There are several reasons married couples choose to divorce. Statistically, divorce is more likely if a woman earns more money than her husband. According to data from Pew Research Center, 60% of college graduates are women, and nearly half of them marry men without a college degree. Additionally, a study from the University of Chicago reveals that divorce rates rise 50% when the wife earns more than her husband, especially among younger married couples. For decades, husbands have been the primary or sole financial provider for families, and the swift change in this dynamic over the past 20 years has yet to see our social dynamic alter to compensate for this shift.
This reality does not have to be grim, though. Close to 50% of marriages in this demographic report being “happily married.” Being married to a woman breadwinner is not an automatic route toward divorce. Here are some tips for keeping a healthy marriage.
Communication is Key
Every marriage is unique; there are no cookie-cutter answers to navigate these shifting roles in today’s marriage climate. However, there are ways to ensure a marriage with a woman breadwinner does not lead to divorce. Communication, humility, emotional intelligence, and empathy are all fundamental aspects in building a solid foundation of any marriage but are vitally important when the traditional gender roles are swapped. Without these fundamentals, resentment on either side can grow and foster an unhealthy environment that could lead to divorce. As with everything in marriage, talk to your spouse, and understand their goals, needs, and desires.
Keep Your Business and Work Separate
Married couples will always be versed in their spouse’s work/business stressors; however, allowing those stressors to dictate the emotional tone of a marriage is detrimental to a healthy union. Keep your spouse informed, but do not let it become a focal point of the marriage.
Be Willing to Shift Roles
If the breadwinner of the household is the woman, then their traditional role cannot be the same as it was for previous generations. Men in these situations must be willing to adapt their role in a marriage to provide emotional and domestic stability. The days where this was solely the wife’s role are dwindling, and without establishing new roles between each other, your marriage is bound to be troublesome. Swapping these gender dynamics may be awkward, but maintaining respect and showing a willingness to strengthen your marriage will go a long way.
As a family law attorney for 25 years, I’ve seen the full gamut of marriages and divorces. These tips can be helpful in maintaining a healthy and happy marriage. However, sometimes a marriage becomes irreparable, and if that is the case, there are several ways, such as mediation, to amicably split without exacerbating damaged feelings or awkward circumstances. If you feel your marriage is nearing this breaking point, contact your family law attorney to gauge the best options available for your situation.