T

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.