family, conjugal The conjugal family refers to a family system of spouses and their dependent children. In such systems, because the social emphasis is placed primarily on the marital relationship, families are relatively independent of the wider kinship network. Consequently, divorce-rates tend to be high. In this context, the term has come increasingly to be applied also to partners who are in a long-term relationship, but who are not actually married. See also FAMILY, EXTENDED.
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