Return to Articles Overview
Share |

Marriage And Couple Therapy


Marriage before and after tabloid TV

We get married with a lot of romantic ideas and expectations, which are nurtured by popular culture and fed by our own needs and desires. I grew up with Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, and the Beach Boys crooning "We'll get married, then we'll be happy." What could be simpler and more appealing? You get married and that solves all your problems. You'll never be lonely again and you'll always have someone to build up your self esteem, cheer you up, make you happy, and keep you jolly. And then we entered the age of "tabloid TV," featuring the spectrum from Oprah Winfrey to Jerry Springer. Whoa! We got an eyeful and an earful of the gritty reality of how intimate relationships can go wrong. A whole generation learned the meaning of the word "dysfunctional."

Marriage was a "role oriented" institution

From the beginning of time up through the World War II generation, for most people marriage was a "role oriented" institution: each partner was defined by a distinct and separate role, and boy was it sexist! It usually meant that Dad went off to work and that Mom raised the children, cooked the food, either played contract bridge or followed the popular soap operas, and dreamed of being "queen for a day." It meant that girls had emotions and feelings and boys didn't, and it meant that boys were supposed to get their self worth from their job and their work and girls were supposed to get their self worth from their family and other relationships. By the 1950's the Victorian concepts of Freudian psychology had permeated society. But post WW II America was also prosperous, and prosperity led to freedom. While Dad was winning the war, Mom had gone off to work, and now we had the two income-two car family. The era of pop psychology was on the horizon and people were beginning to take the idea-and the reality-of equality in marriage seriously. Like everything else about society, the role bound style of marital relationship came under serious attack in the 1960's, and since then there has been no turning back. Nowadays assertiveness and healthiness in relationships means that outmoded roles can't define people and that everyone has an equal right to respect, self-determination, self expression, and self actualization, even in their marriage.

"The best relationship and partnership on earth": Read the rest of this article

Kohlhagen  Think Responibly! Branded Graphic THINK RESPONSIBLY!


OFFICE LOCATION discussions balloon
8420 Delmar, Suite 501
Saint Louis, Missouri, 63124
(314) 692-0702