Marriage: The Way We Never Were - Stephanie Coontz #63

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Couples in the Paleolithic world would never have fantasized about running off by themselves to their own little retreats in the forest. No Stone Age lovers would have imagined in their wildest dreams that they could or should be “everything” to each other. That way lay death.
― Stephanie Coontz, Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy

Stephanie Coontz is a marriage historian and author of seven books on marriage and family life. In this podcast, she takes us on a tour through the evolution of marriage and intimacy throughout human history. We discuss everything from egalitarianism to “the one” to polyamory vs. monogamy. This show is enlightening and adds another piece to the puzzle as we continue to dissect the mating styles of the human animal, here on the ReWild Yourself! podcast.

Episode Breakdown:

  • The way we never were
  • Are we hardwired for egalitarianism?
  • The quest for in-laws
  • Marrying for love
  • The soulmate fantasy
  • Individual needs vs group needs
  • Sex and marriage throughout history
  • Monogamy vs non-monogamy
  • The story of divorce over the ages
  • Today’s marriage statistics 
  • The changing roles of men and women in a marriage 

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Meet Stephanie

Stephanie Coontz teaches History and Family Studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and serves as Director of Research and Public Education at the Council on Contemporary Families. She has authored seven books on marriage and family life and is a frequent guest columnist for the New York Times and other notable publications & academic journals. She has testified about her research before the House Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families in Washington, DC, and appeared on The Colbert Report, MSNBC's "The Cycle," The Today Show, PBS News Hour, Oprah Winfrey, Crossfire, 20/20, CBS This Morning, CSPAN, and the O-Reilly Factor, along with numerous NPR shows. Selected articles and tv appearances can be found at She has lectured on her research across the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Go here for her full bio.