In dual-career marriage, both partners have occupational careers that they pursue. These types of marriages are rare to find and differs from dual-earner marriages where only one partner has formal employment. Studies have shown that women are fond of undertaking double work, combining workplace responsibilities with domestic work. Having a dual-career marriage makes partners face a load overload while trying to cope with different strategies to improve their marriage. Couples should possess relational coping resources that include fantastic behaviors, cooperation in times of negotiation, and trust between them (Marshall, 1998). Researchers have tried to study the behavior of couples engaged in dual-career marriage to determine how they think, act, and feel in an organized home setting.
The present workforce diversity has received a lot of strengths with both men and women working together and sharing common goals. Most organizations use gender diversity that makes them progress well in the competitive environment. In addition, women number in the workforce is increasing as most of them become the main bread winners for their families. Management of an organization into a community, where man and women are able to adjust their attitude towards one another, leads to more productivity. The entry and continued presence of women in the workforce has increased the number of families, where both spouses are in a career. The increased proportion of dual careers in organizations creates new challenges to the management.
Moreover, current technologies have made it easier for people to communicate and locate their partners. Dual career couples always struggle to balance their careers and family issues. In most cases, people tend to become more intimate in work related issues and neglect their family duties. Moreover, double career couples face problems in finding two positions that permit each partner to leave in the same environment, meet their professional goals, and get time for family matters (Wolf-Wendel, Twombly and Rice, 2000).
People in dual career marriages term it as exclusively rewarding because when both parties are earning, the family gets enough income for sustained. Someone’s relationship is a job. A partner who fails to perform according to the expected level faces many challenges in the family. Dual career-couples challenge one another making each partner add extra effort on daily basis to avoid being left behind. Flexibility in marriage is very crucial when both parties are at different careers. Couples in double-career marriage should develop some creative measures to deal with different external factors that affect this marriage. With proper measures, some obvious things like child sickness are not likely to put the family into crisis. Double career couples also require having a backup plan to cater for any emergency which occurs when both are out for work (Anurag & Jennifer, 2003).
Managing dual career couples in organizations
Dual career couple placement is a major issue in industrial and academic hiring. Dual career couple issues have no concrete solutions but experts try to determine the main cause of these problems and look for alternatives. In this type of marriage, some couples found themselves at the same stage in their career while others are at different stages. Most commonly couples at the same discipline and stage in their careers have a lot of problems. When both couples are working in the same environment, such occurences are common. Under these circumstances, the organization management finds it hard describing the type of job a certain individual could take. Taking an example, when the husband is the marketing manager of a firm and the wife is the marketing representative. The husband is likely to favor his wife when it comes to sales and promotions because the token will end up in the family. Under such circumstances some industries just avoid such occurrences by shifting either of the couple in a different department (Fleig-Palmer et al, 2003).
Most managers face hard tasks overcoming the inhibiting behaviors portrayed by some couples working in the same organization. This behavior interferes with the working environment making organization lose revenues. Women are seen as minor group in the society and such, working in the same level as men creates some hatred. Dual-career couples have a kind of disrespect especially when the woman holds a superior position than the husband. On the other hand, organizations are facing critical issues when it comes to recruiting and retention of qualified employees. The work and family concerns regarding dual careers influence the people’s decisions when looking for a certain career. The fact that most marriage partners are pursuing careers apart from their home responsibilities makes the society grow and advance. The agreement between the couples about family and career has become very hard because everyone needs to earn his or her own salary. Moreover, most companies have gained a competitive advantage after realizing the importance of facilitating partner relocation (Retta & Richard, 2005).
Factors that impact dual career couples in working environment
There has been an increase in the flexibility of the relationship between men and women because of massive movement of women in the workforce. The massive economic changes, sexual revolution and technological advancement have made women equal men in the job market. Career marriage aspirations are determined by two factors, these are: career-oriented factors and home-oriented factors. According to Blaska (1978), the traditional role of women in a society is no longer followed since most women in the present day are capable of taking both roles. Dual career marriages are most common in the present world. The roles played by young men and women in their adult life and roles in their careers face many challenges. The dual career marriages are affected by the following factors. Career marriage options, relationship value issues, work value issues, and personal attributes.
Career marriage options determine the type of partner that an individual marries. Most people look for partners who have a career in order to cost share the family chores. According to Steers and Braunstein (1976), equity and status issues are very important in making career marriage options. Some men opt to work while the wife stays at home and do all the household duties. Second, the relationship between dual career couples suggests a lot about the way they leave. In most cases, couples working in different careers tend to challenge one another because they have different salary scales. Those people with high affinity for career-home arrangement have a high equity on marriage issues. On the other hand, those partners who aspire to dual career marriages have a higher equity, perfect status, and a big achievements (Cooper et al, 2001).
Career marriage choice is also affected by differences due to sex and gender roles. From relationship values factor women tend to have a greater importance than men due to gender and interpersonal sensitivity. Men concentrate more on their career and tend to ignore their family roles. On the other hand, even if women have a lot of commitments from their careers they always have time for their family. The relationship between high work values and career-oriented marriages play a significant role in determining the quality of marriage by different couples. Gender roles also affect the quality of dual career marriage especially where the society upholds the traditional beliefs. Gender roles are very essential in career marriage decisions because if the women ignore their roles, children are likely to suffer and the marriage ends up to breakages (Sprunt and Howes, 2012).
Although dual-career couples have the necessary strengths in solving their problems their abilities are outworked since most of these problems are too huge for an individual to withstand. The solution based concept assists them in changing their attitude from speaking about the problems they experience to looking for the necessary solutions (Bertram, 2010). The solution based therapy is applicable in solving family issues where people are afraid of talking to others about the problems in the family. This therapy caters for the need of mental health issues resulting from stress and depressions in people undertaking different chores (Falk & Leibing, 2003).
Balancing career life in dual-career marriage
In the United States, the number of dual career marriages is growing at an alarming rate. Half of U.S workforce composes of women, with a great number of them married. In addition, the increase in technological knowhow, and advancement in education has led into more women getting into the workforce and becoming managers of big organizations (U.S Bureau of labor, 2008). Most working women chase their career regardless of the situation they face back in their homes. A person who is in a demanding career has many commitment and sometimes people find themselves neglecting their family responsibilities. Both men and women who have a certain career expect to grow and develop it over a long time (Marshack, 2009).
Couples owning careers face many challenges in the working environment since their time is linked to both career and family commitments. A competition between career and family commitments leads to conflicts in the family when each partner seeks to protect their identity. The methods used by dual couples to cater for their work related issues and look after their family places them in a better position in future. On the other hand, organizations also face a lot of challenges incorporating such individual especially when they have family issues. People who face stresses in their homes create a negative psychological wellbeing towards their co-workers leading to poor productivity. These issues result from crossover of stresses from one partner to another especially when one of them has work-related issues. The transfer of stresses from one partner to the other always relate to decrease family well-being and broken marriages (Crossfield, Kinman & Jones, 2005).
Dual career couples face many life complexities as compared to traditional marriages. In most cases, dual career couples struggle to support one another’s career in order to increase the family income level. All these should occur while they think of developing their home, educating children and improving their personal relationship. When it comes to housekeeping and childcare, dual career couples divide chores equally because every partner is a bread winner. According to Marshack (2009), in dual-career marriage both the husband and wife work full time, but the wife has to take the task of housekeeping and caring for children. However how hard it becomes for the dual coupe to change their social standards, the wife is always overworked resulting into quarrels and conflicts between partners.
On the other hand, dual career couples need to balance their life. Most people who are in dual career marriage report that the double careers improve their personal relationship. Most people look for a person who is intelligent, interesting, and powerful. Committing one’s time to marriage and career is hard and requires a lot of sacrifice from both parties. Moreover, there are challenges and rewards in dual career marriage. Couples are advised to take their time and talk about their family issues without injecting the issue of careers. This should occur through weekend offs, holidays, or private dinners. In addition, couples are advised to seek guidance and counseling from marriage experts in order to avoid home conflicts.
The quality of marriage in dual career couples
The global evaluation of one’s marriage defines a quality marriage. Marital quality determines other factors related to stress, which results into poor health, psychological distress, and broken marriages (Kluwer, 2000). Although little is known on the process of maintaining a quality marriage, couples should ensure their relationship stays intact regardless of work related commitments. Most people associate marriage with happiness among couples, especially where both man and woman have a promising career. Studies have shown that people involved in dual career marriages face many marital problems and their marriage quality is poor. Partners always report high marital satisfaction, but very few are totally satisfied with their marriages. Some give positive feedbacks in order to maintain their social status but keen surveys show that their marriage in mess. The negative relationship between stress related issues and quality of marriage in a dual career system puts couples at greater risks in life. Most studies on the quality of marriage in dual career partners focuses on life events like birth and deaths of either children or one of the couples (Cowan & Cowan, 1997).
Organizations today have stiff managerial decisions that do not entertain any misconduct or poor performance due to family issues. If the couples are to succeed in both career and maintain a quality family, they should avoid instances of conflicts. Job stressing always contributes to strains in the family and this affect the relationship between the couples and even with their children. Double-career marriages bring financial gains to the family, making most parents believe taking care of both professional and family responsibilities makes them more responsible. Moreover, working women relieve their stresses when they attend to their jobs due to change of environment contributing to a strong relationship (Haddock & Rattenborg, 2003).
Some psychologists have come up with various theories related to marriage quality in a dual career system. The distress and coping theory is the most common that deals with the role of strain, and coping with marriage related stresses. This is influenced by the experiences faced by dual career partners in handling different career and marriage stresses. Cognitive appraisals modify the way in which these couples stay and balance their career lives. The role overload from workplace to the family greatly affects the lives of dual-career couples. Couples who fail to use various coping strategies find themselves having problems balancing their lives, because many issues crop in.
According to Fraenkel & Wilson (2000), partners in a dual career marriage require skills training to enable them learn quickly and identify these issues that affect the quality of their marriage. In addition, partners should come up with a list options on how to solve various problems associated with the marriage. The coping strategy theory benefites many couples in this kind of marriage. Partners become more practical as they consciously select the most effective methods. On the other hand, both couples need to be competitive in the market in order to increase chances of increasing the family income. The period that the dual career partners work sometimes prevent them from putting together their relationship as the first priority in life. However, if certain standards are changed the couple innovate other means of undertaking household tasks by reducing some career activities. This helps in improving the quality of marriage, but still limits the career advancement. In order to cope with these, the couple needs to balance between their careers and marriage.
Dual career marriage reflects the increasing education and career advancements in women aspirations. The issue has been the focus for many family researchers since they provide a great innovation that eliminates the traditional aspects of marriage. The studies show how couples integrate work and family and the results of this integration. In most cases, husbands found themselves accepting the influence from their wives due to career matters. Sometimes women work at night shift, especially nurses, and the husband should cater for the home keeping and child keeping. A happily marriage couple keeps high standards of living because they have adequate income to cater for their family needs. A couple that refuses to accept the hurtful behavior from the partner always live happily, and advance more in their career (Hiller and Dyehouse, 1987).
Couples should learn the act of balancing between the career goals and family matters. Most organizations have recorded poor performance in failure of acknowledging the concerns of relocating dual partners. Some universities have developed dual career programs that assist managers in dealing with such circumstances. On the other hand, partners should make a decision about the type of career to pursue. Some careers are too demanding that one hardly gets time for the family. One partner carries the whole family burden and also needs to attend to work. Moreover, couples should to pursue careers that are more promising and do not demand a lot of their time. Finally, organizations should carry out a full analysis of an individual before recruiting them into their system. In most cases, couples working in the same organization and career create many dramas, and this could result into poor performance of the firm (Sprunt and Howes, 2012).
Anurag, A. Jennifer T. (2003). Solving the Two-Body Problem. Retrieved from:
Bitter, J. (2009). Theory and practice of family therapy and counseling. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Pub Co.
Cooper, S. E., arkkelin, L. D., and tiebert, M. (2001). Work-Relationship value and Gender Role
Differences in Relation to Career-Marriage Aspirations, Journal of Counselling & Development, 1 (73): 66-67
Cowan, C. P., & Cowan, P. A. (1997). Working with couples during stressful transitions. In S.
Dreman (Ed.), the family on the threshold of the 21st century: Trends and implications Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum: 17-47.
Crossfield, S., Kinman, G., & Jones, F. (2005). Crossover of occupational stress in dual-career
couples: The role of work demands and supports, job commitment and marital communication. Community, Work & Family, 8, 211-232.
Falk, L, & Leibing, E. (2003). The Effectiveness of psychodynamic therapy and cognitive
behavioral therapy in the treatment of personality disorders: a meta-analysis. AM J Psychiatry, 16(1), pp. New York: Wiley: 139-144
Fleig-Palmer, Michelle et al. (2003). Meeting the needs of dual-career couples in academia.
CUPA-HR Journal. Vol. 54 (3)
Fraenkel, P., & Wilson, S. (2000). Clocks, calendars, and couples: Time and rhythms of
relationships. In P. Papp (Ed.), Couples on the fault line: New Directions for therapists
New York, NY: Guilford Press: 68-90.
Haddock, S. A., & Rattenborg, K. (2003). Benefits and challenges of dual-earning: Perspectives
of successful couples. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 31, 325-344.
Hiller, D. V. and Dyehouse, J. (1987). A Case for Banishing “Dual-Career Marriages” Journal of
Marriage and Family. 49 (4): 787-795
Kluwer, E. S. (2000). Marital quality. In R. M. Milardo & S. Duck (Eds.), Families as
Relationships, New York: Wiley: 59-78.
Marshack, K. J. (2009). Balancing Life as a Dual-Career Couples. Retrieved from:
Marshall. G. (1998) "dual-career marriage." A Dictionary of Sociology. Retrieved from
Retta, P. E. & Richard, M. G. (2005). Developmental Aspects of Dual-Career Relationships:
Reflections and Issues. Retrieved from:
Sprunt, E. and Howes, S. (2012). Factors Impacting Dual-Career Couples. Results of December
2011 Talent Council Survey. Retrieved from:
Wolf-Wendel, L., Twombly, S. & Rice. S. (2000). “Dual-career couples: keeping them
together”. The Journal of Higher Education, 71 (3): 291-321.