Four stages of marriage relationships

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Four Stages of Marriage Relationships
The Idea of equality also affects the relationships between husbands and wives. Women have witnessed steady progress toward equal status for themselves in the family and in society at large. According to Letha and John Scanzoni, two American sociologists, the institution of marriage in the USA has experienced four stages of development. In Each new stage, wives have increased the degree of equality with their husbands and have gained more power within the family.
Stage I: Wife as Servant to her Husband. During the 19th century American wives were expected to be completely obedient to their husbands. As late as 1850, wife beating was legal in almost all the states of the United States. Although both husbands and wives had family duties, the wife had no power in family matters other than that which her husband allowed her. Her possessions and any of her earnings belonged to her husband. During the 19th century women were not allowed to vote, restriction that in part reflected women’s status as servant to the family.
Stage II: Husband-Head, Wife-Helper. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries opportunities for women to work outside the household increased. More wives were now able to support themselves, if necessary, and therefore were less likely to accept the traditional idea that wives were servants who must obey their husbands. Even though the great majority of wives chose not to work outside the home, the fact that they might do so increased their power in the marriage. The husband could no longer make family decisions alone and demand that the wife follow them. The wife was freer to disagree with her husband and to insist that her views be taken into account in family decisions.
Even though the wife’s power increased, the husband remained the head of the family. The wife became his full-time helper by taking care of his house and raising his children. She might strongly argue with him and sometimes convince him,

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