Husband Wife Relationship

For most of Spain's history, divorce has been impossible, and Spaniards are socialized to work at making their marriages successful; the long courtship which follows the tentative first approaches of boy and girl to one another surrounds them with a web of sentimental and material support for their future as spouses. Divorce is now permitted and has in some circles become fashionable, but Spanish marriages are generally stable. Spouses retain friendships and social life outside the household to a greater degree than is true in American marriages; a Spanish marital partnership exists in a much less isolating context than most Americans experience, and in many cases spouses spend fewer hours each day alone or alone together in their home. Family life, when children are of school age, engages members principally at mealtimes. Women who do not hold jobs outside the home might spend most hours there, but the period following the midday main meal, from 5 or 6 p.m. until the family gathers for supper at 10 p.m., is often spent socializing, even if young children are in tow. But women have increasingly entered the work force and their side of the marital partnership has come to resemble more closely that of their husbands; there is less leisure at home, but greater equality of income.

Husbands and wives together manage their household economy and rear their children; although there can be a division of the associated tasks, major decisions are made in partnership. The division of tasks itself is often manipulated as children grow, as the family enlarges or shrinks over time, and as demands of parents' work place(s) dictate. These things are openly discussed in most families—husbands and wives debate, chide one another, argue, work out agreements, and often joke their way through rough spots in their mutual management of household and family. Husband and wife share a bed, jointly preside over family meals (daily) and festivals, and set the rules and tone of life in the household. They are seen together at public social occasions and in the traditionally patterned leisure activities (the evening stroll) that are considered part of the social life of a couple (rather than same-sex groups). As noted earlier, Spanish families increasingly enjoy leisure away from home as a unit; restaurants are favored places for their enjoyment.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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