Marital roles or gender roles are attitudes, values, behaviors that a particular group of people belief is appropriate for the women and men of that particular community. Gender roles have an important significance in the society as it was back in the days. These roles determine what is expected of a man or a woman in a home and the society at large. In the past men were considered bread winners and were expected to do the hard tasks lawn mowing, taking out trash, maintenance while women did the lighter chores; which included taking care of the home, mending and ironing clothes, cooking and raising children. These roles have changed in recent times as women are now taking up jobs and bringing income to the family as opposed to the earlier notion that men were expected to cater for their families financial needs. Men on the other hand participate in bringing up kids.
However these roles have changed over time, the traditional marital roles are only considered in married life and therefore they affect marriage in general. The roles are either formulated in a household or are imposed by the society. These roles also determine the kind of marriage or the way one views their ideal marriage to be. In most cases theses roles are determined by ones background and how theses roles were shared between their parents. Thereafter when one marries, he or she expects the spouse to do as they had the parents do. If for instance a girl is born in a wealthy family and is used to being spoilt by the parents, she will most likely expect her husband to behave in a similar manner. We can therefore establish that marital roles are defined by the set up in which one is brought up in. There are three marriage types: the traditional home-maker or breadwinner household where the husband works and the wife takes care of the homestead; mixed type- where the wife has more free time and takes up a large chunk of work in taking care of the home; egalitarian type is where responsibilities are shared equally.
A career woman has less time with her family; this results in less connection between spouses and in turn less bonding time. In a case where both partners are on fulltime jobs, the children have less time with the parents. Men are not burdened with having to choose between their careers and their families. From researches carried out it is evident that as women soar higher in their careers they desire less number of kids. This is due to the belief that caring for a larger family cannot go hand in hand with a successful career. Research clearly indicates that there exists gender difference in the society.
The gender roles are changing over time, what was believed to be a man’s role or a woman’s roles is no longer so. The modern gender roles are so diverse that one cannot merely define them on traditional grounds (Pearlman, 2010). As was pointed out earlier, the traditional role of a mother and a wife was that she was supportive compassionate and caring towards her husband. Most women still try to hold on to this role but some have chosen differing roles. In the past women who ventured in male dominated fields had to struggle to be taken seriously, they were seen to take up dressing in a way that would hide their femininity. This is not the case as in this decade women can dress in clothing that embrace their feminism and not be worried if they will be taken seriously. But now although the stereotyping is yet to be dealt with, some women have successfully made it in these fields (Pearlman, 2010). On the other hand men used to be viewed as hard laborers and bread winners. Men still assume these roles but also involve themselves in the upbringing of their children; men are also taking up jobs in areas that were considered women’s domain like nursing and catering.
In any relationship communication is an important aspect. Partners facing communications problems are likely to have a breakdown in their relationship. Absence of proper communications results in misunderstanding. It is necessary to acknowledge each partner as an equal and therefore ensure that they consider the other’s opinion. Sharing ideas and knowledge helps partners understand each other better. In order to be a good communicator one has to be a good listener (Pearlman, 2010). Marriage is a life long commitment and therefore couples need to understand each other to avoid conflicts. One needs to ensure that their spouse knows what they expect of them and not make assumptions that their partners will automatically know. It’s clear that men and women have biological differences as well as physical; these affect how we behave and think and therefore how we communicate. Sex difference in communication can be a factor influencing communication problems (Scanzoni, 1998). This is because women are known to be polite and inquisitive with emphasis on details while on the other hand men are known to talk less, are precise with less emphasis on detail. A wife may misunderstand this for ignorance which might lead to the occurrence of a fight.
The most challenging part of raising kids is when they are young and need a lot of attention: one may have to put aside work to be able to do it perfectly (Scanzoni, 1998). A majority of wives complain that they do most of the work when it comes to raising children. With regard to work and life balance it is hectic to balance family and work as both have their pressures. In order to get ahead in life one needs a good career, meaning they need a good education. Work is competitive hence very little time is left to concentrate on family needs. Children need a lot of parental care when they are growing up and therefore ideally its best if one parent is there during early period in a child’s life but the world as it is does not give room for this.
Pearlman, K. (2010). Marriage: Roles, Stability and Conflict. New Jersey: Nova Publishers.
Scanzoni, H. (1998). Sex Roles, Women’s Work and Marital Conflict. London: Houghton Mifflin