Alfred Hitchcock was a master of mise-en-scène, whereby in film just about every inch of every frame of a film was intentional. Rear Window is one of his greatest and most influential films. Throughout, the viewer is at the mercy of Hitchcock, as he has already decided where you will look, what you will see, and maybe even what you will think or feel. From the perspective of Jeff's wheelchair, the viewer becomes a voyeur observing the the lives and relationships of his neighbors.
The dichotomy of relationships presented in Rear Window include:
Jeff and Lisa:
Lisa wants to settle down, get married. Jeff wants to remain together, but not marry. He appreciates his independence and the freedom his job as a news photographer provides him (a profession Lisa wants him to abandon for something more stable).
Old married couple:
Their lives, from the POV of the viewer are repetitive and largely-routine
The young married couple:
Their on-screen* time bounces from excited newlyweds to what appears to be useless banter.
*Note that much of what we the viewer observe about them is not on- but off-screen, merely through dialogue heard through the window.
She is entertaining (what appear to be) potential suitors throughout the movie, until the end when her (especially nerdy looking) boyfriend/husband comes home.
A single woman living by herself, intent on finding a partner. She eventually goes on a date with a forceful man who she kicks out her apartment. Lisa and Jeff are especially interested in her, and express great concern for her safety when they believe she commits suicide. Near the finale of the movie, we see 'Miss Lonelyhearts' enchanted by music she hears coming from an apartment above her-- the partying musician-- and the viewer is left to assume they live happily ever after.
Mr. and Mrs. Thorwald (an invalid) fight often and loud-- until they suddenly don't. Jeff and Lisa pay more attention to them than anyone else in their view. This relationship and the one between Jeff and Lisa are the primary focus of Rear Window.
Hitchcock has given us, the viewer: a beautiful single woman, an old single woman, a newly-married couple, a old couple, a 'middle of the road' married couple and Jeff and Lisa-- whose status is passively changing throughout the film. Some are desperate to find a partner, while others are desperate to maintain their freedom. Is he saying that relationships have a life of their own, that all are different? That happiness is unattainable/attainable? That we put too much emphasis on our relationships? That marriage is an end to work toward? Or that autonomy and freedom are what saves us?
Considering the degree of directorial control Hitchcock employed, was he making a statement about 1950s gender politics and/or gender roles?