California Healthy Marriages Coalition Says Trending Marriage Shifts Between Men and Women Are More Than Financial

Jan 20, 2010, 17:29 ET from California Healthy Marriages Coalition

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pew Research Center's report on the rise in percentage of married women who now earn more than their husbands opens a window onto other gender changes in marriage. California Healthy Marriages Coalition Vice President Patty Howell says: "It is interesting to see the Pew report because along with income and educational shifts, today's couples also have expectations about their marriage that are very different from previous generations. Women who work outside the home and make substantial contributions to the family income want and expect their husbands to pull more weight around the house and with the children.  Today's women also want a strong emotional connection with their husband.  This really ups the ante for men."  

With less clearly defined cultural expectations about marriage than in previous generations, Howell says today's couples need to change their communication and problem-solving styles to accommodate these new expectations. What they learned by watching their parents interact with each other doesn't provide an adequate model for couples today, says Howell. "The traditional, male-dominant style," she reports, "is giving way to a 'team' approach where the partners see each other as co-equal and where it's important for both partners to get their needs met.  This is where Marriage Education classes come in, because these skills are not yet widely modeled in our culture, yet they are easy to learn in Marriage Education classes."

Changes in women's expectations about marriage will be discussed at a plenary session Howell will chair called "Women:  Why Marriage?!" at the Smart Marriages Conference in Orlando, FL on July 8. "Women who are successful in the workplace sometimes question whether it's possible to have a healthy and happy marriage.  I know it's achievable and see Marriage Education as the fast track for making this happen."

Adds Howell, "We are on the forefront of a changing marriage model. The Pew Research has highlighted a significant development in today's marriages that helps us understand why Marriage Education is a necessity for all couples. Fortunately, we have well-researched and successful Marriage Education programs available across the country that help couples learn to communicate with empathy, respect and understanding and find solutions that bring mutual satisfaction.  These are the tools that empower today's successful and satisfying marriages."

CHMC is the recipient of the Federal government's largest Healthy Marriage Demonstration Grant. For the past four years, CHMC has taught proven relationship-building skills to thousands of California couples and individuals through Marriage Education and Relationship Skills classes for all ages and stages. A comprehensive statewide listing of relationship skills classes is available at

SOURCE California Healthy Marriages Coalition