household chores and emphasizing their value as loving, affectionate companions to their wives and children. Middle-class men generally are able to make this role change more readily and more effectively than lower-class men. Because the upper middle-class man is likely to have experienced some degree of role flexibility prior to his marriage, he is often able to change roles with a fair degree of self-confidence while basking in the afterglow of the accomplishments of his successful career. If his success and self-esteem are secured, he can look forward to this kind of role change as an opportunity to participate in an expressive life style and to explore feelings that he may have overlooked on his climb to success. If the relationship is one of caring and understanding, both husband and wife can evoke from each other a new sense of purposefulness at this late time in their marriage.
Looked at from the developmental point of view, partnerships such as marriage face certain critical tasks at various stages in their development. Beginning families must develop decision making patterns and adjust in other ways to the uniqueness of the married state. Families with children