Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 3 » Marital Relationships - Gender Differences In Marriage, Changes In Marital Relationships Over The Life Course, Factors Affecting Marital Relationships In Later Life

Marital Relationships - Factors Affecting Marital Relationships In Later Life

differences retirement women quality wives

Several factors are associated with variation in subjective assessments of marital quality in later life. For example, men are more likely to report high satisfaction with their marriages in later life than are women, highlighting the fact that assessments of marital quality may vary depending on which spouse is asked. Some research further suggests that marital quality tends to be higher for better educated individuals and for people who attend religious services frequently, but lower for people who report less satisfaction with their division of household labor (Karney and Bradbury; Suitor). Perceptions of the fairness in the division of household labor, however, more strongly affect assessments of marital satisfaction among wives than among husbands.

Much attention has been paid to the impact of retirement on marital relationships in later Married on January 18, 1918, Paul and Mary Onesi posed for this photo on their eightieth wedding anniversary, which made them the longest-married couple in the United States at the time. Paul, 101, and Mary, 93, credited their longevity to always talking through their problems. (AP photo by Bill Sikes.) life. Demographic trends such as increasing numbers of women in the workforce and longer life expectancy suggest that retirement is increasingly becoming a couple event, meaning that both husband and wife tend to retire together and adapt simultaneously to each other's retirement (Szinovacz and Ekerdt). Retirement may reduce role conflicts and time constraints experienced by men and women, increase the amount of time couples spend with one another, and offer the potential for a reshuffling of domestic roles. Despite this potential for major change in the context of marital relationships in later life, much research suggests that retirement has little effect on overall levels of marital satisfaction among older couples. Indeed, many studies show that retired couples who are currently happy with their marriages also tended to have been happy with their marriages before they retired. Yet, the context in which retirement occurs is important. For example, marital satisfaction may deteriorate and marital conflict may increase if husbands retire before their wives, perhaps because wives tend to retain responsibility for the majority of household chores (Lee and Shehan). Although many men do increase their participation in household tasks upon retirement, this effort tends to be directed toward projects such as home remodeling or heavy out-door work, leading to little reduction in the daily chores performed by women (Vinick and Ekerdt).

Finally, marital relationships can be affected by changes in the health status of spouses that require one spouse to become the primary care-giver for the other. A large proportion of the research on caregiving's impact on the marital relationship has focused on individuals caring for spouses with dementia, although this literature has also examined other forms of mental and physical impairment. Taken together, this body of research suggests that marital quality and intimacy tend to decline under the strain of deteriorating health and caring for an ill spouse (e.g., Kramer and Lambert; Booth and Johnson). A spouse's poor health appears to have larger negative effects on perceptions of marital quality than does the deterioration of one's own health. Although findings vary across studies, some evidence suggests that caregiving wives are more likely to report strain, depression, and negative feelings toward their marriages than caregiving husbands. These gender differences are more pronounced, however, when the spouse in need of care is cognitively impaired, perhaps because the resulting loss of reciprocity in the marital relationship impacts the well-being of women more than men (Hooker et al.). Wives also tend to provide more care than husbands when their spouses become ill or impaired, which may further explain women's relatively higher level of stress in the caregiving role (Allen).

Marital Relationships - Discussion [next] [back] Marital Relationships - Changes In Marital Relationships Over The Life Course

User Comments

The following comments are not guaranteed to be that of a trained medical professional. Please consult your physician for advice.

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or

Vote down Vote up

4 months ago


Hello everyone here i will love to share my story/testimoy about my relationship which i promise to share if it works out!after 4years in a beautiful relationship with my man Jack things changed all of a sudden i began to wonder if truelly this is the man i had kids for because his attitude became different. we had series of fighting and quarelling finally he left the house and left us in pains i prayed and went for marriage counseling all to no avail every moment i kept on thinking of my man and possible means to bring him back home also if there could be life without him because i still love and see him in my dreams it got to a point i almost commited suicide but i thought of the kids hence as i was going through the internent i saw couples of testimonies refering to a man call Dr Olorun a powerful spell caster who has help many to get back their ex husbands,wifes even boyfriends and girlfriends back though i was never use to this but i contacted him at once due to my desperacy, honestly he was so warm and welcoming he said it was a lady that caster a love spell on my husband that made him turned his face away from me and my kids hence DR olorun guarantee me that i should cry no more that my MAN will return in 48hours he spoke with so much encouragement and boldness well thought he was kidding after 42hours of Dr Olorun instrusctions/directives i got a message from jack and later a call he said his so sorry for all the pAINS he made us went through showing all sort of remorse for hurting me and the kids finally he is here lyning in my arms if some one told me this will work i won't have believed but this is so true Dr Olorun is the best of all he has indeed shown to me that his magic spell is very effective and powerful am so glad i took further step to contact you sir His email= dr.olorun@gmail.com or dr.olorun48@gmail.com web=olorunmagicspell.com,Blog;dr.olorunspelltemple.blogspot.com