Marriage Equality in the U.S. Discussion Paper.

Marriage Equality in the U.S. Discussion Paper.

The institution of marriage is one of the most fundamental pillars within any society
because it is responsible for raising children who will later become respectable leaders and noble
icons. It is through families that young ones get to learn the importance of moral values, ethics as
well as social norms. The parents also have their own expectations of marriage where each
partner is required to play their respective roles so that the union remains robust and enjoyable. Marriage Equality in the U.S. Discussion Paper.
The last couple of years has seen a dramatic change in marriage where most people prefer either
to cohabit, enter into contracts or even life differently so as to avoid later disappointments. This
paper is a brief essay that discusses how equality in marriage has rapidly changed with particular
reference to America through a provided research article.


Essay Task
Read the article titled "Great Expectations? Working- and Middle-Class Cohabiters’
Expected and Actual Divisions of Housework" and discusses the topic of equality in
contemporary marriages. Explore both sides of the issue using both evidence and counter-
evidence to show that equality in modern marriages is increasing.
Body of the Essay
Essay Questions
1. Explain how you see marriage "equality" being defined in these articles.
The article titled "Great Expectations? Working- and Middle-Class Cohabiters’ Expected
and Actual Divisions of Housework discusses the issue of equality in marriage by exploring how
both male and female partners view matters of domestic chores and other household duties
(Miller and Carlson, 2010).  Marriage Equality in the U.S. Discussion Paper.The authors explain this notion through the rising cases of
cohabitation in the United States where most people are preferring to have a living arrangement with their better half instead of getting married officially. Equality in these articles is described
with regards how spouses who are both working are expected to handle work in the home (Blair,
The majority of women who were working and either belonged to the middle or upper
classes felt that work in the home needed to be shared equally. This means that they expect their
partners to handle some tasks such as cleaning or tidying up while the women took care of
cooking and washing (Cherlin, 2014).However, research shows that there is a growing
disconnection between the expectations that women and men have when it comes to the
arrangements of housework. This is because most working men felt that they are not required to
work at all when they get home while their female counterparts expressed discontent at this issue
(Miller and Carlson, 2010).
This is because they wanted their men to occasionally help out in the home with a
number of house chores so that cohabitation becomes much simpler. This explains why most
American relationships formed by cohabitation have experienced a drastic decline in quality,
stability as well as psychological well-being. The large part of this dissatisfaction stems out of
lack of equality when it comes to handling work in the house since division of labor still remains
a preserve of the women (Edin and Maria, 2015). Despite this disparity, there are some couples
that have managed to enjoy equality in their marriages and this indicates that household chores
are slowly being allocated to the men. This reflects positively in the future where marriage will
become a shared union where cleaning, cooking and washing will not only be delegated to the
women, but also to the men as well.

2. Identify and describe the evidence for the argument that equality is increasingly being
achieved within modern marriages.
There are preliminary findings as well as research literature that shows that marriage is
becoming an equal affair in the modern days. One source of evidence is the cited article that
shows that a number of couples have been open about sharing work in the home with their
partners and husbands (Sheela and Bumpass, 2008). This was achieved especially when couples
discussed the expectations of homely duties before they moved in with one another. The men in
this living arrangements preferred the duties that they were actually best in while their women
were okay with the remaining tasks (Miller and Carlson, 2010). This shows that equality is
slowly gaining recognition in marriages and it is only a matter of time before harmonious and
stable unions increase in number.
3. Identify and describe the counter-evidence you find. Marriage Equality in the U.S. Discussion Paper.
The institution of marriage has also experienced inequality in cases where some spouses
feel that they are not supposed to participate in house chores. In as much as evidence shows that
marriage equality has been achieved in America, there are also numerous cases that indicate
some women are yet to enjoy equal sharing of labor in the house (Miller and Sharon, 2012).
The women that hurt the most are the ones in the working class category where they get
home from work to find a lot of chores not done. In fact, the majority of these individuals were
the women and they felt tricked into cohabiting or marriage because their partners were not
being helpful (Miller and Carlson, 2010). This shows that equality when it comes to household
division of labor in most marriages is yet to be achieved and it will take a lot of convincing on
the side of men.

4. Explain which arguments you find most persuasive and why.
The arguments that have a lot of persuasion are those that show that there is a low level
of marriage equality across America when it comes to issues of domestic work. The majority of
men rarely feel the need to help out their women even when they are free in the house. It takes
alt of convincing to make them tidy the house or even take out the trash (Miller and Carlson,
2010). Hence, I believe that marriage equality when it comes to division of labor still remains an
issue that deserves to be advocated and fought for vigorously. Marriage Equality in the U.S. Discussion Paper.
5. Identify and explain which sociological theories best align with your arguments and why.
The egalitarianism theory of sociology best applies to this scenario because it is founded
on the belief that all people are equal and they deserve equal opportunities, rights and fairness.
This means that the egalitarian theory closely applies to marriage equality and men should
understand that they are equal to their women (Wilcox and Nock, 2006). It is in this regard that
domestic and household chores should be divided along equal lines so that every partner can
remain happy. This in the long run would result in better relationships that are founded upon
fairness, justice and increased stability.


Blair-Loy, M. 2013. Competing Devotions: Career and Family among Women Executives.

Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

Cherlin, A. 2014. “The Deinstitutionalization of American Marriage.” Journal of Marriage and

the Family 66: 848-862. Marriage Equality in the U.S. Discussion Paper.

Edin, K, and Maria K. 2015. Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women put Motherhood before

Marriage. Berkeley: University of California Press


Miller, A and Sharon S. 2012. "The Construction of Gender among Cohabiting Couples."

Qualitative Sociology

Miller, J., and Carlson, D. (2010). "Great Expectations? Working- and Middle-Class
Cohabiters’ Expected and Actual Divisions of Housework"
Sheela, K. and Bumpass. L. 2008. “Cohabitation and Children’s Living Arrangements: New
Estimates from the United States.” Demographic Research 19: 1663-1692.
Wilcox, W. and Nock. S. 2006. “What’s Love Got To Do With It? Equality, Equity,
Commitment, and Women’s Marital Quality.” Social Forces 84: 1321-1346. Marriage Equality in the U.S. Discussion Paper.

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