Peer Marriages Essay, Research Paper
Throughout the past generations, including my parent’s the family was defined as a traditional (patriarchal) relationship, where the male was the breadwinner and the female was the caretaker of the home and family. My generation has seen the materialization of what Pepper Schwartz describes a “peer marriage.” Peer marriage is different from the traditional marriage in four key ways: men and women regard each other as full social equals, they both have careers, the partners share equal rights in decision making regarding finances, and compared to the past “traditional relationship” the male plays a greater role in the responsibility of raising the children (299).
Pepper Schwartz’s research is trying to show the benefits of a egalitarian marriage, by saying that it offers the family more stability and that it may prove to be more durable when it is challenged by the contemporary culture and other social pressures. She suggests that when couples are able to function as a team when it comes to money issues or household issues they can achieve a better emotional compatibility. She also states that when a woman is working outside of the home she becomes a more interesting partner, she brings in new ideas into the family life. She also goes further to state that “…even though income creates independence and therefore opportunities for separation, the recognition that spouses would lose their mutually constructed lifestyle if the marriage ended has its own stabilizing effect” (302). Schwartz is saying that even thought that women would be more financially independent allowing them the opportunity to leave the marriage (a barrier that women had faced in the past, when trying to leave a relationship), their financial contribution offers enough of a stabilizing factor to the point that they do not need or want to leave the marriage. Looking at this aspect from a male’s perspective other researchers have found that the perception of a shared marriage is correlated to a larger marital satisfaction. To summarize Schwart’s research in 4 main points: 1) she believes that shared parenting and increased spousal satisfaction are the most effective routes to family stability 2) the newfound feelings about equity and emotional closeness are essential to modern marital durability 3) peer relationships will be good for women, children, and families, as well as men 4) peer marriage is a practical plan to lower the divorce rate (304).
According to the article “Peer Marriage,” an egalitarian relationship is defined as “…a marriage founded on the principle of equality and supported by shared roles and a greater chance of shared sensibilities is an adaptation in the direction of greater family stability rather than instability”(300). The definition is further clarified when Schwartz mentions that even though a man and a woman may have separate careers, this doesn’t solidify that they will have a peer marriage. A marriage also “requires comprehensive reconceptualization of the partners’ roles” to become a peer marriage (300). In order to maintain an egalitarian relationship the article discusses several keys that lead toward their success. Martial stability requires the maintenance the emotional fulfillment of both partners, it is essential to build companion status. The central key to the success of a peer marriage is joint child rearing. Joint child rearing creates a new intimacy between the husband and wife while strengthening a bond between the two parents and the children.
I believe that our society is and will continue to move toward an egalitarian relationship, like the one discussed in this article. There are several reasons why we will continue to move in this direction. First, it is necessary for women to work, because the income of one person cannot always support a family. Second, the attitudes of men are changing, they are increasingly growing up with two working parents making this an acceptable fact or even the norm. Finally, society as a whole is more accepting of the fact that women can work and raise a family; this is shown by the increasing number of companies that are providing daycare center at the office or allowing parents with young children to have more flexible work hours. I plan to have an egalitarian relationship. I want to have the ability to support my family and myself if something were to happen. I feel that if you are in a marriage it is important for both partners to share all responsibilities equally. I do not want to feel that I owe my partner something because they are paying all of the bills. I want my husband and myself to participate equally in our children’s lives. These are some of the reasons why I plan to have a peer relationship; I feel that it is important not only for maintaining the marriage, but for the tie that is created between both parents and their children.