In other words, it can be argued that if Goode's convergence model is correct, three parallel transformations that characterize the conjugal family system will also be taking place in urban Chinese families.
The overriding research question this paper seeks to answer is whether the relationship between husbands and wives in urban Chinese society has been transformed over time, demonstrated by the essential qualities of the conjugal family system, including its emphasis on emotionality, on egalitarian authority pattern, and its growing tendency toward instability.
According to Goode, what characterizes the Western conjugal family versus the traditional extended family is its intensive emotional tie between husbands and wives.
Transition to the Conjugal Family: Gender Inequality within the Family
In World Revolution and Family Patterns, Goode (1963) commented that one of the important qualities of the Western conjugal family is its emphasis on egalitarianism.
The wife's recent achievement in economic independence via labor force participation does not easily translate into a gender-balanced power structure in the conjugal family. In the case of Detroit, we do not see an expected steady decline in husbands' power since the 1960s' cohorts where women begun to increasingly enter into the labor force.
Transition to the Conjugal Family: Marital Instability
In portraying the Western conjugal family, Goode (1963) reasoned that if marriage is primarily an instrument of individual fulfillment, a means of personal growth, an expression of romantic love, it is much more fragile, and more vulnerable to crises than ever before.
According to Goode's (1963) reasoning, the relationship between husbands and wives in the conjugal family will be intense due to the weakening ties of extended kinship.
While predicting a worldwide convergence toward the conjugal family system, very little theoretic treatment was offered by Goode with regard to family violence in general and wife abuse in particular.
In this regard, Goode is right to point out that the conjugal family will go hand in hand with a high divorce rate.
Although no paramount ideals of the conjugal family have ever been formally articulated in urban China, the evidence derived from Chengdu and Baoding indicates that the Chinese compassionate marriages, comparable to their Detroit counterparts, have emerged.
Egalitarianism associated with the Western conjugal family remains largely a sociocultural ideal rather than reality.