In Little Women, marriage is depicted as a wonderful and beneficial institution, the culmination of all the different kinds of love and domestic lessons that women – and men – learn in their youth. Although the novel suggests that men and women have different and distinct roles within the marriage, it also insists that marriage must be a partnership, with both spouses working together to create a home and raise a family. The best marriages are not necessarily the most obvious ones, and sometimes youthful passions have to give way to more practical or unusual pairings.
Although Marmee believes that marriage is wonderful and appropriate for most women, she has high standards for the kind of relationship worthy of marriage.
In contrast to the standards of the time, the Marches believe that marriage is a relatively equal partnership between husband and wife.