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Why Be Married? Because I Can Handle Family Life

I found this new study interesting. I think a lot of men may, too. Makiki Fuwa of the University of Tokyo just published an analysis of data from the 2002 International Social Survey Programme that looks at women in 31 countries.

She set out to learn whether cross-national differences in the association between women's economic independence and their attitudes toward marriage could be explained by national policies like family leave, publicly supported child care, and working hours.

Her findings suggest "it is not women's economic independence per se that reduces attractiveness of marriage; instead, it is the incompatibility between work and family life that lowers [economically independent] women's marriage aspirations."

Many men, when unsure of the stability of their marriages, fear their economically independent wives can get by without them and therefore do not want to be married. Here is evidence, from 31 nations, that work-family conflict is the real issue. If you can free up more of your time or money for child care and housework, you can free her to enjoy being married.


Wow, Patty. This is an important study. I am so glad you shared because it brought something into my life I didn't know. Thank you for taking the time to let us know.

Totally. For Tammy, there is no incompatibility between work and family life. She has plenty of time to pursue intellectual endeavors and fitness. We share housework and all menial tasks. We even develop the systems to handle them together. I wish all women could have the freedom to grow and enjoy their marriage like Tammy.

I wish this, too, C.J. But at the same time, I remember getting caught up in all that and thinking I might as well be divorced if I did not get all the help I needed. Then, suddenly, I was widowed, and I changed my thinking dramatically. When I had to figure out how to manage the balance on my own, I did. I made some big changes. And it was then I realized I could have done these things while married and enjoyed my husband's love. All the time I freed up by restructuring my work and role as a housekeeper and mother was used to search for love again.

Thanks, Tammy.

Just recently, I was guilty of thinking something similar about my marriage. Do to my husband's career, he is gone 95% of the time, so I take care of the kids, home, bills, repairs...virtually everything. On top of that, when he is home, I don't get the sexual fulfillment I need/want and I wind up feeling like he's just another kid to take care of...not all the time, just sometimes. The only thing I don't do is earn a living.

I actually thought that with all I'm dealing with now, how hard would it be to be a true single mom? At least then I could do what I want with the house and not have his clutter or worry about his thoughts, or wait for his decisions...I could do it my way.

Thankfully, those thoughts were short lived and I miss him terribly so. I wouldn't wish single motherhood on any woman.

Isn't it funny when we feel we're dealing with too much that so many of us blame our spouse and seriously consider taking on even more responsibilities as a single parent? It never occurred to me to reduce those responsibilities instead until after all those extra responsibilities required it.

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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