Marriage and the Marital Relationship

The institution of marriage takes different forms in different cultures but is fundamentally both a contractual relationship and a social union involving an emotional bond. Marriage is legitimized by the state or religious authorities and confers certain rights and obligations to the marital partners—ranging from changes in the legal ownership of property to interpersonal expectations regarding sexual intimacy and emotional support. Marital partners are the primary providers of support to adult trauma survivors, and they are the most affected by processes of secondary traumatization.

Marital partners have a relationship that is structurally and emotionally different from all other relationships, a relationship that exerts a powerful influence on each individual partner. Individual identity is affected when people marry: The partners become interdependent, and the marital relationship and ...

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