Marriage and Divorce

Topics: Family, Marriage, United States Pages: 2 (671 words) Published: April 3, 2013
Samantha White
Family Structure is Ever Evolving
There is no such thing as a true or correct family form. A family is "a group of two or more people who reside together and who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption" (U.S. Census Bureau). Aunts and Uncles should also be considered part of a family. In many cases and Aunt or Uncle may take care of just as much or more than the biological mother or father. The Census Bureau’s definition of family needs to change to the current times to incorporate the extended families role in a child’s life. The definition of family varies to each person. Stephanie Coontz's 2005 research on the history of marriage shows that the family forms we see today in the United States are actually the result of an evolution of “the family” that began with an important shift in the culture of marriage in the mid-18th Century. In the Stone and Middle ages men and women married not for love, but to improve their economic situation or to help the political needs of their extended family. In the 19th century the idea of the husband as the breadwinner and the wife as the stay at home mom did not last long due to low pay wages. During the 1950’s and 1960’s the “Ozzie and Harriet” families were established. These families were those that married young and remained married with many children (McLanahan and Casper, 2001). However, by the late 1960s and 1970s divorce rates grew and well as births to unmarried mothers. The average age of a first marriage grew older as well. The reasons for these changes were due to rages for women grew as wages for men fell, the economy weaken, wives joined the workforce, women had more legal rights and the growth of birth control (McLanahan and Casper, 2001). This evolution of the family and marriage has constantly been evolving and shifting with the changes in the economy, our values and politics.

The influences in marriage and divorce did not just exist in the cities of America....

Cited: Coltrane, Scott and Randall Collins. 2001. Sociology of Marriage & the Family: Gender,
Love, and Property. Fifth Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.
Brown, David L. 1981. A Quarter Century of Trends and Changes in the Demographic
Structure of American Families. In Raymond T. Coward and William M. Smith
Jr. (eds.), The Family in Rural Society. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Pp. 9-26. 
Etuk, Lena. "How Family Structure Has Changed." How Family Structure Has Changed.
Oregon State University Extension Service (2008), n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2012.
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