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The views expressed by speakers in Humanist Canada webinars are their own and are not endorsed by Humanist Canada. We aim to provide a platform for a wide range of topics and perspectives, including those of scholars, activists, industry experts, civil servants, and journalists.

Webinar Series 2023: For Better and Worse: the Problematic Past and Uncertain Future of Marriage

With Stephanie Coontz, PhD
Council on Contemporary Families

Join us for a Q & A with Stephanie Coontz to discuss the past and future of marriage.

Everyone knows that marriage isn’t what it used to be, and everyone is quite right. But there’s a lot more confusion about exactly what marriage used to be, when it used to be that way, and why it used to be that way.

Stephanie will talk about some of the myths about “traditional” marriage as well as some of the misconceptions about what is happening with marriage today. She argues that there were three distinctive marriage systems that emerged successively in history, each of them very different from the current rearrangement of marriage and family values we are experiencing today. We can then explore recent trends in marriage and new research about what makes for a good marriage and what predicts divorce, along with debates over whether to promote marriage and how to understand the impact of alternative family arrangements.

Stephanie CoontzStephanie Coontz is Director of Research and Public Education at the Council on Contemporary Families. A Professor Emerita at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, and former Woodrow Wilson Fellow, she has authored seven books on marriage and family life, including The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap and Marriage, A History, which was cited in the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. She also edited American Families: A Multicultural Reader.  A new book of essays, For Better and Worse: The Problematic Past and Uncertain Future of Marriage, will be out in 2024. Her many articles for the New York Times, CNN, and other outlets can be found at


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