A History of Marriage

Download Audio
photoThroughout much of human history, marriage has had very little to do with love. In prehistoric times, it had more to do with building tribal alliances and turning enemies into kinfolk. People married for economic and political gain. Then in the 18th century with the "Love Revolution," the concept of marriage took an entirely different turn.

The rise of modern marriage embraced the emotional values of intimacy and fidelity. Love took center stage. And people soon found themselves choosing to remain single or to divorce if they fell out of love. Marriage would never be the same, and many couples would say for the better. But with the expectation of romance came an unprecedented fragility for the institution of marriage.

Tune in for a conversation about love, marriage and how they have become intertwined.


Stephanie Coontz, professor of history and family studies at The Evergreen State College and Director of Research and Public Education at the Council on Contemporary Families. She's also author of the new book, "Marriage, A History: From Obedience to Intimacy or How Love Conquered Marriage."

This program aired on June 23, 2005.


More from On Point

Listen Live