The ideology of family life and the meaning of heterosexual relationships. Family units were self sufficient; men, women and children farmed the land. Women and children made the household essentials from scratch. The nuclear family depended on each other as a unit of production. By the 19th century this system was in decline, the family no longer depended on each other but on the capitalist system of free labor (Demilio 469). Though the nuclear family has become less fundamental overtime, the idealization of the nuclear family is still a powerful feature of American culture today.