Traditional ideas have always influenced household chores and genderroles largely. However, contemporary marriages have increasinglydiscovered that previous traditional assumptions on who does what,when and where have to be negotiated to create marriage unions thatare more companionate, committed and intimate. One of the mostinfluential aspects that couples negotiate daily life is throughgender ideology and type of earner marriage. Baker et al. (162)argues that intimate relationships are related to the successfulnegotiation of time, task arrangement and economic concerns. Thereare reciprocal relationships between marital investment and maritalsatisfaction. With more satisfaction, couples invest more money, timeand communication into the relationship greatly increasing intimacy.
As marital obligations changed in the contemporary society, the needto actively reshape marital roles arose but with little success.Marriage relationships are no longer based on cultural expectationsand are less traditional. The complexity of marriage has increasednot only with cultural expectations but with other factors likegender, gender role ideology, type of earner marriage, household taskand economic satisfaction.
The effects of gender
One cause of gender as a factor increasing the complexity ofmarriage is because in a marriage the man and woman (male and femalegenders) do not change. The identity model is useful in explainingspecific gender tasks due to masculinity or femininity. Despitenumerous attempts to convert the masculine roles to feminine roles,nature dictates that certain roles are for men and others for women.Men for example cannot bear children just as women cannot donatesperms to make babies. The effects of gender continue to be felt in asociety that is struggling to embrace changes associated with gender.
After WW2, gender role attitudes shifted to a more egalitariandirection despite certain roles persisting. Specialized roles forfamilies with the breadwinner / homemaker marriages show that powerrelations have influence interactions between husbands and wives. The dual earner marriage has slowly replaced that type of marriage asin the American states. Baker et al. (163) states that more than 60%women with children (married /not married) occupy the labor force.Research reveals the employment of women/wives changes the dynamicsof a marriage. Issues like communication challenges, lesssatisfaction are evident as compared to homemaker wife type ofmarriages.
Such relationships can be explained as resulting from changingcultural marital roles and some persistence in traditional genderrole ideologies. The egalitarian model gives less room for culturalexperiences creating the need to remodel the marital responsibilitiesand come up with a satisfactory agreement on obligations. Culturalexpectations that have men as provider’s traps couples to unequalstandard set that are less flexible to change. Macro-levelcomplicates matters as despite women working, most men still occupyhigh paying occupations. Most women try to follow their husband’scareers for greater economic rewards ending up in less stablemarriages with no clear scripts. Despite women having jobs, they arestill expected to maintain the traditional family chores. Theeconomic dependency model of economy explains the maintenance oftraditional marital roles and materialistic exchange. Wives sacrificetheir jobs for domestic labor in support of their husband’seconomic labor. The dependency model explains the wife’s proportionearnings as surpassing the husbands as she performs fewer householdtasks. Men follow the identity model more as decreased earningproportions lead to men doing less housework.
Type of earner marriage on time
With increasing family demands, couples have to work extensively andmeet all obligations. Many factors affect quality time spent betweencouples. Balancing work and duties leaves couple with no time to betogether. Women for example have to perform household tasks and stillmeet work obligations. According to Baker et al. (164), more menspent time in paid labor while women spend more time doing householdduties yet they both have the same leisure time. The effects ofearner marriage and time are less quality time leading to driftingapart. Getting satisfactory time arrangements for couples can solveearner marriage challenges through creating a greater sense ofcontrol and improving marital satisfaction.
For many years, women have been labeled as homemakers, expected toperform household tasks. This is a cause of cultural and societalnorms despite the increasing number of working women to date. Despitebeing employed, women still perform household chores extensively.Research reveals that men are unwilling to help perform householdtasks despite women working. They are not ready to shareresponsibilities leaving their wives to work on two shifts paid laborand household tasks). The effects of this are fatigue, exhaustion,less satisfaction in the marriage or breakdown.
Financial stability is a major factor in families. Family financesfrom men’s employment, gender role attitudes and commitment torelationships show satisfaction amongst couples. Employed coupleshave greater personal control are able to meet obligations andmentally healthier. Employed women have reported feeling more valuedfor making family contributions as compared to women who were notemployed. Unlike homemaking women who enjoy autonomy and a greatersense of control, working women have expressed more satisfaction intheir work. According to Baker, homemaking provides less and is aroutine while employment is work that generates income, providesintrinsic gratification and has extrinsic rewards thereby increasingthe personal control.
It is challenging couples to show commitment to work and family atthe same time. It leads to less institutional and social support andspouses have to deal with the effects of violating culturalexpectations. Trying to juggle between work and family has never beeneasy as it leads to conflicting responsibilities at work or in thefamily. Some of the most desired solutions for such issues have beensuggested as allowing married women to work part time to balancetheir home tasks, children and work. This data is biased and may notbe applicable to contemporary families where men and women shareequal rights. The men may as well work part time and increase theirperformance in household tasks for balanced marriages that do notleave the woman feeling dissatisfied. Satisfaction in contemporaryfamilies will remain attributed to daily concerns like genderideology change, time, economy and finances and household taskarrangements (Baker et al. 166). These indicators are influenced byhow successful the negotiated agreements amongst couples have beenmade.
In conclusion, the marriage face has greatly changed with time and sohave the roles of men and women in the family setup. Familyexpectations and rules to support the new relationships are no longerwhat they used to be. This has affected decisions on couple’snegotiations for daily demands and confronting them. Baker’sresearch (173) found four major causes and effects in contemporarymarriages. The traditional marriage relationships showed highereconomic satisfaction as compared to dual earners. Wives had noissues dealing with time related variables with those who areemployed having high responsibilities to maintain their householdchores. Husbands appeared to be more satisfied with household chorearrangements than wives were as long as women continue doinghousehold chores as they depend on their husbands. The employmentstatus of part time working women showed the lowest householdsatisfaction scores with full time home makers showing the highestsatisfaction scores.
Baker, Robert. Kiger, Gary. Riley, Pamela. “Time, Dirt, and Money:The Effects of Gender, Gender Ideology, and Type of Earner Marriageon Time, Household Task, and Economic Satisfaction Among Coupleswith Children,” Journal of social behavior & personality, Department of Sociology, , pp.161-173