A new survey from Elle and MSNBC about the monetary state of your unions shows that the vast majority of men don't care if their wives make more money than they do. Only 12% of men say that they would be resentful of a wife who out-earned them, and, according to Stephanie Coontz, director of research for the Council on Contemporary Families, this represents "a real sea change that's going on in gender roles." But the picture is not necessarily as rosy as Coontz paints it. 30% of women who do make more than their husbands claim traditional gender role reversal isn't always easy. MSNBC quotes a 31 year-old woman who makes twice what her husband makes, and she says, "It is hard on my husband and on me that I'm the primary breadwinner in our home... I think it's hard for both of us to accept that we're in non-traditional roles."
All the same, the results of the survey illustrate a society where the dual-income household has become the norm. 35% of men and 40% of women said that the key benefit of having a working spouse is that it alleviates the pressure of being the sole breadwinner. Of the 25% of men surveyed whose wives did not work, 40% of them wished their old lady would get a job. MSNBC added, "Of the approximately 75 percent of men whose wives did work, only 5 percent wished she was at home." Coontz says most men don't want to come home to a wife who hasn't been intellectually stimulated. They're irritated by "a wife who was frequently either bored or boring."
The only real divide that remains, according to MSNBC, is in domestic chores. Over 40% of women say they do more than their fair share of housework, and 29% of men agree. Even with women contributing more to the household income, about 50% of couples say they fight over money at least once a month. Sigh. In some ways, the more things change, the more they stay the same.