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A Family in Formation

it was more or less I had to change. I was immature. I went into marriage with the wrong idea—

Minuchin: He was immature also!

Mrs. Wagner: Right! He had—

Minuchin: He was not married, you see?

Mrs. Wagner: But see, I didn't, I didn't realize this at the time. I just took anything that happened and blamed it on myself— Minuchin: Why?

Mrs. Wagner: Because I usually instigated things—I mean, he would be very quietly, you know, writing a term paper or something—

Minuchin: That's his style—his style is an understater—you were the one who would need to activate something if you want to get on him, but he made you feel guilty.

Mrs. Wagner: I would say it was fifty-fifty. I would make myself feel guilty, and then he would go along with me and say, "You are a bitch," you know, and back me right up.

Minuchin: Mark, when did you become married? I think, Emily, that because you moved away, you really needed him and you were more committed to this marriage than he was in the beginning.

Mrs. Wagner: Yes.

Minuchin: So, Mark, when did you become married? Mr. Wagner: About a year ago (laughs).

Minuchin: Okay, let's follow this. You know, I just want to tell you that what you are saying is very common, you know. I would say that probably beats the laws of chance. You know, it is specific for each couple. But all couples go through things like that. And some never, never become married, you see. So the process from the rite du pas­sage that you had with the justice of the peace, or whatever it is, to the point of being married can really go for a very, very long time. Some people divorce without ever really having been married. Mrs. Wagner: Oh, we thought about that, too, I mean-Mr. Wagner: I realized that, even then, that something had to change, but then I tried to rationalize, "Well, what's the problem?" (Laughs.) "Okay. We'll go to the source—what are the sources of the problem?" Well, obviously, an adjustment is necessary on both parts. For me, it's a very simple adjustment, because it's for all intents and purposes very little different. No change whatsoever. In her case, I knew it was a radical change. You see this was where I was wrong. You see, I was too much in my own rut at my own speed. I had to keep on just as I was, really plugging away. The barrier was there and

Families and Family Therapy

I really didn't try to break it down; I would try to make the attempt, nothing happened, I would go back to my own way, saying that sooner or later I was going to iron myself out, or when the situation changes, I'm going to iron myself out—when we move away—when I'm out of school, etc. And it did, but I don't think it did for that particular reason. I think it did because I matured myself and re­alized that there was a lot more giving involved than I had done.

The task of establishing the Wagner family took a rather long time, partly because the couple was embedded in social situations that handicapped the formation of a viable spouse unit. First they lived with Emily's parents. Emily had been part of a dysfunctional trans­actional pattern in her parents' marriage. When she married, they were unable to relinquish her, and they even drew her husband into their accustomed pattern. Mark and Emily were unable to support each other in strengthening the boundary between themselves and her parents. When they moved away, Mark's needs as a student and as a partial breadwinner engaged him, leaving him with little capacity for significant emotional involvement with his wife. Patterns of mutual support were overwhelmed by dysfunctional patterns.

Minuchin: Let's think what happened at this point. You know, at this point something major happened. When was Tommy born?

Mrs. Wagner: After we went to Kansas.

Minuchin: Now what happened?

Mrs. Wagner: It didn't get any better. It got worse.

Minuchin: Okay, how? Now you had Tommy.

Mrs. Wagner: Right, so I didn't need Mark. I just shut him out com­pletely, you know.

Minuchin: You became a mother.

Mrs. Wagner: Right.

Minuchin: What happened to you?

Mr. Wagner: I didn't change enough, probably. I did change some­what, but again, I was behind my little wall. Minuchin: Was Tommy significant for you? Mr. Wagner: Oh, yes.

Mrs. Wagner: We had a very close—when—at the time of his birth it was very close; I mean, well, he stayed with me through the labor.

Minuchin: Did you, did you have natural child birth?

Mr. Wagner: Not really, I wasn't with her through the delivery. I was with her through labor and up to delivery.

A Family in Formation

Minuchin: Now, she had Tommy and she did not need you, so what happened to you?

Mrs. Wagner: Nothing. He kept studying.

Mr. Wagner: Nothing really changed. In a sense, to me—

Mrs. Wagner: He went to classes the same night that his son was born in the morning. He was in classes though he hadn't been in bed all night.

Minuchin: Oh. So what happened? You see, now something new had happened. She had a child of her own. She was a mother. And you could be a father or you could not be, you know? You had an alter­native.

When a child is born, new functions must appear. The functioning of the spouse unit must be modified to meet the demands of parenting. In general, the system must make the complex changes required to shift from a system of two to a system of three.

Usually the woman's commitment to a unit of three, including a deeper commitment to the marriage, begins with pregnancy. The child is a reality for her much earlier than for the man. He begins to feel like a father only at the birth, and sometimes even later than that. The man may remain uncommitted while the woman is already adapting to a new level of family formation.

Mrs. Wagner: He's always been a father.

Mr. Wagner: I don't really know what to say. I can't think now—and I can't say that I changed, you know, radically, or a major change. Of course, I was delighted to have a son. As she says, perhaps the relation­ship between Emily and me had not improved any. It might even have gotten worse.

Minuchin: Why?

Mr. Wagner: Nevertheless we did have one bond, and we both loved our child. I guess I would have to say that in a conventional way I was delighted and I was excited and it added something to the family.

Minuchin: But she was—she changed in relationship to you.

Mr. Wagner: She had said that after the birth of the baby, Tommy, things got worse. Now this is something—I realize that there was con­tinuous strife there and unhappy feelings, but I didn't realize that at any certain point it got—it had deteriorated or had become greater or less so. That's why I am curious to see what you'll say.

Mrs. Wagner: I would say it was worse. (Mark laughs.)

Minuchin: Now, why was it worse? Really, at this point, you had a

Families and Family Therapy

child; you became a mother. How was it? I could understand how it was worse for him; how did it become worse for you?

Mrs. Wagner: He didn't change. He might have needed me, but he never showed that he needed me. He never once said, "I need you," you know. He never once said, "This is great," you know, "being a family," and everything. Ummm. I can't think of my train of thought.

Minuchin: Did you—did you—change towards him, then? When you had Tommy? Did you become—certainly you must have become less available to him.

Mrs. Wagner: Oh, right. I mean. I don't think I changed any. I think I might have—yeah, I think I got progressively worse as far as my attitude toward him was. I felt like, you've got me in this rut and now I'm stuck.

Minuchin: You in effect were stuck and he was unstuck. He could move out; you couldn't. Did you tell him that?

Mrs. Wagner: I told him to go a lot of times; but he didn't want to leave.

Minuchin: At this point, you didn't want him.

Mrs. Wagner: Oh, I felt I—well, let's see—I had had it. But we had our ups and downs, I think. We'd get along horribly for three weeks and then get along all right for one week. This was great, you know, this was the way it was supposed to be like, and then we would go back to the same vicious cycle. But I must point out that in the whole time that we did get along, I mean everybody has their ups and downs, even now, but we never once had an argument over anything of any value, or importance; it was over like who would take out the rubbish; it was never over anything that had anything major to do with our lives.

Minuchin: Who took out the rubbish?

Mrs. Wagner: I'd say, "Mark, take out the rubbish." We had rats, you know. Minuchin: And?

Mrs. Wagner: "I'll do it when I get around to it."

Mr. Wagner: "Yes, and I'll do it on my own time" (laughs).

Mrs. Wagner: In the meantime, it would overflow, and then we would have a big fight, you know. The rubbish was overflowing, just little things like that. It was never over anything important.

Minuchin: You could not accept that that was just a question of the rubbish. You were making it a question of—authority.

Mrs. Wagner: That's right.

Mr. Wagner: I am willing to do what you ask me to do, provided that you don't expect me to do it, you know, as you want me to do it—

A Family in Formation

Mrs. Wagner: Or on time.

Minuchin: How did the rubbish get transported— Mr. Wagner: It was just a little thing, and all these things she men­tioned were little things—ah— Minuchin: Life is made up of little things.

Mr. Wagner: That was just my way of showing resistance or—what? Minuchin: I think that you were saying all the time, "I am single." You know? Mrs. Wagner: He could have been.

Minuchin: You were saying to him, "You are married. Take out the garbage. That's a married function" (laughs). He was saying, "I am single."

Mrs. Wagner: He was not helpful. I mean, he never changed a diaper until Tommy was six months old—and that started right from the be­ginning. I said, "Mark, you've got to learn how to change the diaper— what if I get sick or something's going to happen. You're going to have to change a diaper." Well, I couldn't go out of the house unless I took the baby with me because the baby might disturb him when he was studying. And so—right there—that brings up a conflict-Child rearing offers many opportunities for individual growth and for strengthening the family system. At the same time, it is a field in which many fierce battles are fought. Often, unresolved conflicts of the spouses are brought piggyback into the area of child rearing because the couple cannot separate parenting functions from spouse functions.

Minuchin: Let me go out on a limb. I bet Mark's mother is a very efficient person, who did a lot of things for him.

Mr. Wagner: Yes. Yes, in that sense she is. She perhaps is not an effi­cient housekeeper. Minuchin: I am talking about the other things. Mr. Wagner: Right. She was the person you went to to get-Mrs. Wagner: She did things for you.

Mr. Wagner: If you had a decision that you were having a problem resolving, she was the person that would help you resolve it. Generally speaking, her way was generally right, or appeared to be.

Minuchin: You know—what I am talking about is what kind of expec­tations did you have of Emily.

Mr. Wagner: Okay. Whereas my mother was always there with what­ever we needed-Mrs. Wagner: I must say, he never—he never told me what he ex­

Families and Family Therapy

pected of me as a wife. I told him. I used to say what I expected of him as a husband, but he never said, "I expect this of you as a wife." We never sat down and said what we expected of each other, which was wrong right from the start, you know. We never even sat—we just—you know—we just went into this marriage, "Hey, this is going to be fun," you know. We never knew what to expect from one another.

Mr. Wagner: Probably, I had tried to change her and she just said, "Forget it."

Mrs. Wagner: Yeah, he expected certain things of me, like, oh, I'll start out like, when we were dating. I wasn't supposed to smoke in public and I wasn't supposed to bleach my hair and I wasn't supposed to do that—

Minuchin: Is your hair bleached?

Mrs. Wagner: Now it is.

Minuchin: But that means that there has been accommodation. Mrs. Wagner: An example—we were—we were in Kansas, oh maybe a month, and we were able to live in the College Courts and all the girls had frosted their hair. This was just one small example, so I said, "I'm going to frost my hair," and he said, "All right, you frost your hair, I'm going to get a Yul Brynner." It was just the point, you know; I was defying his wishes and he was going to fight me with—and I said, "You're not fighting with me; you're just going to have to fight with yourself because you're the one that is going to look ridiculous." Something like that would start a battle for five months, you know. I went against his wishes.

Minuchin: You know, this what you are describing is so familiar. It happened to me and it happened to all our people around us. So what happened then? Tommy was growing up, and now you had three people instead of two. Now, you had a model that you learned from your home: that Papa and Mama fight through me. That you de­scribed as the model in your home. Mrs. Wagner: But I never realized that until you just said it. Minuchin: Okay, but let's—let's bring it now to Tommy and see if this model-Mrs. Wagner: I'd say we did. Definitely, oh, definitely we used Tommy to fight. I would get mad at Mark and lock him out, and he would stand out there and pound on the door, and I would take Tommy to the window and—this was awful—point to him—and say, "See, Tommy, see the funny man," and we'd stand there and make faces at him.

A Family in Formation

Mr. Wagner: Yeah (laughs).

Mrs. Wagner: He'd be standing there, dying, ready to kill both—kill me because I was instigating that little baby, you know—

Minuchin: You transferred a family model that you learned at your home into your marriage.

Mrs. Wagner: I think I did at first, yes.

Minuchin: How did you break that, because that's a very pernicious kind of thing. How did you break it?

Mr. Wagner: Ah. If you say, really a changing point, we reached a crisis, or critical period when I had said to her, uhhh, "We either see a marriage counselor or you may as well forget the whole thing. I think it would be ridiculous to forget it until we find out at least what our problems are, and if we can't communicate, perhaps a person can help us to communicate. Maybe it isn't as serious as we think it is; perhaps just a lot of little things have built up." So we did see a marriage coun­selor, about a year ago.

Minuchin: Okay. Now then, you said that the critical point was when, when you left Kansas?

Mrs. Wagner: Ummm hmmm. It was about four or five months after we—

Minuchin: After you came here. Well, but you see a number of changes occurred now. You were not a student any more. This is the first time that you really didn't have a road you could traverse un­disturbed. So what happened to you?

Mr. Wagner: Here I am moving into a new position; we've moved locations entirely; it's an entirely different type of life. I, in the back of my mind, rationalized that when we got out of there—got out of this situation—things would improve. But they didn't improve. If anything, they probably became worse.

Minuchin: In what way?

Mr. Wagner: As far as I was concerned, you see, they became worse, because I couldn't control them, the way I could—I felt that I could— in this other atmosphere—this small college—I—

Minuchin: How did you support your family when you were in Kansas?

Mr. Wagner: I had a summer job, so I didn't see her in the summer, either. Even when we—were married.

Minuchin: Did that—that kept you financially?

Mr. Wagner: For the most part. I borrowed money; I worked at school, and did this during the summer.

Families and Family Therapy

Minuchin: Did your parents help you or you—?

Mrs. Wagner: My parents did. And his parents did, too.

Minuchin: So, your families are still very much in the picture. Some­times, you know, that makes for difficulties in defining the new marriage.

Mr. Wagner: I would say that they were very much beneficial, though. They gave us something to fall back on.

Minuchin: I am saying that it creates another dimension. What happened when you came here? What did you think you were going to do?

Mr. Wagner: I—well, I had envisioned that once I was working full time—

Minuchin: In what? You graduated—

Mr. Wagner: I graduated with a double major in business and biology.

Minuchin: So you came here. What are you doing?

Mr. Wagner: Working as an office manager in town.

Minuchin: Is that what you trained for?

Mr. Wagner: Yes, generally speaking.

Mrs. Wagner: No.

Minuchin: You said "no" and he said "yes."

Mr. Wagner: Yes, in a general way. Yeah.

Mrs. Wagner: I wouldn't say that he is happiest in it.

Mr. Wagner: Well, number one, my greatest interest is in biology, but it isn't practical for me to make a living at it, because I have no desire to teach, to do research, and I can't afford to go to medical school, so—this is why I picked up the business major in my junior year, realizing that biology would have to be more of an avocation, and picked up business, which was a second choice.

Minuchin: So, now you are working and you are supporting your family. You are supporting your family totally?

Mr. Wagner: No.

Mrs. Wagner: I'm working, too.

Mr. Wagner: She just started to work a short time ago. It's not abso­lutely necessary, but—

Mrs. Wagner: It was by choice; it was my own decision.

Minuchin: So that means this is a big change in your life. Now you are not any more a student, and groups are not any more organized for you.

Mr. Wagner: Not only that, but when I leave work, that's the end of work; I go home; I don't have any studying to do, or anything else, so

A Family in Formation

I channel that towards the family. If I—if there's no satisfaction in this, I realize I better do something about it, because this is my life, you see, whereas before I could shut it out. Here I have no outlet. Either I live with it, or I do something about it.

Minuchin: So, it seems as if this is the first time in which you really make a commitment.

Mr. Wagner: Ummm hummm. In a sense—

Minuchin: Now you are stuck also.

The changed circumstances of the Wagners' lives are paralleled by changes in the family. Mark is no longer a student. He has moved to a more independent position in the outside world, where he now has autonomy and responsibility. Now there is a clearer demarcation between the family and the extrafamilial. When he comes home, he is home. He no longer brings the extrafamilial tasks home with him.

Complementary changes have occurred for Emily. She has now taken a job, which is giving her a sense of effectiveness, or compe­tence, in the outside world. Less time is devoted to the family, but this makes the time she does spend on being a wife and mother more satisfactory.

Minuchin: You see, up to now, Emily, you were stuck, and he was a student. So you (to husband) come here and you make a commitment to the family. And at this point it stinks.

Mr. Wagner: Ummm hummm.

Minuchin: Okay, so then it is that you decide to see-Mr. Wagner: Yeah, I decided that we had to see a marriage coun­selor. We did. As it turned out, we only had to see him four times be­fore we both changed radically. And since then we have been getting along very well. Mrs. Wagner: We still have—you know, arguments-Mr. Wagner: Oh yes, but still it's not a continuing thing— Minuchin: You are lucky. Some marriage counselors get hooked into families, and they don't let them go.

Mrs. Wagner: When we went in, I said, "If this can't be saved, we might as well contemplate—" I met this guy—we enjoyed him, you know. He was great. He said, "You basically have a good marriage, if you would both just shut up and start listening to each other and stop working against each other," and— Minuchin: And just that helped you?

Families and Family Therapy

Mr. Wagner: No, it wasn't really that. It was the atmosphere and the fact that he was intelligent enough so that he knew when we weren't telling the truth.

Mrs. Wagner: I didn't tell the truth for about three sessions (laughs). Mr. Wagner: If you didn't tell the truth, well, you looked pretty silly.

Mrs. Wagner: I just sat there, ummm hummm, and he said, "That's not what I want to hear," you know—anything that was bothering me, I kept inside myself and, you know, it was none of anybody's busi­ness. And he'd sit there, "Emily, you're not telling me the truth," you know, and he'd really make me dig at my own thoughts and stop and think before I said something.

Minuchin: And what did he do to you?

Mr. Wagner: Well, maybe he realized that I wasn't being entirely truthful with myself, number one. And also, it was the first real op­portunity that I had had to listen to what she really was saying.

Minuchin: You know, I would disagree. I think you were truthful to yourself; I think you were not truthful to your marriage. You were, you know, doing your own thing.

If at this point in their marital relationship the focus of exploration had been the individual realities of Mark and Emily instead of the reality of their complementarity, it is possible that the marriage would have broken up.

Mr. Wagner: Ummm hummm, but I didn't—there were a lot of things that I was overlooking as faults within myself, that I perhaps couldn't see subjectively, but objectively—

Mrs. Wagner: I was carrying all this guilt that he was fair and it was all my fault. You know? I had failed and that was it. We've got to call it quits and get it over and done with, and the sooner the better.

Minuchin: And he helped you to work it out.

Mrs. Wagner: Ummm hummm.

Mr. Wagner: Ummm hummm.

Minuchin: Okay, let's stop it here. Are there any questions from the audience?

Question: I had a question about the kinds of things that you were interested in asking these people, the kinds of things you would dis­cuss in this kind of interview, as opposed to a therapy interview, when somebody comes who is hurting about something.

A Family in Formation

Minuchin: Our colleague was asking before, in private, if there were certain things about this interview that were not stressful enough. I was not picking at areas of stress. I told him that I thought that you were a normal family, and that means that you were as mixed up as he was, like many other families. You went through the routes that many of us traverse. What you went through, it seems to me, is the tremen­dous amount of difficulties that people have in forming a family. They come from different cultures with different ideas, and they meet, strangers. They need to create boundaries around themselves, and they struggle. And they struggle and they blunder and they have bloody noses, right? All of us have. And you know, some marriages survive, and some don't. But we all go through that, in different ways.

Question: I'm not clear on why there were only four meetings with the marriage counselor, and how it was decided to stop.

Mr. Wagner: You might say that he broke the shell; he broke down the barrier, and then we were able to communicate ourselves, and since we had communicated so candidly during our counseling, you see, there was nothing held back or anything, and we both realized that we both made mistakes.

Question: I gather there was a point in your life in particular when you were ready to offer something—

Mr. Wagner: Where previously I wasn't.

Question: Yeah—you were able to negotiate—

Mr. Wagner: Probably as much timing as anything else.

Question: I have a couple of questions to ask. During the time at first when all that was going on, did you ever leave him?

Mrs. Wagner: Yes. We went on a camping trip, which was a terrible experience. He was taking a field biology course in the middle of the woods, and I was there maybe three weeks, and I was miserable: he was gone all day, and there were no neighbors—I was nine miles from town in the middle of the woods, with nobody around me. It was just terrible to begin with, and nobody but Tommy, and he had classes at night; it was like a lab workshop, really, and he had classes at night, and one day, I just called up home and said, "Please send me the money; I can't stand this," and I went home, and I was only going to stay for a week—I stayed two weeks, and then I came back and we went back to Kansas for a visit and I brought Tommy back with me just so I would have company, you know.

Question: Were you pretty afraid when you left him?

Mrs. Wagner: When I got home, I was very homesick for him. I was

Families and Family Therapy

afraid, but when I got back, I thought maybe we'll get along good, and I think we did for the first day, and the next day we went right back into our old routine. I felt like it wasn't worth coming back.

Question: I suspect that even when people put up walls, they still communicate in other ways if they keep contact. And I think that this is part of it, you know, really, the sense that comes through today, of your being very much in contact. You do check with each other about a lot of things, as you talk. You may interrupt each other, and you interrupt him more than he does you—

Mrs. Wagner: Oh, definitely—

Question: And so forth, but there's an awful lot of communication that's going on in the way that you look at each other and check with each other about certain things, using your bodies and your eyes, etc., which I think goes on in families, which is a way of communication that we don't usually underscore as we talk about it. That kind of caring may well be there, while you may be mad as hell about the garbage and mad as hell about the rules, there are other things that are going on, and I suspect that these are the things that are both dem­onstrated in relation to Tommy, and are demonstrated in relation to each other. There isn't a malevolence of anger, the anger really is not any kind of—while it's painful, I didn't catch it as being "out to kill."

Mr. Wagner: It was more—more spurious.

Mrs. Wagner: No, it was more to hurt, more than anything. When I came home when I left, I wasn't mad at him; I was sick, and I just got miserable; I was more lonely than anything, because he wasn't there, or anything. I mean, my mother's phone bill during those two weeks was $40, just for two weeks. We were continuously calling back and forth, you know. It was just that we went back to the same old pat­tern. It was an unhealthy atmosphere when I left, and I came back to the same atmosphere. Neither of us had changed during those two weeks.

Question: You were mentioning the things that you couldn't rely on

each other for, like garbage, and I am wondering what you now, each

of you, mainly relies on the other for. Minuchin: What are the ways in which you support each other? Mrs. Wagner: Now? I think that—as far as husbands go, I couldn't

have a better husband, better provider; he's very helpful; there isn't

anything he won't do for me, as far as efficiency-Mr. Wagner: This was something that we had to work out between

the two of us—ah—

A Family in Formation

Mrs. Wagner: He never would do anything before on his own, but now I can't stop him. He helps me—he's at it constantly. Of course, I think it came when he got more adjusted to marriage; once he was happy, he took enjoyment in making our home nice and everything else, you know.

Mr. Wagner: See, I never had to do these things in college, because you always did them for me, so I didn't do it anyway. I just said, "I'll do it later." Then there was a very good chance you would do it.

The change in the husband's behavior is accompanied by a com­plementary change in the wife's interaction with him. Or is it the other way around?

Question: There is another thing that is striking and very appealing about this, which Dr. Minuchin pointed out at one point, and it is that, Mrs. Wagner's reaction is like an affective barometer, and usually Mr. Wagner balances this by a very logical interpretation. So there is a kind of vitality that Mrs. Wagner can lend to a logical interpretation, and by the same token, there's a lot of toning down. That's when it works well, but we have seen a lot of people who have the same sepa­ration of roles, with one being the one who does the thinking out process, the other does the feeling; they don't seem to work as a team about it ... So there's another quality. Given that other quality, these two work beautifully, as you have pointed out. It doesn't seem quite as fragmented as I am describing, because I think, they both do everything; in a way, there's more overlap possibly than we think.

Minuchin: Well, for a number of years it did not work. I think that probably one of the things that happened was Mark's lack of commit­ment to being married, huh? That you kept longer being a single person than she did.

Mr. Wagner: Oh, much longer—that's true. To her I was a know-it-all you see, and when she'd call me a know-it-all, it just went against my nature. I won't even begin to discuss anything. I mean that would end it; that's why we never could get anywhere. I'd say something or suggest something and probably be a little overbearing about it, and she would say, "Well, you're a know-it-all, anyway," and that was the end of it. I had to learn to take a few punches and roll a little bit, and to give in. You'll notice someone commented that she inter­rupted me more than I interrupted her. Ah—this is just about the opposite of the way it would have been a year or two ago.

Families and Family Therapy

Mrs. Wagner: Actually, if we have a normal conversation, Mark will monopolize. I was—I have to interrupt him, usually, in order to get anything in. When he gets going, I really can't get anything in. He still, in that sense, is in his own world. You say something—even that you have the same interest in it as him, but no, you can't get a word in.

Question: I was wondering what, that went on today, had meaning to you two, a different kind of meaning?

Mr. Wagner: Quite a few things. He pointed out something that per­haps isn't really, wouldn't appear to be important. He noticed that in this relationship, I tend to understate. She tends to go in the other direction, and I never really was aware of it, not consciously, at least, that this was the case. I always qualify what she says.

Mrs. Wagner: Protecting me against myself.

Mr. Wagner: I feel that sometimes she puts her foot in her mouth. Mrs. Wagner: I do.

Mr. Wagner: She goes too far, you see. She just makes a blatant gen­eralization, boom—I come back and say, "Well, yeah, but—" It's my nature to do this, good or bad.

Question: What was the dramatic change as you became committed?

Mr. Wagner: Oh, I don't think it was that dramatic a change—I think, below the surface, it wasn't that bad a relationship. It was just these little things, the stubbornness—these certain things that are always going to be incongruous, always tight against each other on the sur­face, and this blocked a lot of communication that could have been— but we still had understanding. As you say, it was a different sort of communication.

Mrs. Wagner: We still have days when we hate each other, and it's only normal.

Mr. Wagner: In relation to Tommy, there hasn't been any real change there, I mean, as a go-between that might exist in our marriage. There has been some change as far as our give and take relative to views on child raising, but that was just a result of the general abilities to give and take that we have acquired at this time, and a lot of things have resulted from that.

Question: Can you tell us about those things?

Mr. Wagner: Specifically, I'm perhaps more lax about this in raising Tommy. When a child says "no" to me, I don't shudder. I try to make him understand that, you know, you don't say "no." Her manner of handling is a little different: if you say "no," well, zap, you get it. You don't say "no" to her. There's a little difference of opinion there.

A Family in Formation

I think probably, though, that her way is as right as mine, but as long as he buys it, then she accepts my way of doing it, and I accept her way of doing. Previously, this was a source of argument; there was no give and take—it was either one way or the other. Now, it's sort of a compromise, between the two. We've adopted each other's methods, at least more so than previously. That's about as much as I can say. Another way of putting it—when two people decide to make a change, it's a bit different when one does and one doesn't. We made an agree­ment for change. I think she was waiting for a change long before I ever decided that I would effect a change; she was anticipating this change, was waiting for it, in a sense, so that when I decided there would be a change, and applied myself to it, it was easy for her to fol­low through. If you see what I mean, she had herself geared that way.

A Family Model

Man survives in groups; this is inherent in the human condition. An infant's most basic need is for a mother figure to feed, protect, and teach him. Beyond that, man has survived in all societies by belonging to social aggregates. In different cultures these aggregates vary in their level of organization and differentiation. Primitive societies rely on large groupings with a stable distribution of functions. As societies grow more complex and new skills are required, societal structures are differentiated. Modern urban industrial civilization makes two conflicting demands on man: the ability to develop highly specialized skills, and the capacity for rapid adaptation to a constantly changing socioeconomic scene. The family has always undergone changes that parallel society's changes. It has taken over or given up the functions of protecting and socializing its members in response to the culture's needs. In this sense, family functions serve two different ends. One is internal—the psychosocial protection of its members; the other is external—the accommodation to a culture and the transmission of that culture.

Urban industrial society has intruded forcefully on the family, taking over many functions that were once considered the family's duties. The old now live apart, in old people's homes or in housing developments for senior citizens. Economic support is provided by society through social security or welfare. The young are educated by schools, mass media, and peers. The value of what used to be women's
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