Inequality in Marriage

August Macke, Couple in the Woods

Recently I met a friendly young woman Mormon woman. She had just gotten off her mission and was doing some child care work full time. She told me about her social life, mentioning that she had a boyfriend who was working on a professional degree from an Ivy League school. I asked her about her own educational plans and discovered that she has not done any college at all. She hopes someday to do some college, but her educational plans seemed a bit murky.

As we talked, I could feel my chest tighten a bit with anxiety for her. This young woman might marry a man with a professional Ivy League degree. And she might not have a single college course to her name when she does so. It might turn out to be a fine marriage. Maybe he’s socially awkward and he’ll adore her outgoing chatty personality. Maybe they’ll balance each other out just great in other ways. And yet I couldn’t help but think of the serious power differentials between them, should they decide to marry soon.

As I walked away from the conversation, I wondered about not only the wisdom of two people marrying when they have such disparate financial and career potential, but also on the morality of it. Is it moral to participate in a sexual relationship (married or not) when one partner has such greater power – social, financial, etc.? Can there be relationships of true equality and true partnership when one partner has had vast opportunities and educational experiences, and one has not?

Several years ago I took a class on sexual ethics, and I was struck when I read Margaret Farley’s ideas about just sexual relationships. Margaret Farley is a Catholic nun and a preeminent ethicist. In laying out the groundwork of a just sexual relationship, she mentioned seven norms, one of which was equality. She said,

“Major inequalities in social and economic status, age and maturity, professional identity, interpretations of gender roles, and so forth, can render sexual relations inappropriate and unethical primarily because they entail power inequalities — and hence, unequal vulnerability, dependence, and limitation of options.”

Notice that Farley says, “can render” not “absolutely will render.” But I think her caution about vast disparity in economic and social status is something worth thinking about. And I can’t get over my feeling of dread that this young woman would be entering this marriage at a significant disadvantage. Her vulnerabilities seem so much starker than his. Will she have enough power in the relationship to demand equitable treatment? Will she have the resources to leave the marriage and provide for herself and her children if it proves untenable?

What are your thoughts about two people marrying with vastly different educational experience and professional potential? Have you seen such marriage work out just fine? How important is somewhat comparable educations when contemplating marriage?


Caroline has a PhD in religion and studies Mormon women.

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33 Responses

  1. Diane says:

    “Will she have the resources to leave the marriage and provide for herself and her children if it proves untenable?” I know this only too well. I married at 17. It was a very unwise decision, but of course, I did not see it at the time. I considered divorce, but decided against it, because I had nowhere to go, no marketable skills, and not a penny to my own name. So here I am 43 years later. My advice to others, male, female, LGBT: Wait until you are sure you will have no regrets about giving yourself and your life up. Also, wait until you are sure you can be a good parent to your children, because once you have children, it’s no longer about you, or you and your spouse. It’s ALL about them.

    • Caroline says:

      Diane, thanks for sharing your wisdom here. I’ve known of women that have wanted to leave bad relationships but haven’t felt able to do so economically because they had been out of the work force for so long. My heart breaks for those women. Thank you again.

      • Diane says:

        Thank you Caroline. I was reading the comments below and they all focused on education. I think they missed the point you were trying to make. Getting a better education (not necessarily a higher one) often leads to a better paying job. This is crucial if a divorced woman has to support herself.
        I received higher education. I have a Bachelor’s degree in music and a Master’s degree in religion. Where I come from, unless you are a star, you won’t make enough on music alone to live decently, and I refuse to apply for government assistance. Then there is religion. I’d have to have a doctorate to teach a course at a University. Then there is the tenure issue, and so on. I never really “worked outside the home”, so it wasn’t an issue about being out of the workforce. For most of my life all I did was be a church musician and a choral accompanist. Where I come from, this does not pay well enough to live decently, as I said before. My advice to young women, Mormon or otherwise: don’t marry early and take your time to choose well.

  2. Andrew R. says:

    I know that sometimes my comments here have been unwelcome, ill advised, or simply not accepted.
    However, at times they have been OK.

    I read here because I genuinely find the posts interesting and enjoy seeing the POV.

    However, not until today have I felt attacked.

    Reading this post I felt that me, my wife, my parents and, to an extent, my children were being judged simoly because we do not fit the writer’s opinion of how people should be.

    I note that Caroline is a PhD student. Obviously education is very important in her life. However, it is not the be all, and end all, of everything. I note from my time (17 years) of working with and in the US that education is the all in terms of progressing. I have worked with managers who were only in their jobs because of their Masters degree – it did not make them knowledgable or better managers.

    Having an educational, or simply intellectual, disparity in a marriage is not a recipe for diaster – I say this after 31 years of marriage. And education is not about intellegence either. Equal does not mean the same.

    A proton is a large positivly charged partical, the electron is a tiny negatively charged parical. However, the charge on each is identical, and oposite. They balance each other in their attractive force.

    When Adam needed a Help Meet he didn’t need someone who was the same as him, thought as him, did everything he did. He needed someone who balanced him, could fill in for his short comings and make between them a balanced “whole”.

    My left left scholl with one verifiable qualification a CSE (certificate of secondary education) in Chlld Care. Her parents, foolishly, moved her a few months before the UK major exams to a difference area, with different exam boards, and different sylabuses. She could have done better, had she stayed. But she was never going to university. At that time only about 5 to 10% of the population did.

    I left school with A level (General Certificate of Education) in MAthematices, Physics and Chemistry. I was intending to go to university to study Chemistry. However, I married in stead and started working. Over the years I took university level courses and some time later, already in an established career having had three jobs that required a degree wtihout having one, I obtained a BSc. The degree has done nothing for me, I haven’t needed it because I am more than a piece of paper. My wife has never had her IQ measured – I would suspect her raw figure to be about 110 to 120. The only time mine was measured was when I was about 35 – it was 168.

    However, despite the quite apparent differences in my knowledge, intellegence, and education our marriage works. There are things my wife knows that I don’t, there are things she can do better than me. She is more hard working than me – she never gives up, takes a break, etc. until a task is complete. I make all tasks take longer than they should because I like breaks. As a result she gets much more done than I do.

    My mother was a qualified teacher, my Dad left school before completing High School He went to work as a bank clerk. He never took a degree. He did take the legal banking examinations – college equivilent. My mother coached him in his hand writing skills. He became a bank director. They complete cross work puzzels using their combined skills. The both speak fluent French. She speaks some German and Spanish, he speaks some Greek and Russian. Their marriage works (53 years and counting).

    I could go on. However, my point is that the author appears to be fixated on education, and it being the only way an individual can succeed. My wife is a strong, self-willed individual who has had 8 children and kept them all active. Two are married with children of their own, one is on his mission. She hasn’t needed a formal education, her skills, abilitites and attitude far outweigh one.

    • Nancy Ross says:

      Caroline’s post isn’t about whether one can succeed without a university degree, it is about the way in which different factors, namely education, play a role in the power dynamics of a marriage. There was an article from The Economist a number of years ago that looked at research showing that equal and higher levels of education correlated with the success of a marriage, while lower levels of education correlated with high rates of divorce.

    • Caroline says:

      Yes, Nancy, that’s right.

      Andrew, I’m glad to hear that your marriage has been successful. I have seen others that are as well, despite major economic/educational differences. However, I do feel that the partner who has significantly less education/salary potential is in a significantly more vulnerable position, should the marriage have serious issues. This discrepancy in education/salary potential may make no difference in really solid marriages where both partners are kind, loving, and committed. But in a marital situation where the more economically powerful partner is behaving badly, I deeply worry about whether the less economically powerful partner will have the leverage to demand better behavior or even to leave the marriage, if she feels she had no way to survive without the other partner’s salary. (I know women who fall into this category.)

      These concerns are so deeply embedded in me that I will do everything I can to make sure my daughter is in a good position to support herself and her family, so that she will never have to stay in a bad relationship for survival. Of course, as I type this, I realize my own hypocrisy. My husband has far greater earning potential than I, though our educational levels are similar. It’s caused me a significant amount of anxiety over the years. I hope my daughter will make different career choices than I have.

      • Andrew R. says:

        ” everything I can to make sure my daughter is in a good position to support herself and her family”

        This is good – there are many reasons why she might need to do this.

        “so that she will never have to stay in a bad relationship for survival”

        I hope that this is not the reasons (of even one of the reasons) you give her for doing this.

        As I said, there are many reasons why she might need to support her family, including her husband. Sickness, death, injury, etc. I would hope that marriage failure would be the last on the list, and not something we plan for.

        Giving anyone the idea that you can always get out of the marriage is not really, IMO, building on the idea of Eternal Marriage. Having said that, in our hearts, as parents, we know that not everything succeeds, so by all means have it as something you keep to yourself as a reason for ensuring your daughter is self-reliant.

  3. jes says:

    So, really, it’s not about education, it’s about the perceived importance of a college degree among both parties. If either one perceives the more educated partner as superior, then yes, there will be problems. If they are like Andrew and his wife and are strong believers in the value of different talents and that education isn’t more important attribute than any other, and that equal education isn’t required to be equal partners, then it can work. I think one key is acknowledgement that open-mindedness and the ability to learn and discern from the world around you is enabled by education, but isn’t necessarily tied to education.
    Ask of this with the one caveat that, yes, the lesser educated one would probably be at a disadvantage in a divorce, but even that depends almost as much on work history during the marriage, not just the college degree achieved beforehand

    • Caroline says:

      “I think one key is acknowledgement that open-mindedness and the ability to learn and discern from the world around you is enabled by education, but isn’t necessarily tied to education.” Yes, great point, Jes.

    • Andrew R. says:

      “If either one perceives the more educated partner as superior, then yes, there will be problems”

      Agreed. And, of course, that applies to other “power” issues in marriage.

      Finacial immaturity, in one or other, can lead to issues.
      Dependancy on anyone, or anything, outside of the marraige can lead to issues (ie, not giving yourself entirely to the other).
      And more.

      All of these can be worked out. And educational inequality can too. I am not saying women do not need an education, of course they do, just as much as men. But I am saying that mixed marriages do not need to be fatal. In fact, I believe the more mixed the better. The greater the spread of talents brought into the family the more armed you will be.

      I love my marriage because it is the union of two entirely different worlds, with differing backgrounds, thinking and personal drivers, and desires. But we both want the other to be happy, and we both want the best for our children. We are able to discuss differences, and we are both able to give way to the other when required.

  4. Sam says:

    “will she have enough power in the relationship to demand equal treatment?”

    The question assumes that she would need education or power to be treated as an equal.

    If her husband is an honorable priesthood holder, she doesn’t need independence or worldly qualifications to be treated as an equal. She will need to *demand* nothing. Respect is liberally and mutually given in a rightly ordered covenant marriage. Her contributions will be recognized and honored even if they aren’t worldly in nature. Perhaps especially if they aren’t, because the most important things are not secular, formal accomplishment. “Demand” and compulsion from either party have no place in covenant marriage. If the man is a good man, the question is moot.

    If her husband is a jerk, no amount of education or personal wherewithal will effectively “demand” equal treatment from him. Thus, if the man is abusive, the question is also moot.

    While educated women are less likely to be in abusive relationships, they are more likely to stay longer in abusive relationships. I helped with the battered women’s shelter in college (Rexburg), and it was very eye opening to see the women who ended up there-dentists, lawyers, doctors. Yes, there was the expected influx of uneducated young mothers, but the ones who suffered in silence for much longer before getting help were the professional women, the educated women.

    Though they had educations and viable careers, many felt as trapped and powerless as the high school diploma set. At the end of the day, staying in an abusive relationship is about emotional control, shame, emotional addictions, and fear. When a woman is determined and ready to leave, nothing will stop her. When a woman is not ready to leave, wheb she is still enmeshed, no amount of financial/career support and security will help her out of the abuse.

    Husband and I met as undergrads. At 17, I was his tutor. We married when I was 18, had our first child when I was 19. We graduated together. Since then, he has earned a master’s degree, and is now a PhD candidate. He has an extensive resume as a naval officer and nuclear engineer: all my work experience ended in college minimum wage gigs. But he recognizes and honors my work as a wife and mother and doer of church callings and immigrant/refugee volunteer as more real, and, in fact, more honorable and legitimate work, than his professional work.

    His biggest hesitation to entering his current (ivy league PhD) program was the time it would take from his (more important) work as a husband and father. We’ve only done it because we felt God wanted us to, and we’ve made it work.

    In the meantime, I have been offered jobs and grad school opportunities. After praying about it, I’ve chosen not to do those things, because they are not the most important things to do, and frankly, I doubt I would learn as much sitting in lecture as I have sitting in the homes of Afghani and Sudanese refugees, or curled up at home with my children, trying to figure out how to most effectively teach five very different brains to read and write and speak French and think critically, independently, analytically, or advocating for my foster daughter in the juvenile justice system. We both feel that my work on these things is more important than his work with computers or uranium. We both work to support and sustain each other’s work, but we both agree that what I do is more essential and relevant. Once he can retire, we’ll both do what I currently do full time.

    In short,
    1)equality in marriage stems from a posture of generosity, humility, and respect that has little to do with disparity or congruity in formal resume or education between spouses.

    2)Education and formal schooling are not the same. The one does not necessarily implicate the other.

    • Caroline says:

      Sam, thanks so much for elaborating your thoughts here. I love reading about how you and your spouse have navigated education/career/meaningful work and marital power dynamics. Also very interesting to get your insights into domestic violence and how that plays out with different sets of women.

    • KB says:

      This is a good comment. I worry a lot about abuse and the role power dynamics play in that, but it’s definitely true that abuse often happens regardless of societal power. Thank you for sharing.

  5. charlene says:

    Hmm. I see what you are saying about the power differentials, and yet I have a visceral deeply negative response towards the idea that marriages should be between people with similar educational backgrounds. (There is some hypocrisy in this, in the sense that my husband and I have exactly the same terminal degree — a Ph.D. in physics from the same institution, where we met.) I feel this would be somewhat elitist and classicist, I guess — only people with professional degrees get to marry other people with professional degrees? Only (as others above have said) professional degrees are considered important and powerful? (I think this by itself is a dangerous way of thinking — I feel like I’ve been hampered in my life, both professionally and spiritually, by thinking that degrees and intellectual prowess are the be-all and end-all.) Is a woman who does not have a professional degree and is not interested in getting one in a situation where she should restrict herself to only non-professional-degree-holding men? (Men are already pretty much in that situation, and I don’t like that either — see below.) It just doesn’t sit well with me.

    I actually think there should be more marriages with disparate educational differences, only from the other side: there should be way more professionally-educated women marrying less-educated men, with a lot more stay-at-home dads. I think this would be the best thing that could happen for gender equality.

    • Caroline says:

      “only people with professional degrees get to marry other people with professional degrees” Well, I wouldn’t go that far. I’ve seen several terrific marriages with PhDs married to BAs. It’s greater disparity that I’m nervous about, though certainly, several couples have done fine with that if there is deep appreciation on both sides for what the other person contributes.

      I think your points about the dangers of the implications of my questions about disparity in education/economics are solid. I’m glad you mentioned them. I’d say that rather having only high school drop outs marry high school drop outs, I’d suggest both people go to college or both go to trade school or both pursue passions/business/opportunities that will render them both able to contribute, in case circumstances call on them both to be able to do so.

      • Caroline says:

        “I’d suggest both people go to college or both go to trade school or both pursue passions/business/opportunities” — or any combination of the above.

  6. el oso says:

    The likelihood of a stable marriage increases with education level and income. An Ivy league professional is going to be, in general, a better prospect for marriage for any man or woman who has little college and has worked in a lower skilled job. Your friend would be better matched with a blue collar tradesman, by your standards, but statistics say otherwise.

    • Caroline says:

      “Your friend would be better matched with a blue collar tradesman, by your standards, but statistics say otherwise.”
      If statistics say that stable marriages are more likely with increases in education level and income, does that imply that the Ivy League professional would, in general, find a more stable marriage in person with higher educational attainment than a high school diploma?

      When I think of my young friend, my ideal vision is not for her to marry a blue collar tradesman (though that’s fine if she found a good match there) — it’s for her to pursue education and training so that she’ll be in a good position to take care of herself and others, no matter what happens with Ivy League man or any other man that comes her way.

  7. rah says:

    This is a discussion I think needs to be a ubiquitous in Elder’s Quorums and Relief Society classes in the church. Its the lesson I wish I could teach in EQ. In the case where you have significant economic dependency (these days often highly related the educational equality), how is equality in marriage achieved? This is not to say that it can’t be done. The question is how.

    I can tell you this. If equality is *assumed*, if it is not *designed, if it is not explicitly recognized, then inequality is more likely to impact the marriage in negative ways. And LDS men – just saying that you decide to treat your wife as an equal or that she is dependent on you to be a righteous priesthood holder….that does nothing to address the dependence.

    Orthodox Mormon thought is incredibly bad at discussing structural inequality, or even recognizing it. It seems that it does everything to avoid that discussion. Equality IS a feeling to them. So when marriages breakdown and inequality bolsters the worst kind of marriage dynamics – abuse of varying kinds, the answer seems to be…well the guy didn’t act appropriately.

    Some premises I would put out there in a EQ/RS class, to spur discussion:

    1) Economic inequality in the marriage is too high and destructive if either party is NOT *capable* financially of walking away. It doesn’t mean earning power needs to be the same, but both partners should have the ability to walk away without entering poverty. There are many ways to achieve this for people in very different circumstances. Also, relying on state divorce law is probably a bad idea…

    2) Checks and balances should be explicitly talked about and designed into the marriage. Is there transparency into finances? Does the woman have significant money and assets put into her name (in the case where the man in the primary income earner)? How do decision-making rights in the marriage reflect equality?

    • Caroline says:

      Thanks for this comment, Rah. (You should have written the OP!) You’ve put your finger on my concerns about structural inequality and dependence — and elaborated on them so helpfully.

      I love your two premises, as well as your questions in your last point. How I would love to have this discussion in RS. I fear, however, that (and you allude to this) there would be a lot of hesitance in people towards even acknowledging the particular vulnerability of the partner not earning the money.

  8. Kate says:

    This resonates with me. I think it is just as important that both spouses continue professional development, if equality is your goal. My husband and I both have graduate degrees. I chose (?) to stay home in a culture and a climate that greatly encouraged me to do so. Next week, my husband is testifying before congress. I’m taking my daughter on a bike ride. Both good things. But no matter how he treats me (fortunately I would categorize him as a strong feminist), no matter who manages the money (me), no matter who does the chores (both) it feels and is fundamentally unequal in opportunity, earning power, and societal impact. Comments re: different roles, different strengths, etc. don’t change that.

  9. Emily U says:

    This is a hard question because no matter one’s position, there can always be an anecdotal counterpoint to it. In general I think big differences in education and earning potential are not a good start for an egalitarian marriage. It’s also true that focusing too much on who knows/earns/does more is toxic to relationships, so assessing these things too much can create problems. But ignoring them can allow problems to fester. My husband and I earn about the same and spend about the same amount of time caring for the kids. I do more housework, he does more shopping. We are both strong-willed people who hold our own in a disagreement. I think it would probably be this way even if we were imbalanced in our education and professional lives, but one never knows for sure.

    • Caroline says:

      “It’s also true that focusing too much on who knows/earns/does more is toxic to relationships, so assessing these things too much can create problems. But ignoring them can allow problems to fester.” True. I’m the last person to want to reduce a person’s value to what kind of money they bring in. That absolutely is toxic. But ignoring the potentially problematic power dynamics when only one partner has all the education and all the earning potential also seems dangerous. I can’t help but worry that the partner with the education and earning potential has the ability to use that power in unjust ways. And just hoping for benevolence from that partner feels pretty scary to me.

      • KB says:

        Agreed. I think it’s okay to marry those in a different financial position for you, but it’s also vital that those in a position of relative power are aware of it, so that they can actively refrain from abusing it. Too often, people are unaware of their privilege/power and because they never consider the other side, they end up doing a lot of damage. I also think everyone should be prepared to face difficult circumstances both with and without their partner, as may be necessary.

  10. Jenna says:

    I believe education is very important. I myself received a BA in Communications despite marrying at 18 and having my first baby at 20. I was fortunate to have a lot of support from my husband, family and community (and also was taught not to make excuses for myself). I also know that Church leaders recommend marrying someone with whom you have much in common, and I think education is one of those factors to consider.

    However, even though I value higher education, I find this article to be a bit self-righteous. It is unproductive to concern yourself with the choices of others. Live and let live. You might genuinely fear for this woman’s future — well, fear no more, because her choice does not affect you. Perhaps she doesn’t want to get a college education. Perhaps she’d rather become educated in a trade or some other useful vocation. Perhaps she will choose to attend college in the future. It’s unfair to assume that because she married an Ivy League grad, she’s mooching off his success and submitting herself to him as a subordinate.

    Plenty of people you encounter in life are going to make choices — even very egregious ones — that you do not agree with. And you know what? That’s actually OK. God gave them the same agency he gave you, and they are allowed to use it. They will hopefully learn from their mistakes. That’s what we’re all here for.

    Share your wisdom and advice when prompted by the Spirit, but remember, ultimately this was her choice to make. And what if the shoe was on the other foot? What if she was deriding you for your choice to pursue a doctoral degree? You wouldn’t like it, and her criticism would serve no purpose other than to divide you. Be loving and accepting of those who choose different paths than you. Find some common ground, even if you think you have none. Be a friend to those who you feel make bad choices, because they might need your support down the road. At the end of the day, love is all that matters.

  11. EFH says:

    For me, education in a couple is important because education shapes interests and hobbies. What I mean by education is not necessarily degrees but exposure to knowledge (even scientific knowledge). My husband and I love literature, reading books, discussing them, traveling, foreign languages and nature . This common love of books and the world is something that always brings us together.

    Even though we both have graduate degrees, I make only one third of what he makes because of the fields we work in. But this has never been an issue because it was not education/degrees that brought us together. If a man is a jerk, he will use anything to abuse his partner no matter of her education, earning potential etc.

    Equality and fairness in marriage is so much about so many things and it is hard to pinpoint what makes it fair for everyone and what doesn’t. My feeling is that life and all decisions that come with it are a lot about gumption. Education, confidence, friends, career, children etc etc might affect gumption but at the end of the day it is a simple choice: what is a woman comfortable living with? In an unhappy marriage or struggling financially? How much confidence does she have in her fate and herself? How much support? The choice differs based on so many things and no woman should be judged for whatever choice she makes.

    Caroline, I do agree with your perspective. It resonates with me. Education and skills provide confidence so that the woman can leave behind what harms her. But I think it is not always the whole story and the story differs so much case by case that it is difficult to speak in general terms.

  12. Coastgirl says:

    I have been thinking a lot about perceived power in relationships a lot lately. I use the word “perceived” because sometimes I think it is just that, a perception and not a reality, but it can affect our relationship and our own self worth. I am in a situation where I have been a SAHM for over 15 years, I have a degree with more earning potential than my husband, however, I have given up all those years experience in my particular field. Yes, it was my choice, and no, I don’t regret it; however, I am facing a feeling of dependency on my husband as I start to transition back into the work force. I haven’t been there in 15 years, I am 40, with a degree in a field that has changed a lot, and no current experience in it. Going back to working in my profession is going to require me to be financially dependent on him for a least a few more years until I can be current in my certifications and I will still be essentially starting over. I think this is where the power difference comes into play–as Mormon women we certainly heard the message to get an education, but we heard to be mothers FIRST. So, while many emphasize the importance of education and achieve that standard of equality with our spouse, we very often sacrifice the work experience in our field to be the SAHM.
    I guess what I am saying is the educational disparity could be a starting point for dependency and power inequality, but when one parent decides to stay home full-time, you will come to deal with the disparity at some point, regardless of the level of education. So, I am advocating for teaching our women to have a plan to stay employed (monetarily) in some way, and continue to improve marketable skills. That will give you more independence and a realistic chance of providing for your entire family should the probable situations arrives.?

  13. Lady Didymus says:

    This resonated with me as I just learned a guy (RM, married in the temple for about a decade) I grew up with has emotionally and physically (I understand he is willing to pay some support) abandoned his wife and two children for women and drugs. It’s been quite a sad shock to those of us that grew up with him. His soon to be ex wife is now raising 2 children alone in a country not of her origin. To make matters even worse, she’s been roped into an MLM that’s convinced her she can make a living selling skincare. *face palm* Sadly, don’t we all know at least one LDS woman who has been abandoned by her husband and must struggle to support her family? I sadly know several. I’m chronically ill and can’t work. I told my husband once he makes more money THEN he can cheat on me. For now, it’s above his pay grade. ? Once my son is older, I’d like to slowly get my graduate degree. It’s a very scary feeling to feel so dependent. My situation couldn’t have been avoided but so many other scenarios can be! The defensiveness of some of the comments prove–as rah smartly pointed out–how uncomfortable Mormon culture is with talking about power deferentials. I mean, the institution of the church is a hierarchy that functions on power imbalances. Personally, I care more about individuals and their mobility than I do the bureaucratic church system. The church will live; our members–and everyone!–deserve opportunities at mobility. That is a basic human right and if I’m reading the BoM right, it’s an eternal one as well.

  14. Andrew R. says:

    Something I have noticed whilst reading here is that most, if not all, of the main contributors are highly motivated, highly educated, intelligent people (and mostly women of course).

    You have sought an education, a career (which you may have put on hold for a family) and as such have met a similar partner whilst in pursuit of your own goals. What you seem to fail to realise is that you are in the minority – even in LDS circles. Some people work their whole lives in jobs that many of you wouldn’t get out of bed to do.

    Should they all marry equally intellectually challenged, poorly educated and career minded people?

    No! How will that improve the lives of anyone, especially women. What chances do under educated women have of breaking the cycle, and ensuring their children receive an education, if they seek to marry (or men seek to marry) those of their own class/education.

    We should be teaching women to marry to succeed (not plan for possible marriage failure). If you couldn’t go to college, at least work to your children being able to.

    • KB says:

      I see what you’re saying, and I also don’t think marriages have to be equal in terms of education, but I do want to say that the potential of marriage failure is something that everyone should prepare for. Not because we want or expect it to happen, but because it does, and it’s absolutely devastating. You should always do what it takes to preserve the marriage covenant, but sometimes your partner will make choices that break it, and you will have no control over that. Many, many people who had faith in their partners and were loyal to the marriage will nonetheless be abused by their partners, or cheated on, or left behind. In all these circumstances, the marriage has failed. It happens. Having a contingency plan seems like wisdom to me, same as with the possibilities of death and illness.

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