is manifested in the fact that the search for a partner is based on the developed idea of the parent of the opposite sex as the ideal of the spouse. According to this theory, satisfaction with marriage depends on the spouse’s compliance with the image of the parent.
Representatives of the role theory (Parsons T., Bales R., Harber B., ORT R., etc.) believe that the satisfaction of marriage depends on the correspondence of the partners ‘ role expectations to the role behavior.