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Marital Beliefs, Conflict-Coping Strategies, and Marital Adjustment of Newlywed Couples
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study is to discuss newlywed couples’ marital beliefs, their conflict-coping strategies, and their marital adjustments. The study sample consisted of 83 first-marriage newlywed couples, who have married for two years and haven’t had a child. A questionnaire was adopted and administered for this study in order to gather the study data. Specifically, the husbands and the wives were asked to fill out the questionnaire separately. The major findings are presented as follows: The study sample was highly homogeneous. More than sixty percent of the study couples had college degrees or finished graduate schools. Additionally, eighty-six percent of the study participants did not live with their parents. Generally, the newlywed couples believed that their marital relationships could be improved by their dedications in the relationships. Based on “growth belief” and “destiny belief,” the participants could be classified into four kinds of marital beliefs, which were “Evaluation Orientation”(30.7%), “Optimization Orientation”(27.1%), “Cultivation Orientation”(25.9%), and “Helplessness Orientation”(16.3%). The study results showed that approximately sixty percent of the participants’ marital beliefs fall into “Evaluation Orientation” and “Optimization Orientation”, which means that newlywed couples had destiny beliefs. Based on the frequency report to newlywed couples’ conflict-coping strategies, “positive approach” was the first choice for the couples to handle conflicts. The second conflict-coping strategies was “self-interest,” and followed by “introspective self-blame,” “seeking social support,” “avoidance,” and “conflict.” The study findings also showed that the newlywed couples had a good marital adjustment in their relationships. Using “the relationship between the couple,” “the principles of the family,” and “the interactions within family-of-origin members” as three adjustment dimensions for comparisons, “the interactions within family-of-origin members” was the worse adjustment dimension than the other two dimensions for newlywed couples to adjust their relationships. In other words, there was a difficulty between the newlywed couples and their parents in a newlywed couples marital relationship. In summary, this study selected newlywed couples as study sample to discuss the following three issues: (1) the relationship between the marital beliefs and the marital adjustments; (2) the relationship between the marital beliefs and the marital conflict-coping strategies, and (3) the relationships among the marital beliefs, the marital adjustments, and the marital conflict-coping strategies. Concerning with the marital beliefs variable and the marital adjustment variable, the study found that newlywed couples who had cultivation-oriented or optimization-oriented marital beliefs had better abilities to adjust their marital relationships than the couples who had evaluation-oriented or helplessness-oriented marital beliefs. Concerning with the marital beliefs variable and marital conflict-coping strategies variable, positive approach was the marital conflict-coping strategy that often used by the newlywed couples with cultivation-oriented marital beliefs than the couples with evaluation-oriented beliefs. Additionally, avoidance was the strategy that often used by the couples who had evaluation-oriented beliefs than the couples who had cultivation-oriented beliefs. Concerning with the marital beliefs variable, the marital adjustments variable, and the marital conflict coping strategies variable, the newlywed couples with cultivation-oriented beliefs usually used “introspective self-blame” strategy, which negatively influence their marital adjustments. Additionally, the couples with evaluation-oriented beliefs usually used the “conflict” strategy, which also negatively affect their marital adjustments. This study also provides several recommendations for the marital education programs of newlywed couples and future research. There are three suggestions for the people who work in the marital education programs of newlywed couples. First, there is a need to educate people that good and health marital relationship can be developed. Second, positive conflict-coping strategies should be encouraged for couples to properly handle conflicts in their marriages. Third, intergenerational relationships can be carefully managed through people’s understanding and respect. There are four suggestions for the future research. First, this study used three different variables (marital beliefs, conflict-coping strategies, and marital adjustments) to study newlywed couples’ marital relationships. Future study can focus on each of these three variables separately or can further their studies to discuss any two variables at a time (i.e., the relationship between the marital adjustment and the marital conflict-coping strategies). Second, future research can used different research methods, such as qualitative interview methods, longitudinal research, or enlarging the scope of study sample, in order to provide different angles on some issue. Third, more adjustments need to be made for the “marital beliefs” variable for further statistics analysis. Fourth, future research may need to carefully translate the adopted instrument in order to avoid the language differences affecting instrument’s validity.
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