A third (and final!) set of ideas for using Hull, Meier and Ortyl’s piece “The Changing Landscape of Love and Marriage” (Spring 2010 issue) from the authors!

Exercise #1:

Have students answer the relationship values questions (which they used for their research published in Journal of Marriage and Family) as a learning exercise; perhaps in advance of the assigned reading so they are not biased by having read the article, and then compare the students’ responses to the findings in their JMF article as a jumping-off point for class discussion of relationship values/attitudes, where they come from, whether/why they differ by gender, SES, sexual orientation, etc.

“How important do you think each of the following elements is for a successful marriage or serious committed relationship?”  (using a 1=”not important” to 10=”extremely important” scale)

1)  Love

2)  Faithfulness

3)  Life-long commitment

4)  Financial security

5) Being of the same race

Exercise #2:

The article talks broadly about romantic v. confluent love. Students could debate which of these two models is more relevant today and/or which pieces of each model they like/don’t like and why.

For the romantic love model, Swidler’s four features (or myths) could be discussed:

1) one true love
2) love at first sight
3) love conquers all
4) happily ever after

For confluent model, Gidden’s ideas include these features:

1) relationship contingent on satisfaction of both partners
2) lots of communication/negotiation
3) overarching goal of self-development