Power After Hours: New Realities in Power Marriages

by Pat Heim, Ph.D.

Today women earn 58% of college bachelor degrees and hold half of the professional and managerial positions. Many have been successful beyond their wildest dreams and find themselves holding more power than their husbands. This has had an unforeseen and unintended consequence of destabilizing and disrupting their marriages.

My co-authors Susan Murphy, PhD and Susan Golant and I have been surveying and interviewing couples carving out relationships in this new reality. Many are struggling with what a marriage is "supposed to be." Here are just a few examples (names have been changed): Kristin has always been a Type-A go-getter and Brandon more laid back. When they had children they agreed he would be the stay-at-home-parent. All is well but she is noticing that she is resenting Brandon for the time he has with their 2 daughters (Yes, this was the plan! So why doesn't she resent the nanny?!) Kristin wonders if this resentment will impact their relationship. Margot has always made more money than Kevin. About two years ago his industry went through a significant change and he was laid off. Initially he looked for a job but lately he just plays golf a lot. Margot has since received a significant promotion, raises and bonuses so money is not a problem for them except for a burning resentment that Kevin seems to have "dropped out". She resents that his primary pastime now, other than playing golf a lot, is spending "her" money. Couples are entering a brave new world of marital relationships in which the woman frequently has significant more earning power than her husband. Power after Hours will visit these couples, describe their conundrums and share a wide variety of their solutions. If you would like to participate in this research please visit our website at heimgroup.com.

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