BE T H N A L G R E E N i s part of a country which has been, within living memory, the scene of great social changes, and in this background chapter we shall notice their impact upon married couples. The rest of the book is devoted far more to the relationship between the couple and their families of origin than it is to husbands and wives. To describe the marital relationship in any detail would demand a different technique and interviews far more searching than the ones we were able to do.1 But husbands and wives are so much the principal actors of our study, through whose eyes we look at kinship, that we need to consider, even if only to register our impressions, some of the essential characteristics of their relationship.