Is it too much to ask for an ideal marriage?
A 2014 study by the Pew Research Center found when it comes to finding the ideal mate, women want a man with a steady job. Just under 80 percent of never-married women said "finding someone with a steady job would be very important."
The study also found 70 percent of women also want to find someone who has similar ideas about having and raising children.
And what are those ideas? According to a 2007 poll, also conducted by the Pew Research Center, couples want a more even distribution of responsibilities.
A more equal division of domestic life, according to the poll, has become one of the defining features of a good marriage. It outranks having an adequate income, sharing religious beliefs, or even having children.
This yearning for a more equal division of responsibilities, and by extension a more equal partnership in general, might be one of the reasons why lower-income families haven't seen declining divorce rates like the national average.
"What we have is historically high expectations for what young people call a 50-50 marriage," Bill Doherty, a professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota, told The Washington Post's Darlena Cunha.
"People are looking for a high-intimacy, high-income marriage where both partners contribute, regardless of income bracket," he continued. "Unless you have a good economic base and a certain level of personal maturity, it can be very hard."
According to Cunha, this trend has hit lower-income families the hardest. Couples who struggle economically are having a harder time managing these ideal marriages, and it's leading to divorce.
Why the poor have higher divorce rates than the rich and the middle class is something researchers have been trying to comprehend for years, especially because studies show that the poor value marriage just as much as the other economic demographics.
"A lot of government policy is based on the assumption that low-income people hold less traditional views about marriage," researcher Benjamin Karney, a UCLA professor of psychology, said in a press release in 2012.
"However, the different income groups do not hold dramatically different views about marriage and divorce — and when the views are different, they are different in the opposite direction from what is commonly assumed."
According to The New York Times' Stephanie Coontz, high divorce rates among lower-income families represent a fascinating paradox.
"Since the 1970s, families have become more egalitarian in their internal relationships. But inequality among families has soared," she wrote in 2014. "Women have become more secure as their real wages and legal rights have increased. But families have become more insecure as their income and job instability have worsened."
So just as families have grown more equal, "rising inequality has changed family dynamics for all socioeconomic groups."
According to Cunha, women have rebounded from the recession better than men, and they are also graduating from college at higher rates. Therefore, women are becoming increasingly impatient with the economic stagnation of their male counterparts.
"I realized that since I was the only reliable person in the family making money," one divorced woman told Cunha, "there wasn't much reason to hold onto that marriage."
JJ Feinauer is a writer for Deseret News National. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: jjfeinauer.