I’m going to ask an indelicate question this week. Forgive me, but it is homecoming weekend. Many of us here on campus we’ll see again what we see every year: marriage seems to treat many of our men graduates far better then the women. While it is not true in all cases, it is true often enough to be statistically significant.
The married guys breeze back on campus looking mature, successful and brimming with energy and spark. Their wives sometimes saunter back with half-vacant expressions, somberness and a look of weariness. It is striking to those of us who see this annually. Many of these women were considered our most promising students—they were once full spark and drive while their husbands coasted along in the second tier of promise. Frankly, some of the women even confessed to one or another professor that they feared they were “marrying down.” But marry they did, and now he seems to have leaped ahead while she is holding her own or even drifting backwards. The husband bounds in bright and full of energy, talking about a dozen interesting books he’s read since summer. His wife sighs, admitting she hasn’t read a serious book since she graduated with her 3.95 GPA.
So what causes this when it happens? We don’t know. Somebody needs to do a serious research project on these widely observed changes in women during the first five years of marriage. (Perhaps you’ll do it for your D.Min. project?) Until then, I am going to publish the theories I’ve heard proposed to answer the question. I am withholding the names of the women and men who have suggested the following theories to protect them from hate mail. What I’d really like this week are other hunches you have for why some women escape this setback while others experience it. Here are the theories I’ve heard:
So what do you think?
Keith Drury served The Wesleyan Church headquarters in Christian Education and Youth leadership for 24 years before becoming a professor of religion at Indiana Wesleyan University. He is the author of more than a dozen books of practical spirituality, including Holiness for Ordinary People, Common Ground and Ageless Faith. Keith Drury wrote the Tuesday Column for 17 years (1995-2012), and many articles can be found on his blog “Drury Writing.”
Keith Drury retired from full time teaching in 2012. Keith is married to Sharon and has two adult sons and several grandchildren. He is retired in Florida with Sharon and enjoys cycling.