Marriage 2010 style
A recent study released by the Pew Research Center finds that there’s been an economic shift in “traditional” marriage. Women are now more likely to marry men who have lower education and income levels than they do. For the first time ever among individuals 44 years of age and younger, more women than men have college degrees. Add to that the drop in gender discrimination and the fact that women’s wages have risen in recent decades while men’s have remained stagnant, and it seems as though these findings were inevitable. The study also reports that women with higher levels of education are more likely to get married than women with less education.
In a 1967 poll, two-thirds of women said that they’d consider marrying a man they didn’t love if the men had good earnings potential. Today, 87% of women say that it’s more important to have a man who communicates well, can be intimate and will share the housework.
And maybe there’s something to that – the notion that communication and partnership are greater determinants of the success and happiness in a marriage than earnings potential. Contrary to the popular notion that half of all marriages end in divorce and that divorce is on the rise, the divorce rate has actually been declining for the last 30 years, and is at its lowest level since 1970. The rate of divorce among Baby Boomers is lower than that of their parents and their children’s divorce rate is even lower.
Despite the growing numbers of marriages in which women earn more than men, the issue can still cause significant strain in a marriage. Some men still report feeling “guilty” and less like equal partners when they are not the breadwinners. While others say they feel as though they have less rights in the relationship than their wives do.
Experts caution against getting too excited about women’s greater economic power in marriage though, citing the fact that women still make 77 cents to a man’s dollar, and that cutting back during periods of pregnancy and childcare cause a lag in women’s pay over time.
Critics have long argued that the shift away from traditional marriage has been largely responsible for the rise in divorce rates. What’s your take on traditional marriage vs. the “new” marriage 2010 style? Share your thoughts in the comment section, or on our Facebook fan page.