Females Want a Provider; Always Have, Always Will

by An Ordinary Man (the novel)

For the first time since they met, a dark look clouded her brow and he did not miss it. What do women want? There it was, right there; an unfailing provider who would never miss an opportunity to better his situation. They wanted the [high-achievers] of the world, seemingly oblivious to the fact that infidelity was often part of that package.

A sociology professor at Harvard, Alexandra Killewald, is due to publish a study in the August issue of American Sociological Review contending that while women have become increasingly free to enter the workforce and cut back on housework without fearing an increased risk of divorce, men remain liable to have their marriages break up if they do not have a full-time job outside the home. In her words, Prof. Killewald says:

“While contemporary wives need not embrace the traditional female homemaker role to stay married, contemporary husbands face higher risk of divorce when they do not fulfill the stereotypical breadwinner role.”

The finding is important in that it discredits the idea that rising divorce rates are due to the “increasing economic independence among women who no longer need a committed partner for a stable life,” according to an article regarding the study by Corey Schouten, published today on CBS Interactive Inc.’s Moneywatch.

But it comes as no surprise to Prof. Richard Wilson, the main character in An Ordinary Man, excerpted above, who teaches in his evolutionary biology courses at a small, nondescript college that human females are not that far removed from their lineage so as to not gravitate towards the better providers.  This is not a criticism, just a fact – one that can be overcome in a loving relationship by the power of our intellect and is an interesting corollary to the established idea that men can overcome their instinct in favor of having as much sex as possible.

The dainty little bow isn’t quite there, but biology, it seems, is present to some extent in every marriage.