Secret to a happy marriage– a working wife

Not all that long ago I wrote about recent research that showed that marriage is increasingly the province of the wealthy and educated.  Now some interesting research shows that successful marriages are increasingly those where the wife works outside the home:

The marriages of women who work outside the home are more likely to
stay together than the marriages of those who don't, according to new
studies that have converted at least one prominent social conservative.

findings offer guilt relief for some of the 67 million married U.S.
working women and reflect a growing equity among couples when it comes
to income, decision-making, parenting and housekeeping. And if working
wives promote stability at home, the trend is likely to buttress
public-policy arguments for more paid maternal and paternal leave and
more help with child care.

What I could not find in the article, however, is how this is related to the finding that marriage is increasingly for the more educated and higher earning.  I'm feeling a little too lazy to look up the actual study, but I've got to think they controlled for these factors.  Here's a little more info:

Many economists insisted that the specialization of a traditional
marriage – a breadwinner and a homemaker – was more efficient and

Social conservatives noted that the higher the income for working women, the higher the divorce rate.

from 1980 onward struggled for clarity in a fast-changing domestic
world of rising marriage ages, falling divorce rates, more cohabitation
and rising incomes for women. Also confounding them was the endless
range of domestic effects dependent on whether a wife wanted to work –
and why – or had to.

In the end, time simplified the picture.
More wives worked and made more money. More husbands appreciated it.
More families adapted. That's the gist of Rogers' new book comparing
the attitudes of married couples in 1980 to those in 2000.

Anyway, I'll just conclude this post by noting that today marks 13 years of marriage for Kim and me.  Kim has spent part of the time with a job, part just being a mom, but its all been great.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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