Thursday, October 18, 2007

Narrative Notetaking

Focusing Question: What is involved in a strong marriage?

Source: Wallerstein, Judith and Sandra Blakeslee. "Chapter 1: Happy Marriages, Do They Exist?" The Good Marriage. © 1995 by Judith S. Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee. Reprinted by permission of Ticknor & Fields/Houghton Mifflin Co. 16 & 18 Oct. 2007 <>

Layer 1: Story the Source

This first chapter in a book is about the writer's findings about divorce and also marriage principles. It talks about studies and observations which were conducted about marriages. There is intersting information about how second marriages compare to first marriages. "Happiness" in marriage is also an issue discussed about what it means to have a happy marriage and to be happy in ones marriage. She conducted several interviews with couples to find out more information on a personal level and she includes some of these conversations in this chapter. She made the observation that marriages have changed over the years and talks about those changes. Explaining that this book is not a "how-to" book, she tells her readers that it is about her observations from which she thinks and hopes people can learn and understand for fully. She has several interesting historical notes about the changes in marriage over the years. Her purpose is stated in the last paragraph. She wants to help people see how it is possible to develop "good marriages in a culture of divorce."

Layer 2: Rapid Summary

Almost all of the information contained in this chapter sounds important for my paper. The points about how marriages have become so easily disolved seems to be a theme and the reason for her research. She talks a lot about the coomplexity of relationships involved in a marriage and all the emotions and factors that contribute to its success or its downfall.

Layer 3: Narrative of Thought

When I was reading this chapter, I realised that we share a lot of the same veiws and she brought up points that support my views of which I had not thought. I already knew that "happy marriages are not carefree. There are good times and bad times, and certainly partners may face serious crises together or separately." It has been good to see that reiterated over and over again throughout my research. It is an important point and something I think is taken forgrated. Just because one is married does not mean life will be easier. If it did, the divorce rate would not be so high. "One very important goal of the study was to find out what people in these marriages meant by 'happy.'" This is something that I have been trying to answer myself. Her notes about this are insightful and I am sure I will be using them in my paper. "In the past twenty years, marriage in America has undergone a profound, irrevocable transformation, driven by changes in women's roles and the heightened expectations of both men and women. Without realizing it, we have crossed a marital Rubicon. For the first time in our history, the decision to stay married is purely voluntary. Anyone can choose to leave at any time... Divorce is as simple as a trip to the nearest courthouse." This bothers me, even though I know it to be true. This clearly addresses the fact that there is such a lack of commitment to marriages today. How did we slip so low? When will people realize how damaging this issue is not only to themselves, but all of the family members and friends involved?

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