Pennsylvania marriages that start off with the husbands and wives in more traditional roles and then shift to situations in which the wife earns as much or more than her husband may be less stable than those that began on equal footing in the first place. This was the finding of Swedish researchers who looked at the effect of career success on women in marriages.

There are several reasons why these marriages may fail. For example, some husbands become resentful when their wives start making more money than they do and react by becoming controlling. In other cases, a husband may welcome the opportunity to cut back on his own work hours since that income is no longer needed, but he may not pick up the slack when it comes to the child care duties and household chores that his wife took care of when her career was less demanding. The resulting resentment may lead to a couple divorcing.

Couples may take some steps to prevent getting divorced. While it is not possible to predict at the beginning of a marriage what challenges may lie ahead, people can agree to strive for equality in decision-making and other aspects of the relationship. Good communication is also key. This includes couples communicating with one another about schedules and the chores that need to be done.

Unfortunately, couples may still be unable to save their relationship. Divorce means a new set of negotiations regarding shared property and child custody. While it may be difficult for couples who have been unable to compromise in the marriage to reach an agreement on these issues, they might prefer to try negotiation before heading to litigation since it may be less costly and time-consuming. A couple may also determine some elements of the divorce agreement in negotiations but may need to take other issues before a judge.