Created By: animeg3282 on August 11, 2012 Last Edited By: willthiswork on April 11, 2013
Troped

Quitting To Get Married

Job or wedding ring? She picks the ring.

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Trope
Indexes: Always Female, Wedding and Engagement Tropes

In some countries and time periods, women are expected to quit their jobs when they get married. This can cause conflict if the woman really loves her job and doesn't want to quit, but her husband and/or her company think she should quit.

There are some male jobs that do not permit marriage, the Catholic clergy being the best known. However, this is normally Always Female; men are "supposed" to be the breadwinner of a couple.

This is most common in Japanese works or Western works written (or, for period pieces, set) before the 1970s. In modern day Western works, a woman who quits to get married may be seen as a Gold Digger or Trophy Wife. The trope is moving toward Discredited Trope territory in the West, but hasn't quite gotten there yet.

A woman who does this may have taken a MRS Degree in college ... or quit college so she could get married, which is another variant on this trope. This is a common outcome of the Family Versus Career or Career Versus Man choice.

Examples:

Film
  • In the movie "Nightmare in the Daylight" Jaclyn Smith plays a woman whose husband gave up being a Catholic priest to marry her. In his words "God wants me to be this woman's husband".
  • In An Officer and a Gentleman, David Keith's character (Jim Worley) is an naval officer candidate who has a fling with one of the town girls (as candidates often do) named Lynette; she reports that she is pregnant in order to get him to marry her, but then he quits the navy to marry her. Lynette had wanted to be a navy officer's wife, so she dumps him (and informs him that she wasn't pregnant after all). He hangs himself.
  • In Kill Bill, the Bride (!) tries to quit the Professional Killer business in order to marry. It backfires horribly.
  • The film His Girl Friday starts with Hildy telling her ex-husband that once she marries her current fiance she's giving up her job with the paper to be a wife and mother. It's a Screwball Comedy and the ex is played by Cary Grant, so of course it doesn't work out that way.
  • Gender-flipped and retroactively applied in Good Night, and Good Luck.. Joe and Shirley Wershba are Happily Married despite CBS company policy prohibiting married coworkers. Their marriage is an Open Secret in the office, but near the end of the film their boss is told to lay off two employees, and gives them the opportunity to have one or both of them quit to save somebody else's job. Joe takes the offer.

Literature
  • In Strong Poison, this is how Lord Peter was able to get one of his staffers from his typing bureau to infiltrate Norman Urquart's law office. The office manager complains to him that the last female secretary was overcome by "a whim" and she ran off to get married. Lord Peter advises Miss Murchison to instruct the replacement to "make sure her skirts are the regulation four inches below the knee" because the manager is "feeling anti-sex appeal".
  • In Little House on the Prairie, Laura quits her teaching job when she and Alonzo decide to get married.
  • In L. M. Montgomery's ''Anne of Green Gables, Anne explains that her parents were school teacher until they married, whereupon her mother quit. Later, she works only until she married.
  • Lensman: Clarissa comments at the end of Gray Lensman that she's facing a huge amount of demerits for having not one, but three men in her quarters. The chief surgeon (one of those men) assures her she won't get in trouble, because her resignation to marry Kinnison will be backdated to before the meeting. (Note that Clarissa hadn't said anything about resigning, everyone[[hottip:*:including Clarissa, to be honest]] just assumed she would.) Turns into a 10-Minute Retirement when Mentor delivers a psychic Dope Slap to Kinnison at the beginning of Second Stage Lensmen ... but before she gets to go through with the wedding at the end of that book, she resigns again.
  • Reversed in the children's book Tornado Slim and the Magic Cowboy Hat. The hero wins a job as a wild west sheriff that is vacant because the man who was their sheriff left to get married.

Live Action Television
  • Mad Men:
    • Joan's new husband forces her to quit her job because he feels that if she keeps on working it will look like he cannot support his family. Then it turns out that he really cannot support them financially and Joan has to take a much less prestigious and lower paying job at a department store.
    • Averted when Don marries his secretary. He is actually quite supportive of her working at the firm as a copywriter and is disappointed when she quits the job to pursue an acting career.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Who Mourns for Adonais". Kirk and Dr. McCoy are discussing Lieutenant Carolyn Palamas.
    McCoy: One day she'll find the right man and off she'll go, out of the service.
  • In Soap Father Tim Flotsky quits the priesthood to be with Corinne. When he proposes she is surprised. "No, I quit the priesthood so we could go steady."
  • Gender Inverted in Up All Night. The husband quits his job to care for their baby and the wife continues to work.
  • In a sketch on Love American Style a woman who is a professional cake jump-outer has a boyfriend who doesn't want her doing that any more, so he proposes. She quits on the spot, mere moments before she's scheduled to jump.
  • Zig-zagged on the last episode of JAG where Harm and Sarah flip a coin for who will have to do this when they marry. The show ends before the coin lands.
  • In the backstory to The Dick Van Dyke Show Laura had quit a promising career as a song-and-dance girl to become Mrs. Robert Petrie, wife and mother. In one episode she goes back to work temporarily on The Alan Brady Show when another dancer gets injured. Rob is worried she'll want to continue full-time.

Manga and Anime
  • In Tramps Like Us , Sumire is concerned about whether Hatsumi would expect her to leave her job after marriage. She resigns briefly after her proposal, but after it is called off, she returns. When she marries Momo, she continues to work
  • In Hanasaku Iroha , Tomoe considers getting married and quitting her job, but after some wacky hijinks, she decides to wait a while since she enjoys working at the inn so much.
  • In Remote, the heroine quits her job as a traffic cop because she's about to get hitched, only to learn her fiance didn't get that promotion and salary hike after all. She tries to take back her resignation, but they already hired her replacement. Oh, but there's an opening in Homicide....
  • A flashback in the manga of Neon Genesis Evangelion has Yui Ikari, Shinji's mother, get asked by Dr. Fuyutsuki where she's planning to work after getting her doctorate. She answers she's actually planning to marry Gendou and start a family.
  • At the end of ARIA, Alicia announces she's retiring to get married. This comes completely out of nowhere in the anime, the manga spent a few chapters hinting about her seeing someone. All the Yuri shippers still collectively let out a Big "NO!".

Music
  • In Summer of '69 by Bryan Adams, he describes how his first band never got far because "Jimmy quit and Jody got married" (I think Jody, actually a guy, refers to Bryan's sound manager.)

Newspaper Comics

Real Life
  • Absolutely Truth in Television. In the US, as recently as the 1980s women were often discriminated against in the work force on the assumption that she was only there until she "found a man". While it's currently illegal to ask a female job applicant if she plans to get married or have kids, there are still employers who sneak those questions in.
  • In Christian denominations that allow married clergy, there is often the assumption that a pastor's wife will take on a volunteer (and unpaid) job at her husband's church. This trope causes problems both for unmarried clergy, who can't provide the free help, and for clergymen's wives, who might prefer to keep their paid job.

Community Feedback Replies: 45
  • August 12, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    • In Strong Poison, this is how Lord Peter was able to get one of his staffers from his typing bureau to infiltrate Norman Urquart's law office. The office manager complains to him that the last female secretary was overcome by "a whim" and she ran off to get married. Lord Peter advises Miss Murchison to instruct the replacement to "make sure her skirts are the regulation four inches below the knee" because the manager is "feeling anti-sex appeal".
  • August 12, 2012
    Hello999
  • August 12, 2012
    nielas
    ^ They have been married for a while before the husband quits and he only quits because they do not want their baby raised by a nanny.

    • On Mad Men Joan's new husband forces her to quit her job because he feels that if she keeps on working it will look like he cannot support his family. Then it turns out that he really cannot support them financially and Joan has to take a much less prestigious and lower paying job at a department store.
      • Averted when Don marries his secretary. He is actually quite supporting of her working at the firm as a copywriter and is disappointed when she quits the job to pursue an acting career.
  • August 12, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Zig Zagged in a couple of Peanuts comic strip arcs. Linus' teacher Miss Othmar, upon whom he has a crush, quits to get married, but years later she comes back to teaching. Linus is still in the same class.
  • August 12, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    In the movie "Nightmare in the Daylight" Jaclyn Smith plays a woman whose husband gave up being a Catholic priest to marry her. In his words "God wants me to be this woman's husband".
  • August 12, 2012
    SKJAM
    In Remote, the heroine quits her job as a traffic cop because she's about to get hitched, only to learn her fiance didn't get that promotion and salary hike after all. She tries to take back her resignation, but they already hired her replacement. Oh, but there's an opening in Homicide....
  • August 12, 2012
    Arivne
    Live Action TV
    McCoy: One day she'll find the right man and off she'll go, out of the service.

  • August 12, 2012
    animeg3282
    ....woah. I'm surprised that so many people have examples of this!
  • August 12, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In Soap Father Tim Flotsky quits the priesthood to be with Corinne. When he proposes she is surprised. "No, I quit the priesthood so we could go steady."
  • August 12, 2012
    NoirGrimoir
    This is still a pretty common thing in Japanese works.
  • August 13, 2012
    nielas
    This is mostly a Discredited Trope in western works. It is now often used to indicate that the woman is a Gold Digger or Trophy Wife since she expects her rich new husband to support her.
  • August 13, 2012
    Antigone3
    As I recall, in the Little House on the Prairie books Laura quit teaching to marry Alonzo. But it's been a while since I last read those books, can someone confirm this? (It's very much Truth In Television.)
  • August 13, 2012
    Generality
    Potentially justified in some jobs, such as clergy, who usually forbid marriage of their members, and the military, where relationships between soldiers are usually prohibited.
  • August 16, 2012
    Antigone3
    You might want to narrow down "clergy" a bit, Generality -- many Christian denominations allow married clergy.
  • August 16, 2012
    Goldfritha
    • In LM Montgomery's Anne Of Green Gables, Anne explains that her parents were school teacher until they married, whereupon she quit. Later, she works only until she married.
  • August 16, 2012
    Quatic
    In An Officer And A Gentleman, David Keith's character (Jim Worley) is an naval officer candidate who has a fling with one of the town girls (as candidates often do) named Lynette; she reports that she is pregnant in order to get him to marry her, but then he quits the navy to marry her. But Lynette had wanted to be a navy officer's wife, so she dumps him (and informs him that she wasn't pregnant after all). He hangs himself.
  • August 16, 2012
    SquirrelGuy
    Music: In Summer of '69 by Bryan Adams, he describes how his first band never got far because "Jimmy quit and Jody got married" (I think Jody, actually a guy, refers to Bryan's sound manager.)
  • September 6, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In a sketch on Love American Style a woman who is a professional cake jump-outer has a boyfriend who doesn't want her doing that any more, so he proposes. She quits on the spot, mere moments before she's scheduled to jump.
  • September 6, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Real Life: This was often a reason that women didn't get hired until oh, about the 80s. Such discrimination is illegal now.
  • September 7, 2012
    Koveras
  • September 7, 2012
    surgoshan
    ^ The Kill Bill example is more complicated than that... too bad Bill doesn't know it.
  • September 7, 2012
    TheNinth
    The film His Girl Friday starts with Hildy telling her ex-husband that once she marries her current fiance she's giving up her job with the paper to be a wife and mother. It's a Screwball Comedy and the ex is played by Cary Grant, so of course it dosen't work out that way.
  • September 7, 2012
    jatay3
    Zig-zagged on the last episode of Jag where Harm and Sarah flip a coin for who will have to do this when they marry. The show ends before the coin lands.
  • September 7, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In the backstory to The Dick Van Dyke Show Laura had quit a promising career as a song-and-dance girl to become Mrs. Robert Petrie, wife and mother. In one episode she goes back to work temporarily on The Alan Brady Show when another dancer gets injured. Rob is worried she'll want to continue full-time.
  • February 23, 2013
    Antigone3
    I'll finish pulling examples into the entry later.
  • February 23, 2013
    Oof
    "[...] there's still employers who sneak the question in" should be "there are still employers who sneak the question in".

    Also, this is a Discredited Trope because society has changed.
  • February 24, 2013
    Antigone3
    Oof -- don't I wish this was fully Discredited.

    I think I've got all the examples moved in, anyone see something I missed?
  • February 24, 2013
    Oof
    "The trope is moving toward Discredited Trope territory, but hasn't quite gotten there yet."

    It hasn't? Remember, just because there are women who choose to become stay-at-home wives/moms doesn't mean that this isn't a discredited trope ...
  • February 24, 2013
    StarSword
    Film:
    • Gender-flipped and retroactively applied in Good Night And Good Luck. Joe and Shirley Wershba are Happily Married despite CBS company policy prohibiting married coworkers. Their marriage is an Open Secret in the office, but near the end of the film their boss is told to lay off two employees, and gives them the opportunity to have one or both of them quit to save somebody else's job. Joe takes the offer.
  • February 24, 2013
    IsaacSapphire
    Clergy are actually *expected* to be married in most Evangelical denominations. An unmarried pastor will have a much harder time getting a job, partly because his wife is expected to provide a lot of unpaid labor for the church and hiring an unmarried pastor would be like hiring only half as much labor as a married one.

    This trope have a usually genderflipped version that lives on in Music, as a husband is expected to have a solid job and be a provider, and pursuing dreams of being a Rock Star doesn't mesh well with that.
  • February 24, 2013
    StarSword
    Can someone who's seen the anime tell me if this happened there, too?

    Anime and Manga:
    • A flashback in the manga of Neon Genesis Evangelion has Yui Ikari, Shinji's mother, get asked by Dr. Fuyutsuki where she's planning to work after getting her doctorate. She answers she's actually planning to marry Gendou and start a family.
  • February 24, 2013
    Oof
    Antigone3, I'd like for you to justify your opinion that this trope is not discredited. The description isn't supposed to be up for debate. I'd argue the characterisation of this trope as not yet discredited isn't correct.
  • February 25, 2013
    Antigone3
    "Eventually, a trope may reach the point where it becomes one which nobody should dare use seriously and only belongs in parody, satire, homage or pastiche." (From the Discredited Trope page.)

    This is still used to justify the "glass ceiling" ("no point promoting her, she's not going to stick around anyway"). I'm not having a lot of luck finding cases where employers who asked if a female potential-hire was going to marry and/or have kids were punished, despite those questions being illegal. Maybe it's just the area where I'm living, but I don't think this has reached the point described in the quote.
  • February 25, 2013
    McKathlin
    This trope is one of the outcomes of the Career Versus Man decision.
  • February 25, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Also one of the outcomes of the Career Versus Family decision.
  • March 19, 2013
    DracMonster
    • At the end of ARIA, Alicia announces she's retiring to get married. This comes completely out of nowhere in the anime, the manga spent a few chapters hinting about her seeing someone. All the Yuri shippers still collectively let out a Big No.
  • March 26, 2013
    MokonaZero
    In Death Note Light tells Misa to quit her job and marry him. Naturally, she accepts very quickly.
  • March 26, 2013
    nitrokitty
    I'd argue that the characterization of "not yet" discredited is entirely correct. Though there's nothing wrong with quitting your job to be a parent to your kids, the discredited part comes into the expectation. People have mentioned the glass ceiling and illegal interview questions already, so I think this trope is still present in Real Life. Full discredit status would be when it doesn't matter if a woman quits her job or not after gets married, it should be her decision, not caused by societal pressure.
  • April 6, 2013
    StarValkyrie
    • In tall tale picture book Tornado Slim and the Magic Cowboy Hat, the hero wins a job as a wild west sheriff that is vacant because the man who was their sheriff left to get married.
  • April 6, 2013
    unluckykillerchibi
    Can invoke ValueDissonance if the story is set in another country or era, and Double Standard since it usually always the female character who gets into the situation
  • April 10, 2013
    MorganWick
    I think you're defining Discredited Trope too narrowly - my impression has been that, if you can't get away with using it in media, it's discredited. And I would think that would be the case, but I haven't looked at the vintage of the examples. (Note that I'm not strictly defining Family Versus Career as a subtrope of this.)

    I think there was a Silver Age DC character for whom this applied - I want to say Jean Loring, the Atom's love interest...
  • April 10, 2013
    helterskelter
    I'm really not seeing why this needs to be a separate trope. It really seems to me that Family Versus Career Career Versus Man and this trope should all be same trope since they mean the same thing. None of them even have that many examples, probably because of the weird segregation.
  • April 11, 2013
    Antigone3
    I can see some overlap with Career Versus Man, but Family Versus Career looks like it's a separate trope. We've got five hats for this one, should I launch or call for a vote on rolling this in with Career Versus Man?
  • April 11, 2013
    SharleeD
    Often a source of Zeerust or Society Marches On in early scifi. Often applies to the spouses of royalty, particularly those who avert Royals Who Actually Do Something.
  • April 11, 2013
    JoeG
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=xqhz5z9teh1d7ff4s1sspqkl&trope=QuittingToGetMarried