As a Professional Mediator, to be effective, it is extremely important to have access to worthwhile information that keeps us in touch with the reality of what is happening in our communities, region, state, etc. so that we can assist our clients in formulating the best solutions for their individual needs. From time to time, I will come across an article that I believe is worth sharing because it provides insight, food for thought, education or any number of other useful bits of information. While Divorce and Family Mediation are core functions of our business, we do not promote divorce or push our clients to that decision. As a matter of fact, that decision, must already be made by the couple before we will even consult with them on their divorce. So how does all of this tie into this article. Sometimes, it is hard for couples to communicate and get to the truth about why they should divorce. This article prompted me to share it because it may shed some light as to why divorce is being discussed within a couple who otherwise may have a relatively healthy relationship. The strains of the economy, an unemployed husband…maybe divorce is not the answer. Just food for thought.
Unemployed men more likely to divorce, but wives’ employment has no effect
Globe and Mail Blog
Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 11:50AM EDT
A woman’s employment status has no bearing on whether or not her husband will initiate a divorce, but interesting things happen when a man is out of work, according to a new study.
Liana Sayer of Ohio State University looked at data on more than 3, 600 couples from the U.S. National Survey of Families and Households to see how employment status influences men’s and women’s decisions to end a marriage.
A wife’s employment has no effect on the likelihood that her husband will choose to leave the marriage, according to the study, soon to be published in the American Journal of Sociology.
But when a man is unemployed, not only is his wife more likely to want a divorce, it’s also more likely that the man himself will choose to end the marriage. That even counts for men who are in relatively happy marriages.
Why would a man who’s satisfied with his marriage but out of work want to head to divorce court? Researchers write that the finding suggests that a marriage in which the man doesn’t work “does not look like what [men] think a marriage is supposed to.” In other words, while it’s acceptable for women to choose whether or not to work, men are still expected to be the bread winners.
“These effects probably emanate from the greater change in women’s than men’s roles,” the researchers write. “Women’s employment has increased and is accepted, men’s nonemployment is unacceptable to many, and there is a cultural ambivalence and lack of institutional support for men taking on ‘feminized’ roles such as household work and emotional support.”
A common misunderstanding that I have found is that men and women fail to recognize that they have both a feminine and a masculine essence about them. In other words, men have a feminine side and women have a masculine side. Everyone’s ratio is different and getting to understand this is part of an increased awareness of who you are. As a man that is unemployed, this may feel like a threat to his masculinity and worthiness; particularly, if the outcome is a strong shift where the wife ends up taking on more masculine tasks. The challenge for couples under this circumstance is to find new ways of expressing their masculine and/or feminine sides that are currently lacking, hopefully avoiding the ‘option’ of divorce.