Newsweek Corrects Itself on Marriage 'After 40'

June 2, 2006

In case you missed it, Newsweek ran a cover story correcting itself on a woman’s odds of marrying after 30.

In 1986, the magazine stated a woman who remained single at 30 had only a 20 percent chance of ever marrying. A 40-year-old woman was “more likely to be killed by a terrorist” than to ever marry.

Surely in a post-9/11 world, the magazine has eaten its words on many grounds. But most assuringly, it found that eight of the 14 women it profiled 20 years ago did indeed tie the knot. Three of the women remain single and three women were not found for the story.

The older brides also reported that not only did they survive a terrorist attack, they also met the men of their dreams, had children and are living much more fulfilling lives than they had two decades ago. In fact, statistically, a woman who marries later in life is least likely to divorce and report more satisfaction in her marriage than a woman who marries in her 20s.

The old wisdom was that the more successful a woman was professionally, the harder it would be to find an equally accomplished mate. But that’s changed, too. For some women, financial security creates an expanded pool of men from which to choose, whether they marry a starving artist or simply another professional whose earnings or status isn’t as high as their own. Those role reversals represent a shifting power balance in marriage, which often results in more-egalitarian relationships in which who does the housework, cares for children or mows the lawn are open to negotiation. “We’ve never constructed marriages with this much legal and economic equality before,” says Stephanie Coontz, author of “Marriage: A History” and a professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.

Coontz, by the way, set the record straight in her own essay for the magazine.

Kudos to Newsweek for re-visiting and correcting itself on this story. So what say you, fellow MotherTalkers: Was this story long overdue?? Or is it simply another trend story generalizing what women want?