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Marriage in Men's Lives

There are two marriages in every marital union, his and hers. Men and women live in worlds that are organized around gender, and their marriages reflect differing realities. As life companions, they respond to each other; but they also respond to the cultural definitions of what it means to
be a husband and a wife. What has fascinated social and behavioral scientists for several years, however, is not only that husbands' and wives' experiences are different, but also that 'his' marriage is hers'. Numerous findings have reported that married men are better off than married
women on measures of both physical and mental health, but the reasons are not yet fully understood. In Marriage in Men's Lives Dr. Nock proposes an explanation to this issue. He focuses on marriage as a system of rules, customs, and expectations. The book shows that marriage changes men on basic
dimensions of achievement, participation in public social life, and philanthropy because marriage reinforces such behaviors as part of adult masculinity. Men in modern society crave well-being, comfort, luxury, and prestige, and marriage affords a means of achieving these things within circumscribed
legitimate boundaries. Using a huge data base of over 6,000 interviews with men the author has studied since 1979, Nock draws some interesting and far-reaching conclusions about the nature of marriage, and predicts that marriage is definitely here to stay.
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This is an impressive treatise, timely and pioneering. It attempts to offer a balanced picture of lives of men in American families and fills in a gap in the studies of gender roles that are often skewed in one or the other direction. It is a useful work as a supplement to a marriage and family or gender role course, or a seminar on men's lives. * Giri Raj Gupta, Western Illinois University, Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Studies Jan 2001 *

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