Sarah's Reviews > Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy

Marriage, a History by Stephanie Coontz
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Dec 06, 2010

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Read in December, 2010

"A marriage that survives and thrives in today's climate of choice is likely to be far more satisfying, fair, and effective for the partners and their children than in the past."

Written in response to reporters and academics proclaiming the death of marriage, Coontz's book details the history of marriage and the economic, social and political forces that have transformed it into what it is today. Yes, marriages may have lasted longer in the past, but divorce was always present in some form or another, and for centuries women were subservient to their husbands. Men and women are no longer dependent on one another for survival, and when there is no need to stay together, there is no need to stay in an unhappy relationship. Coontz doesn't think marriage is doomed, as the above quote attests; it's just different than what it once was. It may take us longer to get married than it used to, and it may take us more than one marriage to find the relationship that works, but marriage isn't going anywhere anytime soon. (Don't lose hope, single ladies!)

The only reason I gave it a 3 is because non-fiction is SO much slower than fiction! I enjoyed it, but I definitely had to force myself to get through it near the end. The beginning was fascinating because of the implications that a particular marriage had for a family or a community or, in some cases, entire countries, but I thought it got a little dull when we got to the 1950s.

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