Both arguments lack some key elements…

Reader Response to “Don’t Marry Career Women” – Both arguments lack some key elements…

Both arguments lack some key elements…

Certainly an interesting point and counterpoint made by Mr. Noer and Ms. Corcoran, though personally I find a lot missing from both arguments.  While Mr. Noer does cite some relevant statistics, any educated person knows that statistics deal in probabilities and not practicalities.  Don’t get me wrong, statistics can be useful, but when it comes to marriage I prefer to place far more weight on what I see in real life based on the relationships going on around me.

Careers for women may have started out as a “choice” that women fought very hard to have, but they really are not by choice anymore.  The advice to not marry a career gal may apply to men in their 20’s, but honestly, any man in his 30’s and beyond is going to be hard-pressed to meet a woman who does not have a divorce behind her, kids to feed, and a career to support herself and those kids.  And a woman in that same age group is more likely to have developed a life for herself, out of both financial necessity and intellectual interest.  So where exactly does one find this non-high school drop out woman who is intelligent enough to keep a career man’s interest long-term, but who nevertheless works less than 35 hours a week and earns less than $30,000?  Perhaps working at a store in the mall, or in a restaurant.  But even the more “traditional” female roles such as teaching, nursing and secretarial work pay more than $30,000 these days.

My second point is that unfortunately infidelity has always been a reality.  It’s just that nobody talked about it much in past generations, and it was usually the man doing the cheating.  Most of the infidelity I am familiar with these days has two potential outcomes.  In the first scenario, the person simply gets bored and looks for some “excitement”, whatever that means to them.  Those are usually short-lived liaisons, leaving the person in hindsight to feel rather foolish, and therefore regretful that the grass was indeed not greener.  In the cases I have witnessed where infidelity leads to a long-term union, both people were career types who found one another interesting and relatable, often a co-worker situation.  So I have to conclude that, to some degree, Mr. Noer’s argument is tongue-in-cheek.  He cites that people who work outside the home are more likely to cheat, and that more educated people are more likely to cheat.  Those arguments hold true for men as much as women.  So, are we to conclude that to have a more stable marriage, both parties should be rather uneducated and not have careers?

Finally, I know a few stay-at-home moms or moms that work part-time in a non-career role who are very unhappy in their marriages.  The main reason they cite for staying in the marriage is purely financial, to continue to provide a standard of living for themselves and/or their kids.  So, I don’t buy the fact that these marriages are happier.  Statistically yes, they may be more likely to remain married, but it doesn’t usually have much to do with marital satisfaction.  And these couples tend to fight most often about what issue?  Money.  I am certainly not arguing against a non-career wife, for I also know single career women who have lots of disposable income and intellectual stimulation who nevertheless are unhappy because they don’t have a marriage and kids.  And I know women who are doing both and are just plain exhausted.

The bottom line is that life in general, and marriage and career in particular, have never been easy.  There were as many unsatisfied married people before “feminism” as there are today.  But to idealize an arrangement that is by and large a part of our society’s past is not practical.  Most families in middle-class America today need a double income, and both men and women are at least vaguely unhappy about it.  So unless we as a society plan to make a major shift and give up our constantly expanding desire to acquire toys and wealth, both genders need to figure out how to adapt.

08-26-2006 06:14 PM

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