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Do women with college degrees have happier marriages than women who didn’t go to college?

Apparently women with college degrees have happier marriages than women without. I usually don’t put too much stock in statistics and this is no exception. I’ve just read about a study that was conducted by Wharton economist Betsey Stevenson. Not sure when the study was conducted, but according to what I’ve read, Stevenson “analyzed demographic data from 1950 to 2008 and found that contemporary college-educated women are more likely to marry, less likely to divorce and more likely to describe their marriages as happy, no matter what their income, compared to women without a college degree.”

I can see where education could reduce some of the strains in certain marriages, but I’m not sure I believe having a college degree can impact on your relationship with your spouse directly. Indirectly, yes, there’s an argument to be made that a woman with a college degree might feel better about herself for having that degree, and that knowing she has a college degree, that she went through the college experience can help her sense of self worth and her confidence. I think that a woman who knows her worth and who has a great deal of confidence in herself, regardless if she went to college or didn’t, is always going to be better off than a woman who does not know her self worth and has no confidence in herself.

You can have a college degree and still have no sense of your self worth and have no self confidence, just the same as you can have a strong sense of your worth and have confidence in yourself even if you didn’t go to college.

I’d probably agree that you’re more likely to find that sense of self and that confidence in women who have college degrees than in those who don’t, because we live in a society where people are judged constantly and you have these messages coming at you rapid fire all day every day telling you that this is what you have to do if you want to be somebody; so a woman who does what she has to do in order to be somebody is going to gain confidence from having done that, where a woman who didn’t do the things that she’s told she has to do in order to be somebody, might develop a shame complex. She’s more likely to believe she’s not worth anything because that’s the message she’s receiving from every direction.

Then there are the other elements to be factored in — the advantages that having a college degree provides. Not all women who have a college degree have a corporate job and are making a hundred grand yearly; but more often than not they are making more money than women who don’t have a college degree. They can go out and buy a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, maybe.  In the case of your average woman who has no college degree and no rich husband to provide Jimmy Choo shoes, there’s a lot of doing without. If they happen to be married to a man who has no college degree, they likely are dealing with financial problems that women who have wealthy husbands, or women who have a college degree and a good job which the college degree enabled them to secure aren’t experiencing. Even while middle income people, whether college educated or not, have their own financial struggles, it’s certainly different from the struggles of the poor. It’s the difference between not having money for food, and not having money for a 2-week family vacation.

Certainly education is going factor in one way or another into any measure of the overall quality of a marriage; however, where happiness is concerned, I don’t know that I believe women with college degrees have an advantage of women without college degrees. I think happiness comes down to who you are in reality. Your innate characteristics, your natural impulses, your truth–those are the things that determine whether you will be happy in your life or not. That is the reason you can have people who are college educated and well off financially yet never really satisfied with their life, never satisfied with the people in their lives, always competing, trying to outdo, trying to have more. Education can influence you but you are who you are with or without a college degree, and it is who you are and who your spouse is that will truly control the emotions in your marriage.

Yes, it makes a difference when things are easier, when you don’t have to worry about how your bills are going to get paid, how to afford food. When you have fewer things like that to worry about your mood will generally be calmer and more pleasant and this is always better for a marriage, when your basic livelihood isn’t threatened by having no money. So in ways like this, there’s probably truth to the idea that college educated women are better off in marriage than women who didn’t go to college; but as regards the things that really bring about misery in marriage, except in cases where materialism rules, having a college degree isn’t going to protect you or give you any edge over the woman who has no degree when the kinds of problems arise that threaten happiness in marriage.

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0 0 257 25 June, 2012 Marriage Minute June 25, 2012

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