How Your Job Status and Divorce Go Hand in Hand
A recent study by Alexandra Killewald, done with over 6,300 couples, revealed that the most predictable factor of a divorce is the husband’s employment status. The study included many other factors, but revealed that men without full-time jobs are 33% more likely to be divorced. This study has shocked many sociologists as many predicted that financial issues would lead to divorce, not employment.
The change since the 70’s
The same study showed that unemployed men had a slimmer chance of getting divorced over 40 years ago, There are many reasons why this might have occurred. For starters, the role of women in marriages has changed drastically. In the 70’s, women were expected to handle at least 75% of household chores while the man was the breadwinner. Nowadays, women have their own jobs and salary to depend on. Moreover, the researcher had balanced out the income levels to rule out financial motives for divorce. She found out that lower household incomes didn’t contribute directly to divorce at all.
Marriage is a social institution
After taking all this into consideration, it was hypothesized that the reason for unemployed men having a higher divorce rate was because of imposed gender roles. These gender roles are implemented socially and lead to the perception of men being breadwinners and women doing household work. Killewald suggests that due to these perceptions, men tend to feel emasculated or inferior when taking on “feminized roles” like cleaning or providing emotional support. She suggests that the gender roles put pressure on men to be the breadwinner. However, the source of this pressure is unclear – it may come from family, extended family, friends or outsiders.
There have been a sleuth of studies that have shown that marriages tend to fall apart if stereotypical gender roles are given a high priority. This is because anything that doesn’t fit the partner’s desired role leads to conflict. With the right nature of marriage counseling, these issues can be resolved. If this doesn’t work then an amicable divorce seems like the best outcome and mediation helps with this.
Killewald suggests that a wider perception of a husband’s roles is the solution to this problem. There has been a lot of focus on the change in marital roles of a woman but the same attention hasn’t been given to the men’s experiences. It is clear to see that there are many “house-husbands” who prefer taking care of the household but there’s still a long way to go before they are fully accepted by all members of society.
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