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What Men and Women Want from Marriage, 1939 vs. 2008

What's really important for women to look for when searching for a man to marry? The most popular and growing characteristics are mutual attraction, dependable character, and maturity. 

Chastity used to be important, but that's taken a nosedive since 1939, as did housekeeping skills and neatness.

Max Roser, an economist, recently created a series of charts to illustrate a study published in 2008 about what men and women look for in a spouses, and how these values have changed over time. It's explored in depth at the Washington Post.

We've looked at what women want. Let's check in with the men. The above chart shows that men increasingly search for mutual attraction. There were also sharp increases in the importance of good looks and sociability.

The importance of chastity plummeted over the intervening 69 years. Emotional stability, though, is still very important.

Do any of the results surprise you?

-via Glenn Reynolds


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Not surprising. A lot of the qualities that declined only did so because other qualities rose. The top few can be explained by the modern notion that you should love your spouse. Desire for home and children rose because it used to be a given instead of an option. Other factors that rose up only did so because the importance of chastity declined drastically.
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