Monday, September 04, 2006

The marrying kind

The best marriage or relationship advice I ever got was from my grandmother. She said, "don't get involved in other people's relationship problems, and don't volunteer advice." I do think she broke her own rule a little, but as matriarch of the family she tried real hard to stay out of the advice business as much as possible. She preferred help in specific situations to providing suggestions or advice.

Here is some advice from Forbes for the men out there, "Don't marry a career woman." Xeni Jardin is appropriately up in arms over there at Boing Boing, mostly with the gender stereotype reversal of this advice. She switches the guys and girls to get advice seemingly appropriate for 1956 (just reverse it, "Girl's don't marry career men"). The article does seem to just switch the stereotypes as opposed to having something important to say about family and career balance, which would be more helpful. Perhaps they are trying to be sensational. Because of the controversy Forbes added a counterpoint.

My worry is over the definition of a career woman:
To be clear, we're not talking about a high-school dropout minding a cash register. For our purposes, a "career girl" has a university-level (or higher) education, works more than 35 hours a week outside the home and makes more than $30,000 a year.
That definition not only includes everyone I would have ever wanted to marry but also the specific person I am going to marry. The article goes on to describe the statistically suggested trouble that will befall you if you do so:
If a host of studies are to be believed, marrying these 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).
You and I both know what you can do with statistics. I think that I will have to take my chances.

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