There was a time when the unspoken but powerful cultural expectations for a proper marriage went something like this.
The woman shouldn't be taller than the man nor make more money than the man. They both must be racially matched. The man should be older than the woman. The woman would stay at home and raise children. The man would work to feed the family. Preferably, if the man wanted to receive respect, he made a lot of money. Dads tended to be less hands-on fathers. Mothers cared for the kids. Same sex marriage wasn't even uttered out loud in polite company. If a woman wasn't married before she was thirty, she was beyond her prime. Divorce was taboo. Single people were pitied. Nobody talked about sex, but everyone was having sex, yet, most young people knew nothing about sex. You had a baby and figured out what to do with it later. If you got in the family way, you got married. Unwed mothers were shipped off to some bleak house. The man was in charge. Children were to be seen but not heard. People, by in large, remained in unhappy even abusive marriages until parted by death. Nobody dared live together without the marriage papers to prove they had the right.