In the 70s, the institution of marriage was rapidly turning into an ancient relic.
In the 70s, and with birth control, the institution of marriage was rapidly turning into an ancient relic.

NBC Radio – Second Sunday – Marriage In The 70’s – July 8, 1973 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

As the sexual revolution of the 1960s settled in, the concept of Marriage in the 1970s took a big hit. Marriage, it was felt, was an antiquated institution that wasn’t working, and hadn’t worked for a long time. And now that Birth Control had taken a prominent position in the dynamic of relationships, getting married and having kids seemed like something either to put off until much later – or forego altogether.

And this was cause for worry to some. If marriage was about commitment and monogamy, it was knocking on the wrong doors, where relationships in the 1970s were concerned.

So what was the status of inter-personal relationships in the 1970s? It was about living together, open-ended relationships, several partners, sexual experimentation and not too much thought about the future. And kids were an afterthought or an accident.

And in the 1970s Women were taking a more active and vocal role in the area of relationships – they had a say in settling down, and with whom and whether or not they were ready for motherhood. The role of relationships evolved into partnerships and sometimes those partnerships just didn’t work out.

Among the establishment, the rise in divorce was alarming. The concept of “till death do us part” had become outdated. Marriage, it looked like to everyone, was on its way out.

And it was the subject of much speculation and argument. There was the generational disagreement – there was that notion that, since the 60s signaled the beginning of the Youth Culture – getting married, settling down and having kids was a sure sign of middle-age. And no one was quite ready to go there yet. Among the older generation it was a simple case of the Youth Culture refusing to grow up and take responsibility. Something else there wasn’t a lot of eye-to-eye over.

This documentary – part of the monthly series Second Sunday for NBC Radio, explored the institution of Marriage from a 1973 standpoint – dubbed Marriage: The Dark Side Of Love, it looked at the then-current state of relationships and how they were changing – and whether it was a good idea or not.

When you consider the Youth depicted in 1973 are now parents and grandparents – it would be safe to say that, no matter what it looks like at the time, things always work out.

Something to remember – in the meantime, here is that episode of Second Sunday, as broadcast on July 8, 1973.

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