The Six Key Tenets
The six key tenets of the suffocation model are constructed from the framework of the three primary properties proposed by Maslow’s theory of human motivation. The first property indicates that humans seek to fulfill a hierarchy of needs such that lower needs, like eating and having a sense of safety, possess a greater motivational priority over higher needs, such as achieving mastery or the ability to experience personal growth. The second property specifies that relative to success in the pursuit of lower needs, the successful pursuit of one’s higher needs is plausible to necessitate self-insight. The development of this self-insight often requires significant cognitive and psychological effort over a sustained period of time. Lastly, the third property depicts that once one fulfills these higher needs, they are likely to achieve high levels of happiness, serenity, and richness in life.
When looking at these tenets, it is evident that these three properties were in mind during their creation. Tenet one states that one of the primary ways that Americans seek fulfillment of their needs is through the means of marriage. This goal of seeking marriage as a way to reach fulfillments increases while their access to non-spousal significant others decreases. Tenet two indicates that the use of marriage for lower needs fulfillment has decreased overtime, in that marriage is no longer seen as a way to achieve financial stability. Instead, there has been an increase in the view that marriage can assist an individual in the successful fulfillment of their higher needs. This need for marriage to assist in the success of higher needs fulfillments, such as self-insight, requires each spousal partner to have substantial insight into one another, as stated in tenet three.
The ability for each partner to have sufficient insight into each other requires extensive communication and responsiveness over a continuous period of time. However, tenet four emphasizes that as there has been an increased need for marriage to fulfill higher needs, there has been a reduced investment of time and psychological resources available within marriage on average. This can be due to an increased emphasis on work success and time spent performing work duties at work as well as at home. This resource imbalance then leads to tenant five. As there is an insufficient investment to meet the emphasis on higher needs, martial quality and personal well-being is undermined. It is to be noted, however, that those who manage to invest ample resources into marriage experience very strong martial quality and high well-being.
Lastly, tenant six acknowledges that couples experiencing poor marital quality and lower well-being have three options for reversing consequences. The first suggestion is to optimize available resources for their significant other. The second being to simply increase their psychological resources and time investment into their marriage, and lastly, one must ask less of marriage in terms of promoting higher needs.