When The Future of Marriage was first published it was immediately acclaimed as a classic contribution to the literature of marriage and of sex roles. In it, the eminent sociologist Jessie Bernard argued that in ever marriage there are actually two marriages—his and hers—and that sociological data reveals that marriage is more beneficial for men than for women. The institution of marriage will survive, asserted Bernard, but only to the extent that attention is paid to the features that make it a less attractive option for women than for men. In a new edition of this pioneering work, Bernard provides a fresh introduction and update showing what has changed and what has remained the same since her book was first published. Bernard’s discussion of the evolution in marital behavior, perspective, and knowledge in the last decade underscores the relevance of her initial study; the disparity between his and her marriages, hotly debated when it was first proposed, is now a basic assumption in our thinking. As Bernard predicted, couples today are struggling to improve the institution of marriage for both participants, by working out dual careers, shared parenthood, and a combination of personal autonomy and family cooperation. The Future of Marriage remains an essential resource—to those who are studying the family and those who are creating one.
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