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Husbands and wives often juggle traditional roles

Forty or more years ago, the collective societal view of a traditional marriage consisted of one man, one woman and two or three children. The dynamics of this traditional family were also fairly predictable with husbands working outside of the home and acting as breadwinners while wives stayed home to take care of children and tend to the home. Fast forward to today and U.S. society has a much more broad definition of a traditional American family.

Today, the marriages of same-sex couples are legally recognized in many states and many same-sex couples also choose to have children. Additionally, a growing number of men and women are choosing to forgo marriage altogether, but still choose to live together and raise families. Even amongst hetero-sexual couples who elect to go the more traditional route and marry, much has changed related to the responsibilities and roles each fulfill within a marriage.

During the women's liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s, a greater percentage of women began pursuing educational and career opportunities. As a result, women grew increasingly independent as many were afforded freedoms that were denied to women of previous generations. As a larger percentage of women made the decision to go to college, for a growing number obtaining an education and landing a good-paying job grew increasingly important.

Research indicates, however, that during the 1950's, 60s and 70s, women’s aspirations to obtain a college degree often resulted in their husbands feeling emasculated which lead to divorce. Not so today say researchers who conducted a study looking at how women's education impacts divorce rates, particularly in cases where a wife has more education than her husband. The results of a new study, which is published in the American Sociological Review, indicate that since the 1990s, marriages in which a wife is more educated than her husband are no more likely to end in divorce.

Researchers believe the study's findings reflect larger changes in societal views with regard to the roles men and women should play. In short, today there are no rules and a wife may be a breadwinner while her husband stays home to raise the children.

Source: USA Today, "A more educated wife: Not a recipe for divorce," Kim Painter, July 24, 2014

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