Studies: Marriages Unhappier With Career Wives


Marrying a career woman increases the risk of unhappy marriages and divorce, wrote Michael Noer, executive news editor for The bold claim backed by recent studies unleashed a furor of criticism. Noer wrote,

[R]ecent studies have found professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat and less likely to have children. And, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it. [W]omen—even those with a “feminist” outlook—are happier when their husband is the primary breadwinner.

Noer isn’t saying that there are no happily married career women, just that women who work outside the home for 35 hours a week or more are less likely to be happy than those who work in the home.

He goes on to reference several studies to prove his claim:

If a host of studies are to be believed, marrying these [career] women is asking for trouble. If they quit their jobs and stay home with the kids, they will be unhappy (Journal of Marriage and Family, 2003). They will be unhappy if they make more money than you do (Social Forces, 2006). You will be unhappy if they make more money than you do (Journal of Marriage and Family, 2001). You will be more likely to fall ill (American Journal of Sociology). Even your house will be dirtier (Institute for Social Research).

Noer then goes on to offer an explanation:

Why? … In classic economics, a marriage is, at least in part, an exercise in labor specialization. Traditionally, men have tended to do “market” or paid work outside the home, and women have tended to do “nonmarket” or household work, including raising children. All of the work must get done by somebody, and this pairing, regardless of who is in the home and who is outside the home, accomplishes that goal. Nobel laureate Gary S. Becker argued that when the labor specialization in a marriage decreases—if, for example, both spouses have careers—the overall value of the marriage is lower for both partners because less of the total needed work is getting done, making life harder for both partners and divorce more likely. And, indeed, empirical studies have concluded just that.

It should be no surprise that these studies fall right in line with a foundational biblical principle: that men and women are happiest when fulfilling their God-ordained roles. Although society buries this truth by calling the Bible archaic and outdated, it is harder to ignore the science that once again demonstrates the timeliness of the Bible.

Marriage is a God-ordained relationship. Our Creator left the Bible as an instruction manual to show us how to live happy, peaceful and productive lives, and in it God clearly outlines the roles He intends men and women to fulfill. What Noer calls labor specialization is exactly how God intended families to work. This arrangement makes men and women most likely to be happy, as Noer points out.

While Noer mentions that even feminist women are happier when men are the breadwinners, Noer fails to expound on that important point. The failure of lazy men to accept and succeed in their God-given role as leader and provider has greatly contributed to so many women leaving their God-ordained roles.

If men and women would believe what the Bible says and embrace their roles, their chances of happiness would increase by leaps and bounds. However, society long ago rejected the Bible as truth and has since tried to ignore its principles, as the outrage over Noer’s piece proves. Unlike Noer, these critics have no studies to back their bold criticism. The critics may discount the Bible as truth, but they have to discount the science, too.