What's Love Got to Do with it? Equality, Equity, Commitment and Women's Marital Quality

Social Forces, Vol. 84, pp. 1321-1345, 2006

Posted: 2 Oct 2006

See all articles by Steven L. Nock

Steven L. Nock

University of Virginia

W. Bradford Wilcox

University of Virginia

Abstract

The companionate theory of marriage suggests that egalitarianism in practice and belief leads to higher marital quality for wives and higher levels of positive emotion work on the part of husbands. Our analysis of women's marital quality and men's marital emotion work provides little evidence in support of this theory. Rather, in examining women's marital quality and men's emotional investments in marriage, we find that dyadic commitment to institutional ideals about marriage and women's contentment with the division of household tasks are more critical. We also show that men's marital emotion work is a very important determinant of women's marital quality. We conclude by noting that her marriage is happiest when it combines elements of the new and old: that is, gender equity and normative commitment to the institution of marriage.

Keywords: marriage, egalitarian, gender, marital happiness, gender equality

Suggested Citation

Nock, Steven L. and Wilcox, W. Bradford, What's Love Got to Do with it? Equality, Equity, Commitment and Women's Marital Quality. Social Forces, Vol. 84, pp. 1321-1345, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=933972

Steven L. Nock

University of Virginia ( email )

Cabell Hall, Room 543
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
804-924-6519 (Phone)

W. Bradford Wilcox (Contact Author)

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.virginia.edu/sociology/peopleofsociology/bwilcox.htm

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