MARRIAGE THROUGH THE AGES
Joyce Parker, Ph.D.
Excerpted from Psychology Today, June 2005, p. 84
Antiquity: In Ancient Greece, love is mostly honored between men. Marriage is considered important for the sake of inheritance not love. If a family has no male heirs, the daughter can be forced to marry her nearest male relative even if she has to divorce her current husband.
In 14th century Europe, ordinary people are not allowed to choose who they marry. The Lords of a Manor can decree that he will choose who shall marry whom. If peasants wish to pick their partners, they must pay a fee.
Victorian Era: In Virginia, passionate love between a husband and a wife is considered unseemly. Protestant ministers preach against loving spouses too much or using endearing nicknames that might undermine the authority of the husband.
In the 1950's marriage becomes almost universal and the nuclear family is paramount. The vast majority of people surveyed in 1957 believed that remaining single is "sick," "neurotic," or "immoral."
In the 1970's the divorce rate skyrocketed as women became more self sufficient and social norms changed so that marriage was no longer obligatory. Couples who did not get along split up rather than making do.
Today: Marriage is the ultimate expression of love. Everyone wants to be married including gays and lesbians. But couples will live together to make sure they are soul mates rather than jump into marriage. Marriage rates are down but the fantasy of the perfect marital relationship is prevalent.
back to psych bytes
psych bytes | book review | about our group
therapist profiles | locate a therapist
Copyright Independent Psychotherapy Network ©2006