In fact, the great majority of persons who get divorced find a new partner and remarry. Both are seen by American as places where the human spirit can find refuge from the highly competitive world outside and renewed resources to continue the effort. By contrast, the family is basically a non-competitive, co-operative institution. More wives were now able to support themselves, if necessary, and therefore were less likely to accept the traditional idea that wives were servants who must obey their husbands. The wife was freer to disagree with her husband and to insist that her views be taken into account in family decisions. He is, therefore, the senior partner and she is the junior partner of the family enterprise. The needs and desires of each member are given a great deal of attention and importance. The husband is no longer the main provider of family income, and the wife no longer has the main responsibilities for household duties and raising children.
Her power to affect the outcome of family decisions is greater than when her duties were entirely in the home. In the United States today most marriages are either the husband-head or the husband-senior partner type, but the latter is becoming more typical as more and more wives take jobs outside the home. He is, therefore, the senior partner and she is the junior partner of the family enterprise. Although both husbands and wives had family duties, the wife had no power in family matters other than that which her husband allowed her. The husband could no longer make family decisions alone and demand that the wife follow them. In fact, the great majority of persons who get divorced find a new partner and remarry. The long-standing division of labor between husband and wife comes to an end. Most American families simply cannot make ends meet on just one income. American families are less stable and lasting than those of most cultures. Role of the Family in Society The American ideal of equality has affected not only marriage but all forms of relationships between men and women. This is due partly to the desire of American women for greater economic opportunity, but the main reason seems to be that in the last ten years it has become increasingly difficult for families to maintain their standard of living in the face of rising inflation and declining abundance. A recent survey showed that 78 percent of Americans felt that the family was the most meaningful part of life and 92 percent said it was a very important personal value to them. Of all the home remedies, a good wife is best. The husband is no longer the main provider of family income, and the wife no longer has the main responsibilities for household duties and raising children. Even though the great majority of wives chose not to work outside the home, the fact that they might do so increased their power in the marriage. Families can be viewed as similar to churches in this regard. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries opportunities for women to work outside the household increased. If, for example, the husband is asked to move to advance his career, she will give up her job and seek another in a new location. Americans, they say, look upon the family as a necessary refuge from the competitive world outside. The wife was freer to disagree with her husband and to insist that her views be taken into account in family decisions. When married women take this step, according to Scanzoni, their power relative to that of their husbands increases still further. Since the late s a growing number of women have expressed a strong dissatisfaction with any marriage arrangement wherein the husband and his career are the primary considerations in the marriage. By contrast, the family is basically a non-competitive, co-operative institution. During the nineteenth century American wives were expected to be completely obedient to their husbands. Her possessions and any of her earnings belonged to her husband.
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