For years I have been telling students that smart men marry smart women. I mean that in a double sense. On the one hand, men who are smart and well educated tend to marry women who are smart and well educated. On the other, if a man is smart, he will look past physical appearance, which fades, to brains – because brains endure. Men who figure this out early get first pick of the smartest women.
In fact, today is the day in the sociology of family life class when we first talk about this idea. It will not be the last time.
Christine Whelan has just published Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women. As you can see, this was "must reading" for me, even if we are in the middle of the term. Whelan presents some interesting new research showing a change in the marriage patterns of the most educated women, a change for the better. I will be blogging on this book, and this idea, all week.
Today I just want to share one finding from a Harris Interactive poll that Whelan commissioned for the book. In answer to the question, do you want (or have) a spouse who is less capable of earning a good income than you, as capable of earning a good income as you, or more capable of earning a good income than you?
About 61% of the women say "as capable of earning a good income as me";
Among the men, there is a bell curve, with a quarter saying "more," a quarter saying "less," and half in the middle.
Here is the most interesting finding, though: among single men, 73% say they want a wife as capable of earning a good income as they are. Only 3% say she should be less capable. This bodes well for high-achieving women.