The good news here is that a large body of research shows that you will gain more happiness by being married than by having a good job. Yes, you should not have to choose between a good job and marriage. But this column is not about what is fair or what is just. It is about what is real.
As I read Penelope Trunk's words, I wondered how single women react to this premise. Do they feel less self-fulfilled because they're alone, if they're successful?
I know it's chic to think about marriage as something women do after they've sowed their oats, hiked the Appalachian Trail, and delved deep into their psyches to "find themselves." I know the assumption is that their dream guy and wedding are waiting in the wings as a prize for all that soul searching. But honestly, it just doesn't work that way.
According to Suzanne Venker, many modern women feel presurred into postponing marriage and children, for the sake of their careers. So what happens to the ones like me, who do get married and have children before their careers take off?
It turns out, some guys think a successful woman makes a lousy wife and mother, but the truth is, marriage requires a solid partnership, where both parties assume full responsibility of their agreement. To be able to succeed, married women need good husbands. Suzanne Venker concludes:
Of all the choices women will make in their lifetime, none is as important as deciding whom to marry. None. Whether or not you are happily married will dictate the entire course of your life. It will measure the flow of your days, be the determiner of your children's well being, even color your view of the world. You will take a good marriage or a bad marriage with you everywhere you go. It is the barometer for everything else you do.
Forbes author, Elizabeth Corcoran takes a similar stance on the subject by pointing out: "Don't Marry a Lazy Man." She continues:
The essence of a good marriage, it seems to me, is that both people have to learn to change and keep on adapting. Children bring tons of change. Mothers encounter it first during the nine months of pregnancy, starting with changing body dimensions. But fathers have to learn to adapt, too, by learning to help care for children, to take charge of new aspects of a household, to adapt as the mothers change.
Falling into this debate and determined to avoid choosing between a great marriage and a great career, I think I found a simple answer to the perpetual question: Does a succesful career ruin a woman's marriage?
No, it doesn't. The obvious answer? Choosing the wrong partner will.