Date of this Version
Southern Communication Journal 67:2 (Winter 2002), pp. 94–109.
This interpretive study examined how the marriage renewal ritual reflects the social construction of marriage in the United States. Two culturally prominent ideologies of marriage were interwoven in our interviews of 25 married persons who had renewed their marriage vows: (a) a dominant ideology of community and (b) a more muted ideology of individualism. The ideology of community was evidenced by a construction of marriage featuring themes of public accountability, social embeddedness, and permanence. By contrast, the ideology of individualism constructed marriage around themes of love, choice, and individual growth.