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The Dialogue of Marriage
Journal of Family Theory & Review (2010)
  • Leslie M. Baxter, University of Iowa
This article, framed in relational dialectics theory, argues for dialogic creativity as an alternative to extant companionate and institutional conceptualizations of marital quality. Dialogic creativity—dialogue—forecloses monologic calcification of meaning in marriage, including the evaluative judgment of what constitutes marital quality, through the ongoing interplay of competing discourses. Four potential discursive sites are discussed through the Bakhtinian concept of the utterance chain as a way to frame the kinds of discursive struggles that are prevalent in marriage; two of these discursive sites capture struggles among sociocultural discourses, and two capture struggles among idiosyncratic systems of meaning that reflect the unique history of a given marriage and the unique pattern of similarities and differences between partners in a given marriage. Dialogic creativity is enacted communicatively through three forms of dialogic expansion: diachronic separation, synchronic interplay, and hybrid and aesthetic-moment enactments. The three kinds of communicative practices are contrasted with dialogically contractive monologue, in which a single monolithic discourse silences all competing discourses in the struggle of meaning
  • dialogic creativity;marital communication;marital quality;relational dialectics theory
Publication Date
December, 2010
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Citation Information
Leslie M. Baxter. "The Dialogue of Marriage" Journal of Family Theory & Review Vol. 2 Iss. 4 (2010)
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