This couple has a healthy and happy marriage. It has not been without conflict, but it is still a successful relationship. According to the model, Martha and Robert have gone through various stages in their relationship. Due to the time period, they probably rushed through these stages much faster than they normally would have.
Marriage normally takes place during the bonding stage, which is the final stage. However, Robert was sent away during their first year of marriage. This distance caused them to have to revisit some of the earlier stages. They stayed connected through letters, which allowed them to intensify their relationship. When Robert returned, it was difficult at first. They had to learn how to live together again. The births of their two children so closely together did not allow them to spend much time together. That postponed the integrating stage until their children were grown. It was then that they began spending more time together again. Finally, when Robert retired they were able to enter the bonding stage. Although this was also difficult at first, they found a way to make it work. That they can finish each other's thoughts, and can not imagine life without the other shows that they are truly in a successful relationship.
Rudy and Bill's marriage also started out quickly. They were married after only a few meetings, and Bill was sent overseas soon after their marriage began. They probably never left the experimenting stage. It is during this stage that couples find out if they should stay together or not. Had they given this more time they probably would have decided to end the relationship. When Bill returned he was a stranger to both Rudy and their son. Rather than going through the development stages again as Robert and Martha did, they seemed to move to the termination stages. Both seemed to think in terms of "me" rather than "we." This is demonstrated when Bill said he wanted things done "his way" not hers. Rudy was unhappy and wished she could stay with her parents. Bill also began spending more time with his friends and going out after work, without Rudy. These are signs that they were differentiating.
The next stage is circumscribing, when communication between the couple diminishes. Certain topics are avoided, for example, Bill's dance partners. Bill and Rudy, though living together, lived very separate lives. Rudy's was home with her children, while Bill's was out with his friends. Eventually they even moved into separate rooms in the house. This is representative of the avoiding stage. The final stage would be termination, but this relationship never reached this stage. Rudy believed that divorce was never an option, and her unhappiness not important. Bill does not seem to see a problem with their relationship.
One theory that relates to this case study is Mary Anne Fitzpatrick's Marital Communication Theory. According to this theory, there are three types of couples in a marriage, the traditional type, independents, and separates. Couples can move among these types, but their communication styles will be reflected in their type of relationship. Robert and Martha seem to be traditional in their roles. They share a lot, and each person's role in the relationship is defined clearly. Rudy and Bill, on the other hand, are separates. They do not spend much time together, and live separate lives, even though they are still married. This is reflected in how they communicate. Neither seems to hear what the other is