Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Modern Men are Happier With Well-Educated Wives

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A new study led by researchers from the University of Wisconsin has found that today’s young husbands are the first generation of men to not find wives with an equal or better education “threatening.” In fact, unlike previous generations, younger married couples who are evenly matched, education-wise, are more likely to stay together than couples in which the husband has a higher level of education.

“Researchers studied data from thousands of couples who married over a period of more than 50 years, and, for marriages which took place between the 1950s and 1980s, those in which the wife had higher levels of education than the husband were around a third more likely to end in divorce than those in which the husband was better qualified. But for couples who married after the early 1990s, when women closed the gender gap in educational attainment, the trend has gone into reverse. And those who married since the turn of the century who have equal levels of education are now more likely to stay together than their counterparts in which the man was more qualified.”

Among the younger generation of married couples — those married in the 21st century — women who had less education than their husband were about 40% more likely to divorce than those with higher levels of education than their husbands. And women with an equal level of education were about 1/3 less likely to divorce than those with less education.

Researchers say: “These trends are consistent with a shift away from a breadwinner-homemaker model of marriage toward a more egalitarian model of marriage in which women’s status is less threatening to men’s gender identity. […] The relationship between one’s educational attainment, marriage formation, and risk of divorce appears to suggest that couples are adapting to the reality that women have more education than men. Overall, our results speak against fears that women’s growing educational advantage has had more negative effects on marital stability.”

A report earlier this year, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, stated that American women born in the early 1980s are 33% more likely to have earned a college degree by the time they’re 27 than men the same age. Based on a study of more than 9,000 men and women born between 1980-1984, women were found to be more likely to attend college and more likely to have finished their degree than their male contemporaries. Of the 70% of women who started college, 46% completed their bachelor’s degree by age 27, compared to 61% of men who started college and 39% who had completed their bachelor’s degree.

Now that it’s becoming the norm for modern wives to be better educated than their husbands, surely it’s just a matter of time before a larger percentage of young wives out-earn their husbands as well AND before men are totally not threatened by that. On the contrary, I think we’ll begin to see a shift of the “sugar daddy/ trophy wife” stereotypical model of marriage — which, of course, is just ONE model — to a sugar mama/ trophy husband stereotypical model of marriage. In other words: Addie Pray, your time for a trophy husband is coming (just keep on billing those hours, girl)!!

70 comments… add one
  • Portia

    Portia July 28, 2014, 3:50 pm

    Not sure if a PhD means more education than a JD or if they’re equal, but either way, things are looking good in my household! Not sure if I’d ever out-earn Bassanio, though… But sometimes I call him my houseboyfriend when he’s got the day off and is running errands – he likes it, probably because it comes with benefits.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray July 28, 2014, 3:58 pm

      so in re weighing the “doctorates” – MD, JD, PhD – in my head i “value” the MD, then the PhD, then the JD. I don’t have a clear definition of “value” here, but the MD and PhD just seems… harder/better/tougher/more impressive…. Maybe because I have a JD I feel like it’s ok for me to say that. If an MD said “yeah, I agree,” I would probably want to feel, but not feel, at all offended, ha.

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      • Portia

        Portia July 28, 2014, 4:04 pm

        Lol, I love it. Ok Addie, What about an MD vs. JD plus LLM? Because that’s what my parents have. Also, Bassanio is part-time getting an MA, so he’ll be a JD plus MA – what do you think, on par with a PhD? Obviously he wanted to catch up on degrees…

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 28, 2014, 4:11 pm

        Oh, I still say MD beats out JD+LLM, hands down. Maybe because I have a JD and could get an LLM but for doctor’s I’m like “zomg you know all the body parts, inside and out, and you know how to cut people open and fix them and you don’t even puke, holy fucking shit!”

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      • Portia

        Portia July 28, 2014, 4:15 pm

        He does impress me with his knowledge of all things medical. And non-medical – apparently he had to answer a random knowledge section on either the MCAT or his boards and it was about opera and CRUSHED IT.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 28, 2014, 4:12 pm

        this is fun. give me another one. of course, the most impressive person in all the land? the MD+PhD geniuses. holy. shit.balls. that is some stheriousth schooling.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 28, 2014, 4:14 pm

        That’s what my brother is!! (sorry, had to brag)

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 28, 2014, 4:18 pm

        brag away. that is impressive.

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      • Portia

        Portia July 28, 2014, 4:19 pm

        I agree, MD+PhD is like the pinnacle of schooling.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 28, 2014, 4:21 pm

        There area lot of JD+PhD’ers in my office (in the Intellectual Property group – you know, they work with medical patents and shit). That’s really impressive too. These crazies got their PhD in BIOLOGY, CHEMISTRY, NUCLEO-PHYSICAL-BIO-SOMETHING-SOMETHING-ISMS-OLGY-EMISTRY and THEN they went on to get their JD. Like, what the hell, you know? Let others get a degree, geez, haha

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      • Portia

        Portia July 29, 2014, 10:16 am

        Ha, they probably got their degree and were like, I don’t want to be in a lab all day AND I want to make lots of money! Because those multi-degrees make bank, they are so in demand. Also, engineer-lawyers who do patent law, there are always jobs in that area… When he was first out of law school, Bassanio was like, I should have at least done an undergrad in science, getting a job would be so much easier.

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      • avatar

        shakeourtree July 28, 2014, 4:39 pm

        Oh, I have one! What about JD v. EdD? For sibling rivalry purposes, I need to know!

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 28, 2014, 4:44 pm

        According to Addie News & World Report, the JD beats the EdD.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 28, 2014, 4:53 pm

        But the AN&WR is, admittedly, not as familiar with the Ed.D. So there you go.. Also the AN&WR can be really snotty. Like it gets really peeved when a D.O. calls himself “Dr. So and So.” Yet, it’s ok with “Dr. PhD.” Yet, only an M.D. can say “I’m a doctor,” even though the PhD is allowed to call himself “Dr. So and So,” he just can’t refer to himself as a doctor.
        *
        Go figure!

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      • avatar

        shakeourtree July 28, 2014, 5:05 pm

        Well, I still feel vindicated. His EdD is coming from a less prestigious school than my law school, so that adds to it.

        I will have to disagree with you on the DO thing. MDs and DOs are essentially interchangeable, except that DOs have to go through additional training for the OMM stuff.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 28, 2014, 5:23 pm

        No no on, you cannot interchange MDs and DOs. Trust me. Why? Because, that’s why!

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      • Portia

        Portia July 29, 2014, 10:21 am

        I know a bunch of people from my (fairly prestigious) school that got EdD’s and honestly, the stuff they were doing did not seem to the same difficulty level as what I was doing at the same time. They did a little bit of linguistic-y stuff (discourse analysis was one I remember) and it was about equal to stuff I did in undergrad linguistics. I mean, these were all very smart people I knew, but they had extra time to do stuff like run student government, which I definitely did not have time for…

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      • othy

        othy July 28, 2014, 5:17 pm

        All the MD+PhD’s I know are complete assholes. I’m not saying it’s true of all, but at least in my small circle they’re the ones who are the hardest to work with.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 28, 2014, 5:22 pm

        That’s ok. In this ranking game you are allowed to let your personal experiences dictate the rules for all.

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      • othy

        othy July 28, 2014, 5:27 pm

        Now, if they had a MD and a PhD in Burrito Science, I think they would rule the universe.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 28, 2014, 4:17 pm

        JD+LLM or JD+MA (even multiple MAs), I say, is still less than a PhD. *But* I guess maybe it would depend on what the PhD and MAs were…. What’s your PhD in? If it’s in burritos I say he wins. If it’s in nuclear physics, I say you win. If it’s somewhere in the middle, then it may harder. (do you like how i’m just freely judging the shit out of shit?) ok, give me another one.

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      • Portia

        Portia July 28, 2014, 4:19 pm

        You are free to judge the shit out of shit. Also, my second PhD will be in burrito science.

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      • Portia

        Portia July 28, 2014, 4:22 pm

        My first PhD is in linguistics, his masters is going to be in applied economics. Of course, I had to learn plenty of stats and whatnot for my dissertation analysis, so he’s asked me in advance to help him with the statistical software.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 28, 2014, 4:23 pm

        OH THAT’S RIGHT, YOU’RE THE LINGUISTICS GIRL!

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 28, 2014, 4:27 pm

        ok, in my quest to rank people based on degrees (i should get a degree in ranking people based on degrees): first, I need to know how many post docs you did. then, depending on what you say, i’ll say: you’re winning, plus you get a brownie point from getting a PHD in topic I personally find very interesting and if you have more than one post doc i say you get like a cherry on top of your brownie point *but* i also recognize that multiple post docs could be a sign of not getting a tenured position or corporate job so after 2 post docs i’m going to dock you points for additional post docs but then once your husband gets his MD he will be in the lead unless he becomes… time out, i got tired of ranking people based on degrees. Judging is an exhausting job.

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      • Portia

        Portia July 28, 2014, 4:28 pm

        Thaaaaaat’s me! I think there’s another one around, I remember seeing a wug on an avatar…

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 28, 2014, 4:34 pm

        I don’t know what wug means…. Now on to Google to see if I should be embarrassed about admitting not knowing…

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      • Portia

        Portia July 29, 2014, 12:18 am

        Ha, don’t worry, it’s a reference to something in for language acquisition called the “wug test.” Basically they gave kids fake words that correspond with pictures and tried to get them to form plurals. They showed them a picture that looked like this: http://cairnarvon.rotahall.org/pics/wug.png and were like, “this is a ‘wug,'” then showed them a picture of two of them and were like, “OK, now there are two of them, there are two ___” and the kids usually filled in the blank with “wugs,” but also gave others, like “wuggen” (like ox – oxen) or “wug” (like fish – fish).
        .
        Side note: if I ended up having kids, I would experiment on their language use all the time. And record them like every few weeks. They would hate me…

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      • Portia

        Portia July 29, 2014, 12:19 am

        *child language acquisition

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  • avatar

    artsygirl July 28, 2014, 3:54 pm

    I have an Masters degree while my husband only has a Bachelors of Science. Of course he makes more than twice my salary so I guess it evens out (damn you humanities).

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy July 28, 2014, 5:49 pm

      Like you, I have a masters degree to my husband’s bachelors degree, and I am, of course, out-earned by a lot. Drew has never made secret that he would LOVE for me to make a lot of money and he would happily quit his job and be a stay-at-home dad. I think I’d have to win the lottery for that to happen, alas.

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      • avatar

        artsygirl July 29, 2014, 4:03 pm

        My husband has said the same to me. He has promised that if I ever make a lot of money (the head of my job makes over $400,000 and has a work provided historic house), he would stay at home and keep it clean, cook all the meals, and work out all the time to look pretty for me ;).

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    • avatar

      Simonthegrey July 28, 2014, 11:03 pm

      I have a MA in Theology. My husband got his AA in Medical Office Administration Assisting. It’s never been an issue. He’s really smart, well read, etc., but the kind of guy who doesn’t do well in institutional settings like school (ace the test, never do homework, that kind of thing).

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  • avatar

    TECH July 28, 2014, 3:55 pm

    I’m a single woman who is well educated and makes a good income, and I am not worried about what potential love interests think of my education or income. Strangely, I am worried about how they feel about me owning a home. It’s gotten to the point where I won’t bring up in the early stages of dating that I own a house. They can just assume I’m renting if they want to, and then I’ll tell them eventually when it comes up.
    I would like to think that the right guy would respect and admire me for everything I have worked for to get my home, but I’ve been told that some men are threatened by it. I’m not sure if it’s just all in my head.

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    • Lyra

      Lyra July 28, 2014, 4:05 pm

      GIRL, yeah it’s all in your head. The right guy would be impressed. I know so many awesome guys that are so proud of their significant others/wives. In one of the families that I teach lessons for this summer, the wife has a really freaking awesome, well-paying job, and the husband stays home with their 4 kids. Their kids are fantastic, and the family is really great. The husband loves that he can stay at home with his kids. And that’s just one example.

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      • avatar

        Marcie July 28, 2014, 4:09 pm

        My husband and I broke up for 11 months when we were dating. In the time that we broke up, I graduated college, got my first job, and bought my own place. He was really impressed by what I had accomplished. I don’t understand guys who are threatened by a successful woman.

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      • Portia

        Portia July 28, 2014, 4:11 pm

        Agreed, the right guy won’t care. They’d think you’re awesome for being so successful. My BIL has a less prestigous job and is paid less than my SIL, but he’s still so proud of her and you can tell. I recently learned that he’s generally more conservative (in terms of gender roles and politically) and it was a shock to me because of how happy he is for his wife’s success. She also owns their home and bought it before they got together.

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      • avatar

        TECH July 28, 2014, 4:12 pm

        Thank you for saying that. I think I just need to be reminded that it’s all in my head. Actually, my hope is that I will meet someone eventually, I’ll be able to sell my house, and we can combine our money to get a nicer house together. Who knows if it will happen, but I would like to think the right guy would not be threatened by that.
        I think the issue is that a lot of guys my age (I’m 28) don’t own houses yet. But yeah, the right should be proud of me. Just haven’t met him yet.

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      • veritek33

        veritek33 July 28, 2014, 4:38 pm

        The right guy will be impressed. My ex was impressed at first, and then kept comparing the fact that he was 31 when he bought his house and I was 24 and blah blah blah. The guy I’m dating now gives no shits that I own my own house. He loves my house. And he’s never made me feel bad for owning it.

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      • avatar

        Marcie July 28, 2014, 5:15 pm

        I hope you are proud of yourself!

        When all of my friends were getting married, I was buying my place, at 23. Now, that was 10 years ago and things for college graduates are different, but it was great. I’m so glad I had that experience of buying my own place and living alone. Especially since sadly, some of those friends who were married at 21 are getting that experience now that they are getting divorced.

        You’ll most likely never regret buying your house and never putting your life on hold for a guy. That’s a great feeling.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray July 28, 2014, 4:33 pm

      GIRL, it is so NOT in your head. I think a lot of people are intimidated by home ownership.

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      • avatar

        Kate July 28, 2014, 4:46 pm

        Addie, you think? I never got the sense that anyone cared either way when I was dating in my 20s and 30s.

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      • avatar

        Kate July 28, 2014, 4:49 pm

        Meaning, they were not impressed OR threatened.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray July 28, 2014, 5:00 pm

        Maybe they’re impressed, but a lot of men are threatened. I know men who are not threatened at all by it; I know men who have been threatened by it, and I know great guys who, I think, nevertheless would be threatened by it but it’s not an issue because their girlfriends earn less. I have a colleague whose girlfriend is kind of irresponsible and doesn’t make a lot of money and can’t seem to hold down a job and is not very savvy when it comes to business and shit (not that all of those things are necessarily linked together, but they are for her) and he is always bitching about her but at the same time I think he kind of loves to be the savior. I think she makes him feel like generous and like he has his shit together. So, I don’t know what that’s about. But anyway, yeah, I see it a lot; I think even today it’s still a big issue, albeit not as bad as before.

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  • veritek33

    veritek33 July 28, 2014, 4:41 pm

    As far as education, I’ve dated both ends of the spectrum. I’ve dated guys with less education than me and more. And honestly, the ones with less formal education have been the better boyfriends, lol.
    My ex had a Masters degree from USC and thought he was hot shit but was still intimidated by the fact that I made more money than him. My current gentleman friend is still finishing his bachelor’s degree at the age of 28, but has a great job and a house and thinks my degree and my job are awesome. In the end, it really shouldn’t matter. Education is nice but it’s not the be all, end all.

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    • avatar

      ktfran July 28, 2014, 5:33 pm

      500 thumbs up for using gentleman friend.

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      • veritek33

        veritek33 July 28, 2014, 5:58 pm

        lol, so much classier than boyfriend. I just personally feel weird calling someone my boyfriend at nearly 30 years old. He’s a man. A gentleman in fact 😉

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  • Miel

    Miel July 28, 2014, 4:54 pm

    I’m waiting for the day where I’ll get a formal invitation addressed to Mr.MyBoyfriendName and Dr.MyName. That will make me feel so superior. It will be great. The problem is, we’ll probably received everything addressed to Mr and Mrs. HisLastName which will make me pissed !!! They say the best part about having a PhD is making people call you “Doctor” and I’m not there yet, but I can already say it’s going to be true.

    A professor here usually gets formal mail addressed to Mr.HisName and Dr.HisWifeName. But they are both doctors. He’s a PhD and she’s a MD. Apparently PhD doesn’t count for the suffix, which proves Addie’s point about MD being above PhD.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones July 28, 2014, 5:09 pm

    My husband kind of hates being seen as “Mr. Dr. Sue Jones”, but he has to suck it up when he comes with me to conferences. He knows I’m a catch! Since I am (ahem) so much older than y’all, we were one of the earlier couples to break the mold of a higher earning wife. And most of my female friends who settled for a more traditional marriage are divorced now. And I’m still married! And everyone said it would never last… That is my final “fuck you” to all of the guys who were too intimidated by my degree and profession to date me in my 30’s. They are almost all divorced too. So satisfying in an evil, malicious, schadenfreude sort of way too 🙂

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    • avatar

      trixy minx July 28, 2014, 11:15 pm

      I love this.

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  • something random

    something random July 28, 2014, 5:17 pm

    Yikes, Jones. Remind me never to cross you in a dark alley.

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    • avatar

      Sue Jones July 28, 2014, 9:25 pm

      Awwwww , I’m a quiet pussycat in person. Only on these forums are my true thoughts revealed!

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      • something random

        something random July 28, 2014, 10:52 pm

        It’s always the quiet ones 😉

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  • othy

    othy July 28, 2014, 5:26 pm

    When we married, I had my bachelor’s and Othello was in and out of school working on his. Then I got into a Master’s program (in Statistics, so well worth the money and time), and we really only had the money for one of us to go. Luckily, he worked at the university I went to, so I was able to get half off tuition, which really made a difference. Now that my degree is done and I’m making the mega bucks (hahahaha, mostly I’m making enough to comfortably support both of us), he’s quit his job and has gone back to school. And I now work at said university, so I’m getting half off for his tuition.

    He’ll be done by this time next year, and he’ll have a degree in English. Which isn’t great for job prospects. However, we’re doing fine on just my salary, so I’m trying to convince him to apply to the MFA in Creative Writing program for next fall. Or the PhD in creative writing (mostly so he’d get a stipend). Either way, I’d love to see him be as educated or more than I am.

    Although, for the record, a Masters of Statistics >>> Master of Fine Arts. But don’t tell Othello I think that.

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  • avatar

    tbrucemom July 28, 2014, 6:12 pm

    Just because you have a college degree doesn’t necessarily make you smarter than someone that doesn’t. I’ve know many people with college degrees that were not very bright and lots of people with out them that were brilliant, they just chose different life paths. I think intellect levels should be similar for the sake of conversation and compatibility and they can be even without having the same college resumes.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest July 29, 2014, 9:36 am

      I’ve found this to be true too. I know someone who never went to college and is probably the smartest person I know, if smarts are judged by Jeopardy answers at least. Haha.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover July 29, 2014, 7:16 pm

      Wow, you got a lot of downvotes for that. I wonder which part people disagreed with?

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  • avatar

    RedRoverRedRover July 28, 2014, 7:03 pm

    I’ve never found education to be a sticking point; I found salary a bigger problem. It got to the point where I removed my salary range from my online dating profile, and right after I did that, the number of guys contacting me went waaay up.

    To be honest, it actually is harder when the woman makes a lot more, because of the way our society looks at dating. It’s romantic when a man pays for a woman, but not when a woman does for a man. And you definitely can’t pay for something big, like a vacation, when the guy won’t even let you buy him a meal.

    I dated one guy who made less than a third what I did. I didn’t really care, and I don’t think he did either. But we could never go out and do the things I liked to do. Dinner would be takeout, and entertainment would be TV or a movie. Once we went out to a movie. But if he couldn’t afford his half, we didn’t do it, which meant we basically did nothing. And I’m fine with cheap dates, but not all the time, especially when I can easily afford non-cheap dates. If I’d have been the man, I’d have at least been allowed to buy a few dinners, or tickets to a show, or whatever. Maybe there are some guys who are ok with the woman paying the lion’s share, but I never met one.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy July 28, 2014, 7:31 pm

      That would suck. I can see how you’d begin to resent never being able to have the dates you’d like (and can afford!) because of your male date’s fragile ego.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover July 28, 2014, 10:14 pm

        Wendy replied to me!!! Am I internet famous now? 🙂

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      • avatar

        trixy minx July 28, 2014, 11:13 pm

        Yes.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover July 29, 2014, 12:39 am

        !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest July 29, 2014, 9:37 am

      People put their salary range on dating profiles?!

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover July 29, 2014, 7:12 pm

        The site I used did. It’s Canadian, might be defunct now. I met my husband on it in 2006 and never went back, so I don’t know if it kept that feature or not.

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  • Lyra

    Lyra July 28, 2014, 7:47 pm

    It is pretty sad that some men see women who make more and/or have a higher degree than they do as intimidating. Navy Guy actually earns a little bit less than I do with his Navy stipend and his reserve paycheck, but he has more earning potential than I do because of his chosen career path. I chose my career and I knew that I would never really earn that much money going in. No teacher goes in it for the money. I live below my means and I know that I can support myself. It’s cool to know that I’m making it by myself! 🙂

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray July 28, 2014, 9:12 pm

    Oh man, I was so busy billing hours (and ranking degrees) that I didn’t read Wendy’s advice and the shout out to AP. Boom!! I’d like to just meet a nice simple guy who likes pizza and talking about FEELINGS and who will play with my hair and do romantic manly gestures like go to Walgreens in the middle of the night for a plunger when the toilet gets clogged, you know? 😉

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    • avatar

      Sue Jones July 28, 2014, 9:29 pm

      Sounds like my sweet crazy husband!7

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  • Jess

    Jess July 29, 2014, 12:02 pm

    Yep. Our household fits the trend and we are even a bit older than the demographic mentioned here. I have a higher degree and out-earn my husband. But I also happen to think he is smarter and better-read than I am so its seems more a question of life choices than smarts.

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  • avatar

    kali July 29, 2014, 2:54 pm

    Weighing in on ranking degrees: My Dad, the PhD, always complained that he helped his fraternity brothers pass their biology classes yet they went on to become MDs and make way more money than he did with fewer years of schooling.

    On the other hand, a Ph.D. is called Dr. So-and-So and still very useful when getting restaurant reservations and such.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray July 29, 2014, 3:59 pm

    I have a BFA and my husband went to college for 4 years but doesn’t have a degree. I think he’s a lot smarter than me and he talks about going back to college to at least get a degree. Right now he is not making any money as he travels as a musician, so I am the breadwinner. Before when he’s worked a few jobs, I still out earned him. I’ve always wanted to be the partner who makes more (not that I really care all that much) but I admit I would feel I’m not equal enough if I had a partner who made a lot more money than me. It more has to do with how I grew up. I love the idea of me being the breadwinner and my husband staying at home at least part-time when we have a kid sometime.

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