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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Send me a man who works

Yeah, you've come a long way, baby, but sometimes it's one step forward, two steps back, Millennial women's No. 1 request: Give me a man with a job:

A plurality of never-married Americans ages 25 to 34 say the main reason they haven’t gotten married is that they’re not “financially prepared” to do so. Singles want to get their own finances and careers in order before hitching their wagon to another person. More important, they may otherwise have trouble attracting, or keeping, a mate.

Especially if they’re of the heterosexual male persuasion.

When asked what qualities they’re looking for in a potential spouse, never-married men were most likely to say that finding someone who shared “similar ideas about having and raising children” was very important to them. This was a priority for women, too, but not the most commonly cited one.

Women were most likely to say they wanted a spouse with a “steady job.”

[. . .]

For most of Western history, marriage was a political and economic transaction (for both the spouses, and the communities they belonged to). In the late 18th century, it began transforming into an institution based on love and soul-mating. Now, it’s about politics and economics once again.

Is this apparent cultural contradiction based on ambient conditions, i.e. the fact that steady jobs are scare, especially for young males? Or does it reflect the possibility that long-held social conventions such as considering the male as breadwinner are not so easily dispatched by the current wisdom. Maybe it's a cyclical thing. Interesting, though.

The larger point about people not wanting to get married until they're "financially prepared" seems more of a concern now than it used to be, at least if I'm remembering correctly. It seems to me more people were once just willing to jump right in, trusting that conditions would improve once the marriage was entered. Jumping right in seems like a good operating theory in general to me, a good general approach to life. Too often, waiting "until the time is just right" is a plan to do nothing at all.