The Evolution of Marriage—and Divorce with Stephanie Coontz
Over the last 40 years, marriage has evolved from an institution based on strict gender roles and specialization to a connection based on friendship and shared interests. Our expectations of marriage have shifted as well, the standards for intimacy rising along with the need to negotiate shared responsibilities. So, how can couples best navigate these new rules? And how does this transition impact societal attitudes toward divorce?
Stephanie Coontz is an author and educator in the field of marriage and gender relationships. She teaches history and family studies at The Evergreen State College and serves as Director of the Council on Contemporary Families (CCF). Stephanie has written seven books and published dozens of articles in scholarly journals and popular media, including The New York Times and the Journal of Marriage and Family, among many other publications. She has been honored with The Families & Work Institute’s Work-Life Legacy Award and CCF’s Visionary Leadership Award.
Today, Stephanie joins Katherine to discuss how marriage has evolved over time, explaining the shift from strict gender roles to a bond based on friendship. She describes how couples who share responsibilities of breadwinning, childcare and housework report higher levels of satisfaction and addresses the ways in which old attitudes undermine modern marriages. Stephanie also speaks to the importance of negotiation, gratitude and respect for each other’s bids for connection. Listen in to understand how the feminist movement disrupted the institution of marriage and learn how our rising standards have changed the factors that make a marriage last.
How marriage has evolved from specialization to sharing
The way old attitudes undermine modern marriages
How sharing responsibilities leads to higher satisfaction
How to consider what’s attracting you to your partner
The role of bids for connection as a predictor of stability
Why modern marriage requires much more negotiation
How the feminist movement served as a disruptor
How our expectations for intimacy have shifted
The destructive nature of holding onto traditional views
The idea of gatekeeping in household/childcare duties
Why the way we fight with our partners is important
Stephanie’s insight around the economy of gratitude
Why attitudes toward divorce do NOT predict behavior
CONNECT WITH STEPHANIE COONTZ
Council on Contemporary Families
Philip & Carolyn Cowan’s Research
CONNECT WITH KATHERINE MILLER
The Center for Understanding Conflict
The New Yorker’s Guide to Collaborative Divorce by Katherine Miller
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