THE FUTURE OF MARRIAGE by Jessie Bernard

THE FUTURE OF MARRIAGE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A reassuring panoramic overview of marriage past, present, and future which pooh-poohs the notion that it's an obsolescent institution destined for the rubbish heap. Bernard (The Sex Game, 1968) takes a leisurely look at historical and statistical trends, the authority structure of pre and post-industrial families, and at changing ideals -- Christian, Victorian, and Utopian -- on the proper relations between spouses and comes up smilingly convinced that current stresses are only ""a revolution of rising expectations."" Every marriage, she says, is in fact two: the husband's and the wife's. To date, His has been good; Hers mediocre to lousy and there is a great deal of socio-statistical evidence marshalled to show ""the superiority on almost every index -- demographic, psychological, or social -- of married men over never-married men."" Not so for women who have experienced the connubial state as a downward status step fraught with the perils of the ""housewife syndrome"" which did and does drive bored, frustrated women to analysts and worse. At present, says Bernard, the ""content of commitment"" is changing with permanence and sexual exclusivity no longer as sacrosanct as they used to be. Taking the long view she depicts an infinitely accommodating and elastic institution: the commune, the menage a trois, the homosexual union, swinging, can all be incorporated; marriage has not one future but many, custom-tailored to different needs, ages, and life-styles. Even those who welcome her eclectic non-doctrinaire tolerance may think ""the commitment"" has been diluted beyond recognition but mostly this is sensible, cheerfully liberal and liberating counsel.

Pub Date: May 26th, 1972
ISBN: 0300028539
Publisher: World