1. After marrying, men assume a new identity. Marriage is one of the last “rite[s] of passage into manhood” remaining in our society, argues sociologist Steven Nock in Marriage in Men’s Lives. He found that marriage engenders an ethic of familial responsibility among men, as well as a new-found sense of meaning and status in the world. Marriage also encourages men to take their role as providers seriously.
2. Married men are motivated to maximize their income. For many men, this responsibility ethic translates into a different orientation toward work, more hours, and more strategic work choices. Sociologist Elizabeth Gorman finds that married men are more likely to value higher-paying jobs than their single peers.
This is partly why studies find that men increase their work hours after marrying and reduce their hours after divorcing. It’s also why married men are less likely to quit a current job without finding a new job. Indeed, they are also less likely to be fired than their single peers.