Tensions in Marriage in an Age of Divorce
he two-job marriages I came to know seemed vulnerable to three types of tension. One tension was between the husband s idea of what he and his wife should do at home and work, and his wife’s idea about that. This was the tension between couples whose gender strategies clashed—as did those of the Holts and the Steins. Another existed within each person in the marriage; this was the tension between a keen desire to live an old-fashioned life—with the wife at home, the husband working—and the need to face economic hardships that made such a life impossible. The Delacortes, for example, did not clash in ideology or strategy but both suffered a conflict between ideal and reality. The third tension is more invisible, nameless, and serious: that between the importance of a family’s need for care and the devaluation of the work it takes to give that care, a devaluation of the work a homemaker once did. This problem was most pronounced among upper-middle-class couples engrossed in their careers.