Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Happiest Wives - New York Times

(Thanks to Laura for the link.) The Happiest Wives - New York Times:

From a report on a recent study of 5000 married couples:

"Having an affectionate and understanding husband was by far the most important predictor of a woman's satisfaction with her marriage.
(what a shock!)

But it turns out that an equal division of labor didn't make husbands more affectionate or wives more fulfilled. The wives working outside the home reported less satisfaction with their husbands and their marriages than did the stay-at-home wives. And among those with outside jobs, the happiest wives, regardless of the family's overall income, were the ones whose husbands brought in at least two-thirds of the money."

OK, is there any chance that this was the most common arrangement anyway, and that there were simply more happy wives in this largest group?

Even if not, Tierney raises but then fairly quickly dismissed the sensible suggestion that it's hard to be a "social pioneer." But really, it is. It's hard to have people assume the mom does the pickups when in your house it's the dad. Hard not to be the one who does the pediatrician appointments if you always expected you would. Hard to want to cook the dinners and not have time to do it. And equally, hard to have to cook the dinners, do the pediatrician visits, do the pickups, and not have the training or the role models for it.

I'd say I'm fairly happy (I know I whine a lot, but really). I bring in most of the family income. Would it make me happier to bring in less of it? Sure it would: it would allow me to slack off every now and then. But, as Laura notes, the "two high earning model is too difficult to maintain." When we both worked full time, that was rough. No time for cooking, for cleaning, for just sitting around with the kids--what kind of life is that?

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