Sample J27 from Dale L. Womble, "Functional Marriage Course for the Already Married", Marriage and Family Living, 23 (1961), 280-282. A part of the XML version of the Brown Corpus2,015 words 104 (5.2%) quotesJ27

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Dale L. Womble, "Functional Marriage Course for the Already Married", Marriage and Family Living, 23 (1961), 280-282.

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With this evidence in mind , the writer began to plan how he might more effectively educate the married students in his functional classes . Toward the end of the semester's work , he interviewed every married class member at great length . He found , as he had suspected , a general consensus that perhaps over half of the present functionally designed course was not really functional for these students . However , all admitted that the `` hindsight '' was not altogether lost . In their own words , it had aided them to get a clearer picture of how they had gotten into their marriages , and perhaps they had obtained some insights on why certain troubles appeared from time to time . In fact , they went so far as to caution the writer that if he attempted to design a section exclusively for married students there should be , at the beginning , some `` hindsight '' study ; ; but they all hastened to add that certainly less time was needed on it than presently spent . All of them felt a compelling need for more coverage on areas that could be only lightly touched upon in a general survey functional course .

A few were doubtful about the merits of an exclusive section for married students . As one of them expressed it , `` It has done me a world of good to listen to the naive questions and comments of these not-yet-married people . I can now better see just what processes provoked certain actions from me in the past . Had I been in an all-married section I would have missed this , and I believe that this single aspect has been of great personal value to me '' . This comment and others similar to it , would seem to indicate a possible justification for continuing the status quo . But the weight of feeling was heavily in the opposite direction . Thus , the writer decided to hold one experimental section of the functional preparation for marriage course in the spring semester of 1960 exclusively for persons already married -- that is , prerequisite : `` marriage '' . This did not mean that married students could not enroll in other `` mixed '' sections , and some of them , largely because of scheduling difficulties , did . But only those already married could enroll in this one section . In addition , two other differences in the two types of sections must be noted . ( 1 ) The regular sections do not allow freshmen ; ; this one did . This action was rationalized on the basis of a small survey which indicated that a high percentage of married freshmen women on our campus never become sophomores . Many of them appear to drop out , for one reason or another . By permitting freshman students we might extend the opportunity for such a course to some individuals who otherwise might never get to take it . This has subsequently been verified by the experience . ( 2 ) Auditors were encouraged . In the regular sections they have always been more or less discouraged . The philosophy has been that if they could find the time to attend class why not encourage them to get the credit and perhaps provide an incentive to do the work more effectively . Besides , auditors do not count on faculty load with the same weight as regularly enrolled students . But in this one section we welcomed auditors . Why ? ? For no particular reason , other than that the writer felt it might -- just might -- encourage both mates to be in attendance . Many of the men on our campus have a pretty set curriculum , especially in the various engineering fields , with few electives till the senior year . Incidentally , it needs to be noted that because auditors were permitted the section began increasing in numbers each week , until at last it swelled to such proportions that this `` free '' auditing policy had to be retracted . After that , we began to get `` visitors '' to class .

This experimental class represented quite a variety of students . It ranged from a freshman woman , just married , through the various academic growth stages , including one senior-graduate student , to a young faculty member recently married to a senior man who also attended . It ranged from those with no children , through students in various stages of pregnancy , to one 44-year-old male with four children , three of whom were teenagers . It ranged from two women members who had experienced premarital pregnancy to one couple twelve years married and seemingly unable to conceive .

One might digress at this point and speculate that if it is `` wise '' to create special sections for special status , then why not a special section for women pregnant before marriage , and one for 44-year-old men with teenage children , and so on . Some of these speculations may have some merit , others are somewhat ambiguous . But few who have experienced marriage can dispute the fact that the focus of interpersonal relationships is different in marriage than in a pre-marital situation .

The writer began this special class by explaining his background thinking for creating such a section in the first place . He made it clear from the beginning that this was the students' opportunity , and that the future destiny of such groups depended on favorable results from this one . He did build a framework of academic `` respectability '' , and one which did not encroach upon the `` sacred sovereignty '' of any other existing campus course . This is to say that this was not a course in wise buying or money spending methods , nor a course in how to raise children . We already have courses covering those problems , and so on . But within that framework he allowed for as much flexibility as possible . A steering committee of students was organized on the first day whose duty it was to be alert and constantly evaluate and re-evaluate the direction and pace the class was taking . The writer , being cognizant through his interviews of the reactions of previous married students , did insist on there being included some `` hindsight '' material . But the greater part of semester time was actually centered around the attitudes : `` So we are married -- now how do we make the best of it '' ? ? Or `` How do we enrich our already fine marriage '' ? ?

Films were used , as with all sections , but with one big difference . Our campus , unfortunately , owns no films . Since they are all either rented or borrowed , the requested dates for their use have to be far in advance . The writer never knew from week to week just where the section might be . For example , the steering committee might announce that the group felt a topic under study should not be dropped for an additional week as there was still too much of it untouched . Since the writer had established this democratic procedure in the beginning he had to go along with their decision -- after , of course , pointing out whether he thought their decision was a wise or an unwise one . Thus the films seen as they came in ( coordinated for the regular sections ) , were often out of context . Nevertheless , the writer has never experienced such spontaneity of discussion after film showings .

Though it did not become known to the writer for some time , a nucleus group had sprung up within the class . They began to meet in the evenings and carry forward various discussions they felt not fully enough covered in class . From a few students this group gradually increased to include over three-fourths of those officially enrolled in the class , and many outsiders as well . Also , although only a few of the students were intimately acquainted with each other in the beginning , most reported that when the semester ended their dearest and closest campus friendships were with members of that class . In fact , they often revamped their social activities to include class members previously unknown .

Supplemental outside reading reports were handled just as in the other sections , the major difference being that there was a noticeably deeper level in the reported outside reading by the married group . These students , although they might read various articles in popular magazines , more often chose to report on articles found in the journals . In addition to the noticeable difference in outside articles , there was a considerable difference in the outside books they read . Whereas a high percentage of the regular students can be expected to read other texts which more or less plow the same ground in a little different direction , the married students chose whole books on specific areas and went into much greater detail in their areas of interest . Since the writer had not noticed this characteristic in married students scattered throughout the various sections previous to this experiment , nor , as a matter of fact , in those who were continuing in `` single sections '' , he can only conclude that there must have been something `` contagious '' within the specific group which caused this to occur .

In the main , this course took the following directional high roads . ( 1 ) A great deal of time was spent on processes for solving marital differences . This was not a search for a `` magic formula '' , but rather an examination of basic principles pertaining especially to all types of communication in marriage . In short , it was centered around learning how to develop a more sensitive empathy . Not until the group was satisfied in this area were they willing to venture further to ( 2 ) , Specific adjustment areas , such as sex , in-laws , religion , finance , and so on . From here they proceeded to ( 3 ) These same areas in relation to their own future family life stages , developing these to the extent of examining various crises which could be expected to confront them at some time or other .

As an example of this last facet , there were some lengthy discussions centered around bereavement . Mainly these were concerned with the possibility of the death of one parent and the complication of living with the survivor afterward , but the possible death of one's own spouse was not overlooked . Since the course , one member has lost her husband . This was not a particularly shocking or unexpected thing -- it was previously known to her that it might happen . But just when was an unknown , and of course the longer it did not happen , the stronger her wish and belief that it might not . Since her bereavement this individual has reported to the writer on numerous occasions about how helpful the class discussions were to her in this adjustment crisis .

Quite frequently class members brought questions from their mates at home . These were often carefully written out with a great deal of thought behind them . This added a personal zest to class discussions and participation .

Both sexes reported that the discussions on sex adjustment within marriage were extremely enlightening . The writer sensed a much freer and more frank discussion , especially of this one area , than ever before . He felt certain for the first time in his teaching experience that the men in the class understood that orgasm , as a criterion , is not nearly so essential for a satisfying female sexual experience as most males might think . This was probably much more meaningful because all the women in the class emphasized it time and again . On the other hand , the women class members appeared to reach a far greater understanding than have women members in other sections that it is more natural for males as a group to view sex as sex rather than always associating it with love as most women seem to do .

In the reproductive area it could be readily observed that all felt freer to discuss things than students had previously in `` mixed '' marital status sections . Perhaps this was related to the fact that all were in on it to some extent . Never in other sections has there been the opportunity for the genuine down-to-earth discussions about the feelings of both spouses during various stages of pregnancy . There was a particularly marvelous opportunity for study in this area since almost every stage of pregnancy was represented , from a childless couple to and including every trimester . In fact , we had one birth before the end of the course , and another student had to take the final examiantion a week early , just to be on the safe side . There was also one spontaneous abortion during the semester .