Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Lasting Marriages: Men and Women Growing Together

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Lasting Marriages: Men and Women Growing Together

Article excerpt

Lasting Marriages: Men and Women Growing

Together. Richard A. Mackey & Bernard A. O'Brien. Westport, CT: Praeger. 1995. 208 pp. Hardcover ISBN 0-275-95075-1. $55.00 cloth, $17.95 paper.

Why do some marriages last while others fail? For many years, scholars attempted to understand lasting marriages by studying and making inferences from those that failed. Since the mid-1980s, however, a growing amount of research has examined the long-term marriage directly. In this brief but useful book, Richard Mackey and Bernard O'Brien add to our understanding of the dynamics of stable marriages, particularly the way in which those dynamics are both similar and variable across diverse social groups.

The researchers directed in-depth interviews over a 4-year period with couples who had been married a minimum of 20 years. A primary focus was on gender similarities and differences. In addition, the researchers looked at a number of demographic variables: the 120 respondents in the sample varied by race and ethnicity (57% White, 23% African American and 20% Mexican American), by religion (42% Catholic, 33% Protestant, and 25% Jewish), by education (35% were college graduates and the rest had less education), and income (from 12% earning less than $25,000 to 19% earning over $100,000).

In addition to the topics found in other research-material roles, values, communication, conflict, the sexual relationship, decision making, and parenting-the researchers asked what attracted the partners to each other in the first place. Much of the richness of the book is found in the differential experiences of those from various social groups. …

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