Over the last 50 years the vast difference in the definition family has changed how we view marriage and what makes a family or marriage successful. People have adopted a wide variety of ways to call themselves a family, with and without marriage. Even with all of these changes people still desire marriage as the backbone of their family (Luscombe, 2010).
In 1949 the term “nuclear family” was used to define a family. Anthropologist Robert Murdock said that a nuclear family included a mother, a father and their family. Families generally included marriage. In these families the man’s role as a father and husband was to go to work and be the financial support to the family. The woman’s role was simply to be a wife and mother (Strong, Devault, Cohen, 2008). The television shows of the 1950’s paint a fairly clear picture of what family was like during that era.
However, the definition of family has evolved dramatically since the 1950’s. Families have grown to include close family friends, step-relatives, as well as adoptive and foster family members. Cohabitating couples, including those that are same sex, are now considered family. Single parent and gay parent families have also become acceptable. Society has seen a substantial broadening of what being a family means since the nuclear family of 1949 (Strong et al, 2008).
Marriage is typically viewed as permanent, whereas cohabitation is seen as easily reversible. Marriage is a legal commitment and requires the couple to make a continual effort to nurture, as termination is both time and money consuming (Strong et al, 2008). The morality of terminating a marriage has been questioned when being compared to leaving a partner one has been cohabitating wi...
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... these needs are not met, marriages tend to fail. Although this is only a handful, these specific disadvantages can have a profoundly negative effect on any marriage (Luscombe, 2010).
Despite everything that has changed concerning family and marriage, our society still places marriage in high regard. The majority of all people state that finding someone they love and want to have children with is what drives them to the altar (luscombe, 2010). More than half of all people think that if a couple is in love, whether straight, gay or lesbian, they can have a successful marriage (Strong et al, 2008). 64% of cohabitating couples want to get married. Most people agree that being married helps couples to be more financially stable and subsequently to have a more fulfilling sex life. Marriage is still viewed as the first step to a successful family. (Luscombe, 2010).
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