FriendI am currently a friend to different people and anticipate becoming a spouse as a future role. I have chosen the friend role because I have a number of close friends with whom I spend time on a regular basis and have opened up to regarding some of the challenges that I face in my life. They have provided tremendous support to me and I try to return the favor as often as I can. As a friend, I am constantly learning how to improve my relationships with others and recognize that this requires give and take on both sides. Being a good friend, regardless of gender, requires trust, understanding, a sense of humor, listening skills, and to be available and present when needed by friends. A great friend will go out of the way to make a difference in a person’s life and to promote resilience and a strong connection with others (Walsh, 2015). As a future spouse, spending time with the individual can reduce potential conflicts and can set a positive example for any children who are born from the relationship (Parke & Ladd, 2016). In this context, a spouse has a responsibility to be honest and forthright regarding a variety of issues and concerns and share them on a regular basis.
Social exchange theory is relevant to the role of friend because it provides a backdrop for how friendships develop, based upon a psychological contract which leads to promises on both sides of the relationship (Bingham, Oldroyd, Thompson, Bednar, & Bunderson, 2014). Individual perceptions are critical to this phenomenon, based on the premise that individuals have some desirable trait or resource which can help others (Bingham et al., 2014). It is evident that this concept supports the development of friendships which convey mutual understanding and acceptance of different characteristics which impact these relationships in different ways (Bingham et al., 2014).
Similarity-attraction is also prevalent in friendships, as this demonstrates that similarities in personalities play a significant role in shaping how individuals connect to each other based on these traits (Ilmarinen, Lonnqvist, & Paunonen, 2016). In this context, trust between friends evolves when similarities are evident and are based on honest pretenses (Ilmarinen et al., 2016). Finally, the propinquity effect is important in friendships because it conveys the belief that individuals who interact frequently have a greater tendency to become friends and to develop productive relationships (Dalessandro, 2013).
As a future spouse, I recognize that this role requires significant compromise, but I believe that communication is the key to a successful marital relationship and requires my constant attention and focus to be successful. In this role, it is important to continuously evaluate the responsibilities of a spouse to a partner and to other family members to uphold the core values and beliefs of the family unit and to recognize the sensitive nature of some issues as they impact family members. Most importantly, a spouse has a duty to be faithful and to acknowledge the critical nature of this role and its impact on the marital relationship and also in the context of the family dynamic.
The Family Systems Model demonstrates the importance of the spouse’s contribution to regulating emotions among family members, including any children who are born into the relationship (Fosco & Grych, 2013). In this capacity, issues such as family climate and warmth are essential to a positive contribution by the spouse to a family unit; therefore, this requires an understanding of how the family unit is defined (Fosco & Grych, 2013). Furthermore, it how each contribution is made represents new challenges and opportunities for the spouse to create new ideas and develop stronger relationships with other family members (Fosco & Grych, 2013).
Attachment theory is commonly known to be integrated with intimate relationships and the role of spouses because attachment figures are influential in this context, based on the presence of a primary caregiver such as a mother (Bradbury & Kamey, 2010). It is important for spouses to acknowledge that an influential caregiver in their lives is instrumental in how they form marital relationships; also, it enables them to better understand concepts that include security related to reliability; avoidance related to being unavailable; and anxious related to lack of response (Bradbury & Kamey, 2010). Furthermore, they have control regarding how close they become to other people and if this will have an impact on their relationship going forward (Bradbury & Kamey, 2010).
Finally, Social Learning Theory plays a critical role in shaping how individuals as spouses respond to different events with their behaviors and how these behaviors are shaped by different experiences (Bradbury & Kamey, 2010). Also, if behaviors are negative, questions regarding the ability to trust the spouse may become a reality, while if they are positive, trust becomes more evident and secure (Bradbury & Kamey, 2010). The interactions between partners is of critical importance for spouses, as each individual must determine how to best manage the relationship through behavioral cues and other challenges which test the relationship from time to time and create an environment in which there is continuous ebb and flow within the relationship that could contribute to periods where trust is lacking and confidence in the relationship could wane (Bradbury & Kamey, 2010). On the other hand, periods of positive behaviors may strengthen the bond and support a dynamic which is based upon greater trust and mutual respect among spouses (Bradbury & Kamey, 2010).
- Bingham, J. B., Oldroyd, J. B., Thompson, J. A., Bednar, J. S., & Bunderson, J. S. (2013). Status
and the true believer: The impact of psychological contracts on social status attributions of friendship and influence. Organization Science, 25(1), 73-92.
- Bradbury, T.N., & Kamey, B.R. (2010). Intimate Relationships. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
- Dalessandro, R., Ingmire, A., & Hill, V. (2013). Stress, Coping, and Self-Esteem. Applied Social
Psychology (ASP). Np, nd Web, 19.
- Fosco, G. M., & Grych, J. H. (2013). Capturing the family context of emotion regulation: A
family systems model comparison approach. Journal of Family Issues, 34(4), 557-578.
- Ilmarinen, V. J., Lönnqvist, J. E., & Paunonen, S. (2016). Similarity-attraction effects in
friendship formation: Honest platoon-mates prefer each other but dishonest do not. Personality and Individual Differences, 92, 153-158.
- Parke, R. D., & Ladd, G. W. (Eds.). (2016). Family-peer relationships: Modes of linkage.
- Walsh, F. (2015). Strengthening Family Resilience. Guilford Publications.