The cohesiveness of a family seems to rely on members sharing certain routine prac- tices and events. For a growing share of the American labor force, however, working shifts beyond the normal daylight hours——what we here call "shift work"——makes the lives of families difficult.
Existing re.search shows that both male and female shift workers express high levels of stress and a sense of conflict between the demands of work and family life. But shift work couples still maintain a traditional attitude to the meaning of marriage and the individual roles of husband and wife. They expressed a willingness to do "whatever it takes" to approximate their view of a proper marriage，in- cluding sacrificing sleep and doing conventional things at unconventional hours. For the majority of couples interviewed, even when wives worked outside their homes, a proper marriage is character- ized by a very clear division of roles: husbands are "providers" whose major responsibility is to sup- port the family ;wives arc "homemakers" who clean, cook, and care for husbands and children.
The women's definitions of a "good husband" are typified by the following wife’s response：
I expect him to be a good provider, and be there when I need him, loyal about the same things as he would expect out of me，expect that I expect him to dominate over me. But in a manner of speak- ing, wben it' s time to be a man I expect him to stand up instead of sitting back expecting me to do everything.To husbands，a good wife is someone who is：
Understanding of what I feel go through at work. I need that respect at work，I hope I get it al work. I want my wife to realize what I expect at work. I don' t want her to give me a lot of shil when I come home from work because I don’ t know if this makes much sense.
These views seemed critical to maintain the families of the shift workers.