Marriage, the Family, and Personal Fulfillment

By David A. Schulz; Stanley F. Rodgers | Go to book overview

10
MARRIAGE
IN
HISTORICAL
AND
CULTURAL
PERSPECTIVE

Romantic love as it occurs in our civilization, inextricably bound up with ideas of monogamy, exclusiveness, jealousy, and undeviating fidelity, . . . is a compound, the final result of many converging lines of development in Western Civilization, of the institution of monogamy, of the ideas of the age of chivalry, of the ethics of Christianity.

Margaret Mead


INTRODUCTION

Giovanni Arnolfini and His Wife by Jan van Eyck depicts an ideal marriage of early fifteenth-century Europe. The young couple is exchanging vows in their bridal chamber surrounded by symbols signifying the sacredness of marriage. The bridegroom has removed his shoes because he stands on holy ground. The little dog is a symbol of faithfulness; the single candle signifies Christ who is an all-seeing guest.

What strikes the modern eye first, however, is the bride's protruding abdomen suggesting pregnancy. The idea that a marriage is not truly consummated until the wife has conceived is more appropriate to the fifteenth century. Today sterility may be grounds for divorce in some states and married couples are expected to have children, but even so, we do not find it appropriate that a bride should come to her wedding so great with child.

In this chapter we will trace the evolution of the concept of love in our Western tra-

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Marriage, the Family, and Personal Fulfillment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xv
  • 1 - Introduction 12
  • Part One - On Becoming Partners 15
  • 2 - On Partnerships 16
  • Introduction 17
  • 3 - Confirmation and Communication 35
  • 4 - Conflict in Intimate Partnerships 55
  • Introduction 79
  • 5 - Developing Partnerships 81
  • Part Two - Human Sexuality 111
  • 6 - The Biology of Sex and Reproduction 112
  • Introduction 113
  • 7 - On Birth Control 145
  • Introduction 170
  • 8 - The Art of Lovemaking 173
  • 9 - Sex Roles and Social Interaction 195
  • Part Three - Marriage 213
  • 10 - Marriage in Historical and Cultural Perspective 214
  • Introduction 215
  • 11 - Husbands and Wives 239
  • 12 - Parents and Children 269
  • Introduction 285
  • Summary 304
  • 14 - Disorganization and Divorce 307
  • Introduction 324
  • Part Four - Alternatives 327
  • 15 - Developing Styles for Singles 329
  • 16 - Communes and Multiple Marriages 349
  • Part Five - The Future of Marriage 371
  • 17 - Fantasies, Forecasts, and Trends 372
  • Introduction 373
  • Selected Bibliography 393
  • Index 403
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