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Paper #2

HDCF 150 – Lifespan Human Development

By: Marie Kaufman

Professor James Carter

Young adulthood is a challenging time in every person’s life. Young adults are trying to

find their identities and are starting to build serious relationships with others. One such type of

relationship is an intimate relationship. Many young adults have intimate, long-term, committed

relationships. Skills and information can be learned to ensure that these relationships are healthy

and desirable. There are three categories that can influence whether or not a couple will be

successful or not. These three categories are: strategies, factors, and predictors.

The first category is strategies. Strategies refer to behaviors that can be learned

throughout one’s life to ensure that a quality, long-term relationship will occur. These strategies

can be learned at home, at school, and with friends/partners.

School is a great place to teach children about healthy relationships. Some classes that

would be beneficial, especially to high school kids, are sexual education, health, and personal

finance. In sexual education, students can learn how to have a healthy sexual relationship as well

as learning about the different risks associated with having sex. Health classes are important as

well because they teach children how to live a healthy lifestyle. This ranges from healthy eating

to having good personal hygiene. Personal finance is an important subject because it teaches

individuals how to manage money, which is what couples fight about most in their relationships.

One strategy that couples can employ in their relationship is to simply start off by

building a healthy relationship with one another. There are three strategies in starting off a

healthy relationship: passion, intimacy, and commitment. Passion is evident in “falling in love,”

an intense physical, cognitive, and emotional onslaught characterized by excitement, ecstasy, and

euphoria. The entire body and mind, hormones and neurons, are activated (Aron et al., 2005).

Intimacy is knowing someone well, sharing secrets as well as sex. This phase of a relationship is

reciprocal, with each partner gradually revealing more of himself or herself as well as accepting
more of the other’s revelations (Berger, 19.2.2). One study on intimacy discovered an inverse

relationship between intimacy and condom use. This means that the more intimate partners are,

the more they will use condoms and vice versa (Damini et. Al., 761). Commitment takes time. It

grows gradually through decisions to be together, mutual care giving, shared possessions, and

forgiveness (Fincham et al., 2007). A couple should go through these three steps in order so that

they have the best chances of having a successful, long-term relationship.

The second category that influences the quality of a long-term, committed relationship is

factors. These include childhood issues such as attachment issues, emotional health, and pro-

social skills.

Attachment is a lasting emotional bond that one person has with another (Berger, 193).

Attachment behaviors are learned as a child and will determine how you form relationships as an

adult. Healthy attachment as a child will lead to healthy attachment as an adult and will

undoubtedly lead to a healthy relationship with a partner. If someone has unhealthy attachment

issues as a child, this will lead to unhealthy attachment issues in adulthood which will negatively

affect intimate relationships.

Emotional health is a major factor in intimate relationships. A person who displays a

healthy emotional state will undoubtedly have better chances of having a healthy intimate

relationship. People with emotional problems will most likely not be able to handle an emotional

relationship. If someone has emotional problems when entering the relationship, that individual

should seek help to better himself or herself so that the intimate relationship will have a greater

chance of being successful.

Pro-social behavior is described as being kind and helpful without gaining any obvious

benefit (Berger, 259). Sharing and including others in a game are examples of pro-social skills.

This is the direct inverse of antisocial behavior, which is when someone deliberately injures or
destroys something that belongs to another person (Berger, 259). Parents should reward pro-

social behavior so that the child will continue to behave in that manner which will ultimately aid

in the success of an intimate relationship. Antisocial behavior will most definitely lead to an

unsuccessful intimate relationship.

The third category concerning intimate relationships is predictors. Predictors are factors

that relate to whether a couple will split up or get a divorce. One major predictor that affects

marital happiness is how old the newlyweds were. If a couple wed as teenagers, they are likely to

be more depressed, more violent, and less educated than those who marry later (Glick et al.,

2006; Teti et al., 1987). Adults between ages 25 and 40 are more likely to be pleased with their

marriages than are adults at other ages (Lucas & Dyrenforth, 2005). The predictor of age can

have an adverse effect on the married couple. The best age to wed and be happy with your

partner, according to research, is between 25 and 40.

Having children is also a predictor in couple happiness. Young children tend to increase

marital dissatisfaction (Berger, 590). If a couple is older, they may have an easier time dealing

with young children than would a couple who has a child in their teenage years. Marriages take

work and children can increase the stress placed on a couple.

Marriages are influenced by the social and political context (Berger, 593). These outside

factors affect all couples. Divorce has become socially acceptable in American society. This

may make the couple less willing to work through their problems and simply quit their marriage.

Marriages can be a big improvement in a person’s life, though it contains many stresses.

If a couple has all three strategies of a healthy relationship (passion, intimacy, and commitment),

they have a much greater chance of having long-term, committed relationship. If the couple does

not share all three of these strategies, then their marriage will almost definitely fall apart.
There are many resources that people can use to educate themselves about healthy

relationships, whether it be in school or through their own personal research. Strategies, factors,

and predictors can be used to help make the quality of a long-term, committed relationship be the

best possible.
1) Berger, Kathleen. The Developing Person Through the Lifespan. Worth Publishing,
7th Edition.

2) Damani, R. "Emotional intimacy predicts condom use: findings in a group

at high sexually
transmitted disease risk.." Int J STD AIDS 20.11 (2009): 761-64. Web.
13 Nov 2009. <