chapter  14
15 Pages

To have and to hold?

The relationality of emotions and couples’ relationships in twenty-first-century Britain
WithJanet Fink, Jacqui Gabb

This chapter argues that the relationality of emotions provides an important analytical lens for extending understandings of marriage and coupledom in twenty-first-century Britain. It sets out how couple relationships are sustained by the emotion work regularly undertaken by partners; why coupledom should be acknowledged as more than a simple dyadic relationship; and how the emotional histories of remarried couples can be used productively to forge new practices of relating. With rich examples from couples’ personal testimonies, the chapter provides a vivid account of the nexus of emotions that ‘hold’ partners, their relationship and their wider social world together.