More highlights from the Christianity Today interview of University of Virginia sociologists Steven L. Nock and W. Bradford Wilcox (in their own words):
- About two-thirds of all divorces in the United States are, at least officially, initiated by women. One of the key factors [they cite] is the emotional quality of their relationships.
- The biggest predictor of women's happiness is their husband's emotional engagement. The extent to which he is affectionate, to which he is empathetic, to which he is basically tuned into his wife, this is the most important factor in predicting the wife's happiness. This basically drowns out every other factor in our models.
- We have to recognize that for the average American marriage, it matters a lot more whether the husband is emotionally in tune with his wife than whether he's doing, say, half the dishes or half the laundry.
- Women who have more traditional gender attitudes are significantly happier in their marriages.
- My theory is that women are looking for, in general, husbands who provide them with emotional and financial support, and support to make the choices that they think are important for them and for their children.
- I think we're going to see a continued growth of more egalitarian marriages in a large subset of the population. But we're going to also continue to see what I call a neo-traditional model of family life. What I mean by neo-traditional is that it's progressive in a sense that men, particularly religious men, are investing more and more—especially in the emotional arena—in their wives and children. But it's traditional in that there's still some kind of effort to, in a sense, mark off who is the primary breadwinner and who is the primary nurturer.
- This kind of neo-traditional family model is here to stay. I think that prediction is somewhat at odds with what many of my colleagues in the academy would predict.