Men and women are increasingly likely to marry someone with the same educational background. It used to be that college women were less likely to marry than were less-educated women. Women born after 1960 – that is, my cohort and after – however, are more likely to marry if they are college graduates than not.
One of the pieces of life advice I give to students is "smart men marry smart women." This claim has a double sense. One sense is just to describe assortative marriage: educated men are likely to marry educated women, and vice-versa. The other sense is more prescriptive: men who are smart will seek to marry women who are smart. Beauty fades; brains endure. You will probably be married a long time, so find someone you can talk to. This advice is true for women, too, of course. In fact, since women actually do the selecting in the final analysis, it is really smart women who choose smart men. But the men have to make an effort first. Since women are usually ready for marriage sooner than men are, those men who are ready to settle down earlier get first pick. I urge them to pick for brains.
So as we settle in for the Thanksgiving holiday, one of the things I am most thankful for is Mrs. Gruntled – B.A. with highest honors, Yale lawyer, mother of my smart kids, and, at the moment, baking pumpkin pies. And we share jokes. May you all make the most suitable marriage that Providence allows.