Husband Wife Relationship

While "companionate marriage" has become more common under Western influence, spouses still may retain primary allegiance to their natal kin, facilitated for women by matrilocality. The recent downplaying of dowry transmission at marriage reflects more "romantic" ideas about marriage. Young women feel that they do not want to be reduced to "something to be bought and sold" as the symbolism of dowry implies. By contrast, their mothers were among the most outspoken continuing advocates of the dowry during my fieldwork, as they see it as protecting wives from being financially dependent on their husbands. The control over everyday and significant decision-making is highly variable among couples.

However, there is a general tendency to give husbands the benefit of publicly seeming to be "in charge," while, in fact, wives are making key decisions "behind the scenes." This can be tied in part to male absence on sponge-diving expeditions. As one woman remembered, her mother sold their house while their father was gone and then found ways of sugarcoating the news to him when he returned.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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