Our mothers dreamed of Prince Charming. The most likely mustached, high-waisted-pant-wearing chap with a naughty twinkle in his eye went to important meetings, and he was generally an overall impressive macho man. But, he had delicate hands because he had a good job.
Times, however, are changing. The glass ceiling has moved up, and more women can move to the very top. At least, we have better chances at fulfilling careers.
We don’t want a Prince Charming anymore, and we don't want to be rescued. We want a university degree and a career, and we want to be the better half of a power couple. Men's desires have also changed, and they now want strong female partners.
In an Economist article that references The National Bureau’s Economic Research paper, “Marry Your Like: Assortative Mating And Income Inequality,” it says,
[T]he highly educated increasingly married each other. In 1960 25 percent of men with university degrees married women with degrees; in 2005, 48 percent did.
Women are more educated, have better careers and marry their equals. That is what assortative mating is in a nutshell, really. It's sexual selection based on similarities between you and your partner.
Assortative mating can mean choosing a partner who has a similar income or educational level, someone from the same cultural background and also — unfortunately — someone of similar race or body type. But as it usually happens in the adult world, things are not always black or white; they're grey.
Not so long ago, in 2011, a study was authored by Sean F. Reardon about the increasing gap in academic achievements between kids from rich and poor families. Our increasing tendency to form power couples is widening the income gap between poor and rich families.
The achievement gap between children from high- and low-income families is roughly 30 to 40 percent larger among children born in 2001 than among those born 25 years earlier.
This means that there are more kids from poor families. More of them don’t get a chance to grow academically and, subsequently, to catch up economically when they're adults.
Of course, most of us are more concerned with the miniature workings of our personal lives than the economics of the world. We can hardly be asked to change our dating habits because “the economy needs it.”
It is not an argument our brains can’t process. But maybe — just maybe — we can change what "power couple” means.
Robert Waldinger recently did a TED talk on the results of the longest happiness study ever conducted. It spanned 75 years.
The conclusion is very simple: A lot of money is not what makes people the happiest. Turns out, it is healthy and loving relationships with other people. Crazy, right?
Of course, we all need some money to survive. But when you reach a point where you can be comfortable, the correlation between money and happiness pretty much disappears.
The meaning of a power couple should stop having anything to do with money and fame, and instead, it should have everything to do with being with someone who makes you a better and happier person. It's kind of like knowing being smart and making money are two different things.
A couple does not have to be extremely rich or famous in order to be a power couple. Don’t marry for money. Marry someone smart and sexy (if you're into that kind of a thing, of course). If you marry for money or fame, your personal life will resemble one big performance review.