Book Club: Fiction to Reality, Cedar Cove, Couple

Family Life Cycle and Couple Relationship: What Does Cedar Cove Teach Us (Part 2)

new coupleJust a friendly reminder that you might want to read these three articles before you started reading this entry.

Family Life Cycle Theory (Reuben Hill, 1949): Stage 2: The new couple
Once the two adults enter the marital relationship, they enter the second stage of the family life cycle: the new couple. The important tasks are to form their marital system in their family of creation and to realign the relationship with their families of origin.

Issues:

The main issues at this stage of the therapy are setting the boundary and setting the expectation.  The new couple needs to set the boundary with their extended family.

The new couple needs to set the boundary with their extended family. This issue extends to the holiday arrangement and the how much time spent with the extended family. In some culture, like Chinese culture, it also involves whether the young couple needs to help with the extended family financially.

Within the couple itself, the young couple also starts to set up their expectations such as household responsibility delegation, how much time they spend with each other and their individual friends, financial management.

A lot of expectations are not spoken clearly and often becomes the issues resulting in the conflicts in the future. For example, some couples are fighting about where they spent the holiday at which side of the family a few years after the marriage. The other commonly seen issue in the couple’s therapy session is finances and household responsibility. Many people equate the household responsibility to the income they bring home. Therefore, some people expect their spouse or self to do more in the household if they do not have the same income as their partner. This unconscious expectation often lead to resentment in the future couple relationship. The other commonly seen conflict is the gender role expectation. Some people expect their spouses to perform certain tasks in the household because of the gender role expectations. If the partners are not aware of these gender role expectations, it often leads to conflicts in the household.

Cedar Cove Example: Justin and Seth Gunderson

Cecilia and Ian Randall is the classic example to come to the therapy in the New Couple Stage. The barely have the time to know each other and to establish their routines together. Suddenly, Ian left on the Navy assignment and Cecilia is left to deal with the trauma of losing their child.

On the other hand, the couple that is successful in transition to the couple stage is Justin and Seth Gunderson. After they eloped, Seth moved back to Cedar Cove and the two of them started a restaurant business together. They established their routine and collaborated with each other in creating their dreams and lives together. It showed their ability to delegate the roles and responsibilities in their relationship. In one of the story, they invited both Justin’s parents who were divorced at the time to come to the dinner to establish their couple unit in front of their extended family. They borrowed the money from Seth’s parents but also paid back on the monthly basis, which showed their ability to be responsible financially as well as to set the boundary of their family with the extended family.

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Original Work:

Cedar Cove Series by Debbie Macomber.

Family Life Cycle Theory by Ruben Hill (1949)

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Cedar Cove, Couple Relationship & Family Life Cycle Series

Cedar Cove to Couple Relationships (Prologue)

Family Life Cycle & Couple Relationship: What Does Cedar Cove Teach Us? (Part 1)

Family Life Cycle and Couple Relationship: What Does Cedar Cove Teach Us (Part 2)

Family Life Cycle and Couple Relationship: What Does Cedar Cove Teach Us (Part 3)

Family Life Cycle and Couple Relationship: What Does Cedar Cove Teach Us (Part 4)

Family Life Cycle and Couple Relationship: What Does Cedar Cove Teach Us (Part 5)

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