Dr. Coontz The Way We Never Were Summary

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Dr. Coontz discussed the many myths and realities of marriage, as well as the ways marriage has changed over time in her lecture “The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap.” She touched on topics such as: single parent families, step families, divorce, the stability of marriage, as well as the separate spheres for men and women.
Dr. Coontz brought up many interesting facts about the history of marriage. She stated that contrary to popular belief, single-parent homes were the norm in the early 1900’s up until the 1950’s. This was due to the high rates of death as a result of war. The high number of single parent families lead to the other most popular norm throughout history, stepparent families. The differences between
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Marriage used to be about making husband and wife one, with that one being the husband, as Dr. Coontz stated. This means that the husband controlled everything; the finances, property, decisions, and even had the legal right to constrain and beat his wife until
1864.
Contrastingly, today marriage is about love and relationships, which was a rare thing to find in history. Men and women both have options to leave a marriage if they are not happy, or even choose to not marry someone if they don’t want to. Dr. Coontz argues that strengthening the quality of marriages has weakened the institution of marriage. For thousands of years, marriage was not about love or relationships, it was a way of making connections and turning strangers into relatives. In other words, marriage was invented to get in-laws. It was said that the strongest way to get a good relationship between two groups of people was to have a child connected to both groups, and thus marriage was born. This is

no longer the reason people get married, today people get married for love and commitment, and most don’t really want their in-laws involved in their marriage.
Then, about 200 years ago, people started spreading the idea that perhaps you should
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With no possible way of forcing people into the lifelong, universal commitment that was early marriage, we must accept the fact that marriage as it was previously defined, has changed. We can no longer ignore children out of wedlock, or children that resulted from adultery, or expect the husband to be the sole provider or the wife the stay at home mom. Another huge change that occurred is the societal norm of sex outside of marriage, meaning, marriage isn’t the only place people can be sexually active. Moreover, with the gap between age of puberty and age of marriage larger than it ever has been before, it is seen that many teens and young adults are choosing to wait before getting married young.
With these changes here to stay, the only thing we can do is further build on the gains we have accomplished. The goal is to minimize losses, meet challenges, and increase positive outcomes. Recent studies have found substantial evidence that dual earner families don’t have to be stressful, as women who have access to quality child care and are able to work have less likelihood of depression. Furthermore, quality child care leads to more peer socialization for children and an increased social intelligence. Additionally, men who

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