More educated women are "marrying down"

<p>An article today in NYT</p>

<p>"TODAY women earn almost 60 percent of all bachelor’s degrees and more than half of master’s and Ph.D.’s. Many people believe that, while this may be good for women as income earners, it bodes ill for their marital prospects. "</p>

<p><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/opinion/sunday/marriage-suits-educated-women.html?src=recg%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/opinion/sunday/marriage-suits-educated-women.html?src=recg&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>I just attended my (private, all female) high school reunion (class of early 70s) and I would say half of my peers earn more than their husbands so it's not a recent phenomenon.</p>

<p>I haven't read the article yet, but I'd be surprised if a husband's lower earning capacity would necessarily be a strain on the marriage IF he were picking up the slack at home. Of all my college friends, myself included, almost all of us have had husbands at home doing the lion's share of domestic jobs and child-rearing for at least part of the last 25 years. Our husbands not only changed diapers, ran the vaccum, and cooked fabulous dinners, but they also fixed the cars and did all the manly stuff around the house. With a deal like that, a wife can see a good thing when it's staring her in the face. Who cares who makes more money?</p>

<p>My husband has always been extremely supportive of my making money, whether it was as the primary wage earner (which I was for the first 5 years of our marriage) or not. I know lots of women my age who make more than their husbands. What's the big deal? I question the cultural assumption that the man making more than the woman is "normal" and the reverse is the "aberration" that needs to be dealt with somehow.</p>

<p>I object to the phrase "marrying down". It's probably just to attract readers, but it's insulting to men who, for one reason or another, may not be earning as much as their wives right now. I suppose it's the flip side of "marrying up", another outdated and objectionable phrase.</p>

<p>I read the article, which seems a little fluffy for the New York Times. What is it really saying? Does it take a position, or does it waffle -- it brings up some creaky tropes -- “Warning! ... Be careful not to seem smarter than your man" then at the end, seems to reverse itself:</p>

<p>"(Marriage rates) have slipped less for educated women than for anyone else. Furthermore, college-educated women, once they do marry, are much less likely to divorce. As a result, by age 30, and especially at ages 35 and 40, college-educated women are significantly more likely to be married than any other group. And according to calculations by the economist Betsey Stevenson, an educated woman still single at age 40 is much more likely to marry in the next decade than her less educated counterparts."</p>

<p>So...what was the author's point? That women are increasingly outearning their mates? This is a bad thing?</p>

<p>I think we have already started rethinking some outdated stereotypes and develop new roles (or no roles at all). Gone are the days when most men made the money and most women stayed home. I think men and women need to redefine what it means to take care of your family.</p>

<p>I guess I married "down". DH "only" has a bachelors degree. I have a post masters degree education.My job required at least a masters degree...his doesn't. Does it count that DH makes double what my salary was? Is that "included" in this study?</p>

<p>
[quote]
So...what was the author's point? That women are increasingly outearning their mates? This is a bad thing?

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</p>

<p>I got comments a lot when Mom3ToGo and I were first a couple about being a kept man ... and for the life of me I can not understand the viewpoint. She works full time and I work full time ... I make X ... she can make more than X or less than X ... we have a mortgage, life in general, and 3 kids college bills in the future ... why on earth would I prefer she makes less? </p>

<p>Someone in a couple will make more and someone will make less ... fortunately I found a mate who agrees it doesn't matter squat who makes more as long as we're both doing our share (and that definition has changed over time with kids and grad school and family situations etc).</p>

<p>SAHD here for past decade...the phrase 'marrying down " is ridiuclous...though i do resent the term Mr Mom just as much. ;)</p>

<p>D1 is already making more money than her BF, maybe I should have her read this article.:)</p>

<p>I know a lot of women who make money than their H, but maybe it is the business I am in. They have all been married for 20+ years, so I assume there is no issue. </p>

<p>H and I got married right out of college. We started out making the same amount, but because I got into banking, I just ended up making more over time. When it came time to have kids, we decided to have one to spend more time at home. We actually took turn. He was travelling 25+ weeks a year and I was working (part time). We finally decided for me to return full time and had H work from home (start his own business). Financially, it worked out better for us. Now kids are almost gone, I am thinking about working less, and have H travel more again for his business.</p>

<p>
[quote]
in a forthcoming paper from the council on contemporary families, oriel sullivan, a researcher at oxford university, reports that the higher a woman’s human capital in relation to her husband — measured by her educational resources and earnings potential — the more help with housework she actually gets from her mate. the degree to which housework is shared is now one of the two most important predictors of a woman’s marital satisfaction. and husbands benefit too, since studies show that women feel more sexually attracted to partners who pitch in.

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</p>

<p>.......... :)</p>

<p>
[quote]
the degree to which housework is shared is now one of the two most important predictors of a woman’s marital satisfaction.

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</p>

<p>Well...we share the housework and always have.</p>

<p>I'm not sure if that makes as much difference in my generation as it did in previous generations. My boyfriend makes more than I do but he doesn't have a college education and firmly believes I'll make more than him someday when I have more experience, and I probably will. He seems to think more in terms of the household income rather than his versus mine, we just don't have that kind of attitude and don't compare. Most of the men I know are looking for women who can make enough money to be at least equal contributors, as someone who isn't making very much money right now and likes the idea of being a SAHM when I have young children, it's actually a little bit stressful for me when it comes to considering future marriage prospects. The expectations of both men and women when it comes to these things are changing, and it's not just the women.</p>

<p>^^ If you want to be a SAHM - you need to make that very clear. You need a partner who supports you in that decision and values your choice. </p>

<p>IMHO as an older woman :)</p>

<p>Also - it will probably impact future choices. Think about what you want to do later. One of my friends, after staying home for 20 years, (during which time she was very active in local politics) started a very small private law practice and imagines working into her 90s. We know a woman attorney this age who went back to work in her 60s.</p>

<p>There are lots of options.</p>

<p>My DH has a masters, I have a Ph.D., but in no way do I consider that I "married down". Thats just silly. His salary surpassed mine a while ago (thought initially I made more than he- so what?).</p>

<p>
[quote]
So...what was the author's point? That women are increasingly outearning their mates?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>No, just that more of them are more educated. The article does not address salaries at all. And it does not seem too surprising that we have seen more women earning college degrees than men, since historically, men have had many more higher paying career options available to them than women that do not require a college education. For women, more than men, the best way to increase their earning potential has been through higher education.</p>

<p>A lot of the women I work with make more than their husbands. In fact, some of their husbands don't have 4 year college degrees whereas most of the women have master's degrees.</p>

<p>Totally agree with alh - if you want to be a SAHM, you need to make sure you marry someone who will be able to make enough money to allow you to do so or you need to be willing to be be very frugal. A lot of those ladies in my office who make more than their husbands would love to have been SAHMs but couldn't. In fact, a lot of the women who make less than their husbands would have loved to have stayed at home with their children but couldn't. This is something you need to plan for before you get marry.</p>

<p>When my husband and I were first married, we banked all my salary and lived off his (we still do this today). This allowed me to be a SAHM because we never got use to living off two salaries. It's harder to go back to one when you have set yourself up to need both incomes.</p>

<p>"the degree to which housework is shared is now one of the two most important predictors of a woman’s marital satisfaction"</p>

<p>UH-OH!</p>

<p>Working mom here - all of my working mom colleagues often say we would love to have a SAHH taking care of the housework and parenting! Many of us feel that we would be further along in our careers if we could have focused more on the career part.</p>

<p>As an investment banker that married an army guy, I outearned my H many times over and he LOVED it. Then we put his career first and I went "flexible" so that he could travel for the civilian career and one of us could do the kid driving, supervising, etc. No reason a wife outearning a husband should be newsworthy in my opinion. Should be expected, really, given the gender stuff with testing results and college enrollment data. Anecdotically, I expect my D will significantly outearn my S!</p>

<p>
[quote]
If you want to be a SAHM - you need to make that very clear. You need a partner who supports you in that decision and values your choice.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>But there is a problem here. Many women don't know whether this is what they want until after the child is born. They don't know how they will respond to the situation until they get there. </p>

<p>Then, some may be surprised to find themselves thinking "I don't want my child spending most of his/her waking hours in the care of someone other than myself or my spouse" or, conversely, "I find being a full-time parent boring and unfulfilling. I want to get back to work as soon as possible."</p>

<p>For many families, of course, there is no choice. Practical considerations, such as the need for two incomes, may dictate the decision. But where there is a choice, people may find that decisions made before the child is born don't seem to make sense later.</p>

<p>Or, alternatively, one income may be the only option if one person can't make enough to break even with daycare costs, as is the case with my sister who is a mother of 5 kids under age 10-- yikes! It's a very personal decision, one that I haven't made yet and suspect I won't be able to be sure about until I've actually had children. The best I can do now is work on choosing a partner who is open to all the possibilities. It sounds like that's what I have now, but those men are becoming a lot harder to find. The days of men taking issue with their wives making more than them sound quite antiquated from where I'm standing. It seems to me a lot of todays young men expect women to fulfil quite a lot of their traditional gender roles while still being career driven and bringing home a reasonable paycheck, and that is a LOT of pressure!</p>

<p>This is something worth to have a discussion before getting married. Not about if it´s ok if one should make more money or higher degree, but about how you want to raise a family. There are men (my friends) who expect their wifes to be working all the time in order to contribute. There are men who expect their wifes to stay home (not them) when they have kids, or stay home after they get married. Of course there are women who never want to work after having kids or always want to have a high power career. Circumstance change as people evolve, but it is worth it to know how flexible the other person is before making the commitment.</p>

<p>Being in the position of not being able to cover daycare costs for children is a bad, bad position for a woman to be in, IMO. It's one thing to SAH because you choose to -- it's another thing to be there because you have no earning capacity.</p>