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The rise of wives


Marriage has been described as an institution that brings together two people,

"under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions. They are required to swear that  they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part" -   George Bernard Shaw


Wives as breadwinners

A report from the Pew Research Center called “the rise of wives” based on a study of Census data, found that a third of the time the wife is better educated than her husband. Wives are now the primary breadwinner in 22 percent of couples in the USA. The strange result is that the evidence shows a positive effect - lower divorce rates and happier unions.

More egalitarian relationshipsStephanie Coontz

“Women are more likely to pick men who support a more egalitarian relationship,” said Stephanie Coontz, author of “Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage.”
She pointed to herself as an example. “In my marriage, I have more education and, because he’s retired, more income,” she said. “I picked him not because I needed a meal ticket, but because I liked the fact that he respected me and had no problem sharing the responsibilities of daily life with me. More and more women now are able to make those choices.”

Lower divorce rates

Divorce rates in the United States have fallen as women have made economic gains. There were 23 divorces per 1,000 couples in the late 1970s, and now fewer than 17 divorces per 1,000 couples. Apparently, the more economically independent and educated a woman, the more likely she stays married. Lynn Prince Cooke, at the University of Kent, U.K., found that American couples who share employment and housework are less likely to divorce.

Independent women are more selective

Sociologists say that financially independent women are more selective in marrying, and can negotiate with more power. The result is a marriage that is more equitable to both husbands and wives. There are new challenges with the new gender roles. Women earn more and men take on more caring. Sometimes men have a hard time adjusting to a woman’s greater power. However, women, struggle in giving up power at home and hang on to controlling domestic tasks.

Still not equal

All is not equal. Linda Duxbury, professor at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University said that, “In many ways women are their own worst enemies — we want men to do it, but we want to tell them how they should do it.” Women still do about two-thirds of the housework, according to a National Survey of Families and Households. But men do contribute to housework twice as much as they used to and they spend triple the time caring for children.