Excerpt: 'Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women'

SWANS are leading ever-richer lives. Young women are pursuing education and dream careers and embarking on international adventures of their own. "Women who are successful aren't trying to just get married. They want to travel, be cultured. If we're single, it has a lot to do with our decisions," said Kim. Her book club partner Jill agreed: "We're not in a rush. A lot of women are going to graduate school, and it strains the relationship. My mom followed my dad everywhere. It's not for lack of opportunity that I'm single; it's because of a generational change of priorities. If you are successful, there's no big rush to have anyone take care of you."

There's some encouraging news that this strategy works. Up to a certain point, waiting a bit longer to get married, and pursuing higher education and career interests along the way, may increase the chances of marital bliss. Women without a college degree are almost twice as likely to divorce as their better-educated sisters. It's certainly true that more educated and successful women are less likely to remain in abusive marriages, and couples with more intellectual and monetary resources are more likely to seek marriage counseling when their relationship is in trouble.

"In my 20s, I focused [on] and prioritized my professional life and I didn't do the same thing with my personal life," said Patricia, a 32-year-old Washington attorney. "There are more opportunities for women, and we have the ability to make the same choices as men -- so women aren't settling for a relationship they don't want or need. If it's just about want, it's a more difficult thing to achieve. When women needed a provider, the arrangement was clearer. Now it just takes a bit longer to find the right guy."

Copyright © 2006 by Christine B. Whelan

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