"[This book] offers a unique window on the intimate world of contemporary couple relationships. The nuanced descriptions of couple interactions […] reveal the everyday gestures and small acts of kindness which enable partners to sustain their relationship through thick and thin. By extending our understanding of the personalised meanings and conceptions of love and the seemingly mundane nature of relationship practices - what couples do - within the home, this book will be invaluable to all those working with couples to enhance or repair a fragile relationship." - Janet Walker OBE, Newcastle University, UK
"This important, accessible and engagingly written study takes the mystery out of "love" by showing how people experience and perform it in their everyday, relatable lives. The book's wisdom is that love consists very much in what people do in their interactions with each other, rather than something found only 'in the stars"; the authors convey this through the touching and often gripping voices of the people in their study, and guide us through these with their informed, scholarly insights. For academics their pioneering yet simple methodology paves the way toward further research. For a clinician there are indicators for ways to help couples who wish to become more loving in their relationships." - Professor Janet Reibstein, University of Exeter, UK
Couple Relationships in the 21st Century presents an incisive and engaging account of love, intimacy and personal life in contemporary Western society. The authors draw on rich qualitative and large-scale survey data to explore how couples communicate with each other, negotiate the pressures and pleasures of parenthood, and the vagaries of sexual desire and intimacy across life course. Focusing on 'the everyday', this book unpicks the ordinary and often mundane relationship work that goes into sustaining a relationship over time, breaking down the dichotomy between enduring relationships of quality and good enough or endured relationships. It contests the separation of couples into distinct relationship types - defined through age, parenthood or sexuality. Looking through the lens of relationship practices it is clear that there is no 'normal couple': couples are what couples do. Providing an invaluable critical insight on contemporary experiences of coupledom, this book will be essential reading for scholars and students, clinicians working in couple and family therapy, or those simply interested in couple relationships and how they work.
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