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The Evolution of Marriage

In: Psychology

Submitted By usctrojans7
Words 2433
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A New Era in Marriage
Patrick Liou
PSYC 359
Professor Barone

A New Era in Marriage
Robert Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love states that intimacy, passion, and commitment combine to produce different types of love, ranging from non-love to consummate love. In the 21st century, most Americans consider romantic love as key criteria in finding a marital spouse, but throughout history, the choice of a spouse usually had little if any to do with romantic love. In the 1960s, when the dynamics of a marriage followed the breadwinner-homemaker model, couples who married looked for a companionate partnership that would provide a stable living financially since financial stability was often a priority over individual happiness. Fast-forward fifty years, the economic prosperity has turned the United States into an individualistic society, and the lack of connection and chemistry would often be a deal breaker in a romantic relationship. This shift of prevalent love style from companionate partnerships to individualized marriages that stress romantic love can be attributed to women having better access of higher education and becoming economically independent of men, breaking the need for women to depend on a man as the breadwinner of the household.
With women becoming financially independent, they are no longer limited to being a homemaker and can pursue the same opportunities that are offered to men. Thus, under the social exchange theory, men are no longer able to offer financial stability to women as a reward to offset the costs such as childbearing associated with marriage. As a result, women seek other benefits that fulfill their individual happiness and only when there are enough rewards for women will they agree to a marriage proposal. Due to their new financial independence, women also have the option of divorce if the comparison level of the marital...

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