Relationships, Examined

Posted: October 3, 2010 in Uncategorized

Analyzing a dyadic relationship (specifically romantic) would seem to be typically straightforward. After all, all that a person would have to do is analyze the relationship according to Knapp’s Model of Relational Development (1984). However, to do  just that and discount the context would be most spurious indeed.

One cannot forget that the context the relationship transpires is most important. Let us take for example a couple in the 1940s. A couple like that would have been far less likely to experience more of the world than a couple of today. As such, the kind of events that occur around their lives would have been more local. The media then was also much tamer compared to the media of today.

Sexual liberation seems to be the theme of every entertainment magazine these days. Magazine covers are full of scantily-clad models/actors/actresses while the latest gossip column perpetually highlights the latest adulterous affair any high-profile actor has had. Hollywood also glorifies the concept of sexual freedom, with many actors the lead roles having multiple relationships at the same time (a salient example being the various James Bonds). With the idea of sex being profane permeating through to the masses, it is easy to realize why and how relationship development is so different now.

The sanctity of a romantic relationship has thus been eroded to such an extent that  there is no longer any purity left in it. People get into relationships because “it’s convenient” or because “it brings up (my) street cred”. The concept of courtship has all but disappeared from our vocabulary. Where divorce used to be a taboo topic, it is now seen as an avenue of escape; a get-out-of-jail-free card, so to speak.

With society being as such, the perspectives of individuals even before they enter Stage 1 (Initiating) of Knapp’s Model is severely altered. Some individuals even skip Stage 1 altogether, jumping straight to Stage 2 (Experimenting) before regressing to Stage 1. For that matter, couples oftentimes rush through the stages so fast that quite a few of the stages are skipped. As relationships that are rushed are not built on solid foundations, we find that many relationships these days meet premature ends.

However, take a look at Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew’s relationship with his wife, the recently-diseased Madam Kwa Geok Choo. Theirs was a relationship that had its foundations on solid ground, one that went through Stages 1 to 5 as outlined by Knapp without being hurried. This led to a marriage of more than 50 years, which only ended due to Mdm Kwa’s tragic passing on October 2.

You do not marry the person you love; you love the person you marry. This old adage has certainly applied to the relationship between MM Lee and Mdm Kwa Geok Choo. “Love” is an emotional concept. It makes people rush into things unthinkingly. It rushes relationships, thus causing instability. “Love” will fade, and as such, it is important to ensure that there is rationality in the relationship to complement the irrationality. If, however, you love the person you marry, ironing creases in the relationship out together, it is almost a certainty that the relationship will be a long and fruitful one.


A Tribute to Mdm Kwa Geok Choo

  1. prills101 says:

    i wrote on Mr and Mrs LKY too! they have the sweetest relationship i realised, after I followed the entire week of media attention on her passing, I was very touched by the strength of their relationship. In fact, the relationship between Mr and Mrs LKY changed my idea of Mr LKY from a dictator to a loving husband. what he said, in the west, you marry the woman you love, but in the east, you love the woman you marry. but in my case, i got both, or something like that. THAT WAS SO SWEET.

  2. F. Ismailov says:

    “However, take a look at Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew’s relationship with his wife, the recently-diseased Madam Kwa Geok Choo.”

    I think you meant deceased, Chris! If not that is rather distasteful, careful, MM Lee might be waiting to sue you for defamation!

    I agree that we should learn to love who we marry. After all, was’nt there a lower rate of divorce during the time where arranged marriage is the common practice?

  3. grace says:

    with regards to the line, “You do not marry the person you love; you love the person you marry.” – at risk of being a party spoiler, i’d beg to differ on it.
    i believe it goes both ways; you marry the person you love (infactuation at the start of a relationship) & you love the person you marry (emotions and strings growing attached as the relationship progresses).

    though, there has been research done and proven that matchmade relationships actually brings about more happiness than self-chosen ones, i still believe that there is power in choice despite the possible skips in the stages as you had mentioned. sometimes these skips brings greater progressions, not necessarily a weak foundation. 🙂

  4. treenie7 says:

    I think that the media nowadays places too much focus on sex appeal. People hardly ever take relationships seriously anymore. It is nice to know that in this crazy upside down world, there are still love stories with happy ending like MM Lee and his wife.

  5. samantha says:

    omg. i love this sentence -> ‘You do not marry the person you love; you love the person you marry.’ but i know it doesnt apply to pple nowadays. who wouldnt wanna marry the person you love right? it’s hard to imagine how you would marry a person you dont love and then try to fall in love with that person after marriage.

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