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Marital Typologies

Using Logical Methods To Create Typologies

Some scholars develop a typology based on the logical characteristics or pre-existing categories they believe describe most marriage relationships. The basis for the marital typology is therefore the scientist's own logic and reason. Some of the marriage typologies that have been developed have used this informal logical process.

George Levinger (1965) believed that marital stability and satisfaction were two of the most significant dimensions to consider when developing marital types; marriages could be either high or low on stability and marital satisfaction. He used these two dimensions of marriage to describe four different marital types. Full-shell marriages had high levels of satisfaction and stability; these couples rarely if ever considered divorce and were very happy with the relationship. No-shell marriages had low levels of stability and satisfaction; these couples were having difficulty staying together and were not happy with the relationship. Empty-shell marriages were low on satisfaction, yet there were high levels of stability; although these couples were not happy with their relationships, there was no consideration of divorce. Half-shell marriages had high levels of satisfaction, yet the couples were likely to terminate the marriage.

Researchers studying marriage in other cultures have used this logical process to examine specific aspects of marriage that are unique to a culture. For example, in some cultures parents and family members initiate "arranged" marriages. Thus parents select marriage partners for their children. In contrast, in most western cultures, the selection of a spouse is based on the individual's own choice and feelings of love for the partner. Arranged versus love marriages can therefore be viewed as two different marital categories. Noran Hortacsu (1999) studied 130 Turkish couples comparing couple initiated (love marriages) and family initiated (arranged) marriages. Although this study is useful in understanding some of the differences between love versus arranged marriages, this classification focuses only on one element of a marriage, the selection process.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaFamily Theory & Types of FamiliesMarital Typologies - Elements Of A Good Typology Of Marriage, The Proliferation Of Marriage-related Typologies, Using Logical Methods To Create Typologies