The "Golden Ages" of Marriages

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The 1950s are often referred to as the “Golden Age” of marriage. The stereotypical view of marriage in the 1950s consisted of a father with a good job, a mother who stays home and raises the children, and they live in a house in the suburbs. This may be true for most marriages in the 1950s, yet some did have a dark side. The political, economic, and cultural climate played a role in these marriages and did have effects on them. It is an established fact that divorce rates in the 1950s and 1960s were relatively low and strikingly lower than they are 50 years later. In 1950, there were 2.6 divorces per 1,000 people. By 1960, it was actually lower and had a rate of 2.2 per thousand, the same as it was in 1957. Some nostalgia for the 1950s is understandable: Life looked pretty good in comparison with the hardships of the Great Depression and World War II. For the first time, a majority of men could support a family and buy a home without pooling their earnings with those of other family members. “A man didn’t have to delay marriage until he inherited land or took over a business from his father.” (The Radical Idea of Marrying for Love #357) Many Americans built a stable family life on these foundations. However, not all fathers during this time were fortunate enough to have the economy on their side. Some Fathers simply couldn’t provide for their families. Leave It to Beaver is a 1950s and 1960s family-oriented American television situation comedy about an inquisitive but often naïve boy named Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver (portrayed by Jerry Mathers) and his adventures at home, in school, and around his suburban neighborhood. The show also starred Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont as Beaver's parents, June and Ward Cleaver, and Tony Dow as Beaver's brother Wally. The show has attained an iconic status in the United States, with the Cleavers exemplifying the idealized suburban family of the mid-twentieth century. However, Leave It to Beaver did not reflect the...
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