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10 ways marriage is different for men and women

Posted October 30

Men and women don't exactly think alike when it comes to marriage.

New studies and reports have shown how women and men have differing opinions before they get married and also when they have already tied the knot. From when to get married to the benefits of the institution, the two genders aren't always on the same page.

Following are five ways men and women differ when it comes to marriage.

More older men are getting married than older women

The Office of National Statistics in the United Kingdom found in June that 25 percent of men ages 65 to 69 are getting married, while 21 percent of women of the same age are getting married, The Express reported.

This age group had the largest increase in married couples among both sexes, too, The Express reported.

"It’s interesting that the largest percentage increase in the number of marriages was for older couples, also that the trend for marrying later in life continues to go up,” said Marilyn Stowe from Stowe Family Law to The Express. “The cost of living means that couples need to save for longer and therefore as the country emerges out of recession I would expect the total number of marriages will increase again next year.”

More women find it normal to not be married

New York Magazine published a chart that looked at how many women and men are married by the time they’re 30 years old. The chart asked "how normal is it" for each sex if they’re not married by ages 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40.

For women, the normality of not being married by age 40 is at 84 percent, while for men it’s at 78 percent. At 35, it’s 78 percent normal for women not to be married and 71 percent for men. Women also lead men for normality of not being married by ages 30, 25 and 20, the chart showed.

Men are more reluctant to get married

Lois Collins of Deseret News National wrote in mid-May that men are more reluctant to get married overall, despite the benefits. Collins quoted a Family Studies article written by Scott M. Stanley, who went deeper into the subject.

Stanley wrote that men can benefit more in terms of being happier and earning more money. They can even benefit from marriages that aren’t all too strong from a behavioral standpoint, Stanley wrote.

"I believe that men resist marriage more than women primarily because they believe marriage requires a substantial increase in their behavioral commitment — and they don’t always feel ready for that transition," he wrote.

Women are more likely to avoid marriage because of student debt

In a study released Friday, Demographic Research found that women are more likely than men to sidestep marriage when their student debt level is high.

“Specifically, an increase of $1,000 in student loan debt is associated with a reduction in the odds of first marriage by 2 percent a month among female bachelor degree recipients during the first four years after college graduation,” according to the study.

So basically, student debt only causes women to avoid marriage at first. But eventually things equal out between men and women, the study found.

Marriage is healthier for men

Cohabitating men don't get the health benefits that married men do, according to new research reported on by Gannett.

In fact, a new study by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics found that being married can help you be healthier, as you have a deeper connection with someone. Linda Waite, a professor at the University of Chicago, told Gannett that people are more likely to take care of themselves.

“(P)eople take better care of their own health because it’s important to their partner,” Waite said to Gannett.

“Guys, a loving spouse may save your life, U.S. health officials say. But living with a significant other doesn’t appear to confer the same health benefits as marriage,” Randy Dotinga of Gannett reported. “Single and married men are more likely to see a doctor regularly than those living with a partner out of wedlock.”

Women, it seems, are less dependent on men to be healthy, though. The research found women will help their husbands make doctors appointments and call in prescriptions, according to Gannett. But they take care of their own health more or rely on other support systems.

Educated women are less likely to divorce

When it comes to divorce, a wife’s education has a gigantic impact. Wives who have more education than their husbands are at less risk for divorce, according to the American Sociological Association.

This is different from the way marriage had been built in the past, where the male was the primary breadwinner. Now, with women getting more education, they’re less likely to skip out on their husbands, the ASA said.

"We also found that couples in which both individuals have equal levels of education are now less likely to divorce than those in which husbands have more education than their wives," said Christine R. Schwartz, the author of the study. "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."

Divorced men marry a lot quicker

Once they’re divorced, men are more likely to search for their next love interest, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Vicki Larson of The Huffington Post reported on the study and the different ways men and women approach getting back into the game. She said it was especially interesting that men are quick to rush into a new relationship and build new families when they have reservations about other aspects of family.

“(S)ome men, obviously, are OK with blending families or even starting new families, which is surprising considering how many men complain — rightfully so — about paying alimony (often for life) and child support, often for children they can barely see,” Larson wrote to The Huffington Post. “So then why are so many men eager to get hitched again — especially when second marriages have a 67 percent chance of divorce?”

Women initiate divorce more

Women are looking to get the divorce done more often than men. In fact, 15 percent of women are divorced, according to research done by Bowling Green State University.

Dads let marriage problems flow into parenting traits. On her personal blog, Larson also talked about how studies have shown that women are looking to walk out and sign the divorce papers sooner than men. And the answer of why isn’t too clear, Larson wrote, saying that men cheating in relationships might be a big cause for it.

“So, is it a case of guys having their cake and eating it, too?” she asked in her blog post. “I don’t know, but there does seem to be some sort of disconnect between actions and reactions.”

Single moms are moving home

Being a single mother isn’t always the easiest thing, and many American single moms are looking for help. As One News Now reported, many young single mothers are moving back home to get help raising kids.

Expert Alison Howard of Concerned Women for American explained to One News Now that moving back in with family can help the child grow up in an environment where there are more people, giving them something similar to a traditional marriage.

“We want to end this breakdown of marriage so that kids can do better and women can do better and American families can do better,” Howard said to One News Now. “A strong family leads to a strong economy and leads to a strong country.”

Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

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