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In some countries and time periods, women are expected to quit their jobs when they get married or at least when they have their first child. 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. A more gender-balanced version is quitting a job that is too dangerous or time-consuming, or has too high travel requirements, for a married character, though in that case, the man usually gets another job.

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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, but hasn't quite gotten there yet. In older fiction, especially older SF, this is often an example of Society Marches On.

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.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Aggressive Retsuko: Retsuko is actually hoping to settle down and marry so she can get out of her Soul-Crushing Desk Job.
  • 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!".
  • Both inverted and played straight in Dad, the Beard Gorilla and I. The titular beard gorilla, Kouji, decides to stop being a freelance and start working full-time in his old workplace to be able to raise enough money to get married. Ironically, he was only able to get a position in said company because one of its employees had recently left to get married.
  • Death Note:
    • Naomi Misora has agreed to do this because her fiance, Ray Penber, worries about her in her line of work, though it often comes across as just him being a misogynist.
    • Also, Light asks Misa to quit the movie she's filming in the manga version. He wants her out of the public eye because she's coming under suspicion as Kira again, but she assumes it's this trope and he agrees, mainly to keep his plans running smoothly.
  • 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 Kimi wa Petto, 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
  • 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. It was only temporary, though, or else there wouldn't be a plot.
  • In a manga-only story of Psychic Academy, a teacher goes to an omiai set up by her family, and the man flat out states that he expects her to leave her work at the academy after marrying - which is why she decides not to do so.
  • 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....
  • In Rilakkuma and Kaoru, Kaoru's co-worker, Sayu, is quitting because she's getting married in June. Kaoru later vents to Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma, and Kiiroitori on how old-fashioned it is.

    Film 
  • The retrograde sexual politics of the Dr. Kildare series, unenlightened even for the time, are shown in Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day when it is taken for granted by all that Nurse Mary Lamont will quit her job to become Mrs. Kildare.
  • The Four Companions: Four young women band together to form a graphic design company after graduating from graphic design school. Unfortunately this movie was made in 1938 in Nazi Germany, so by the end three of the four of them get married and quit and the company goes out of business.
  • 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.
  • In Kill Bill, the Bride (!) tries to quit the Professional Killer business in order to marry. It backfires horribly.
  • Gender-flipped in Guess Who, when Ashton Kutcher's character, a successful stock broker, quits his job and insults his boss right before going to meet his girlfriend's parents for the first time and propose. He doesn't tell anyone and hopes to get a new job before she finds out. However, his boss spreads rumors that he's under SEC investigation, so nobody wants to hire him. It's later revealed that his boss is a racist who doesn't want him to marry a black girl resulting in the the messy situation. After finding out, his future father-in-law praises him for standing up for his beliefs but tells him that it's stupid to overreact, especially since they'll be getting comments like this for the rest of their lives.
  • H.M. Pulham, Esq.: Taken for granted, at least as far as Harry's concerned, and the reason he and his girlfriend Marvin break up. Harry wants to go back to Boston with Marvin as his society wife, while Marvin wants a career. The ending reveals that Marvin managed to find a husband who was OK with her being a high-powered executive. Harry's frown of displeasure as Marvin interrupts their reunion to take a business call helps him to be more content with his decisions.
  • In Korean film Marriage Blue, So-mi's fiance wants her to quit her job as a manicurist to raise the family they're planning. She doesn't want to, leading to tension.
  • 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.
  • Wife vs. Secretary: Dave leans hard on Whitey to do this. Possibly a bit more understandable as Van is a workaholic and thus his loyal secretary Whitey has no private life. Unlike many uses of this trope in this era, there is no hint in the movie that Whitey is going to quit working, even after she and Dave happily reunite at the end.
  • The World of Suzie Wong ends with Suzie accepting Robert's proposal of marriage - with the implication that she won't need to be a prostitute anymore.
  • Blue Jasmine mentions having dropped out of college to marry her husband Hal. After all the fallout from his illegal actions, she's seen taking design courses to become an interior decorator, which she again apparently gives up as soon as things get serious with a new guy.
  • Real Women Have Curves has one of the factory workers quitting to marry her longtime boyfriend, move to Mexico and take her two sisters, fellow employees at the factory, to come live with them. Sadly, the poor girl ends up shooting herself in the foot due to the later revelations that the guy was both cheating on her and left her at the altar.

    Literature 
  • 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.
  • Belles on Their Toes: During one of the later chapters, Anne finds a doctor named Bob to whom she will eventually be married. She tells Mother that she really doesn't care about finishing college and would like to get married "right away." Mother insists that she finish her degree first, but she is pleased with the fact that Anne feels so strongly about the match.
  • In A Brother's Price Jerin meets his old teacher, Miss Skinner, on a ship. She is getting married, and quitting her job. Played with in that she doesn't have to quit, and she doesn't even know the man she's going to marry - it's just that her sisters and she have finally saved enough money to be able to afford a husband, and she's moving away from Jerrin's hometown to be with her new husband.
  • In the Chalet School books, this happens to several mistresses, including Hilary Burn, Mollie Maynard, Biddy O'Ryan, Simone Lecoutier (though she does return to teach during the war) and, of course, Madge. Miss Annersley and Miss Wilson are notable exceptions. Julie Lucy also has to give up her future career as a barrister when she gets engaged as, according to Joey, 'she won't have time as the wife of a housemaster'. Bear in mind that married women giving up their jobs happened a lot during the period the books were written.
  • Gender-flipped by wizards and witches in Discworld, as wizards aren't expected to continue wizardry if they get married, but witches have no such restriction. Dr. Earwig, a wizard, left to get married (to a witch, who continued to work as a witch), and Ridcully even says that he considers a wizard doing this to be "not retiring, it's the same as dying!"
  • In The Girls Series by Jacqueline Wilson, Ellie's late mother gave up her career as an artist when she got married. During an argument with her father, Ellie accuses him of forcing her mother to quit work; he responds that he did no such thing and she wanted to be a full time mother.
  • 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 quartersnote . 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, everyonenote  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 againnote .
  • In Little House on the Prairie, Laura quits her teaching job when she and Almanzo decide to get married. She also quits her own continuing education: when she tells Mr. Owen she's engaged and won't be coming back to school after her upcoming term as a teacher, he apologizes for not graduating her already— he was waiting to graduate her and her classmates all together the next term, and some of them weren't ready. Further reading about the author's actual life will show that, while she wasn't allowed to teach after marriage, she still did a variety of other jobs to supplement her husband's farm work during lean times, including dressmaking, writing, bookkeeping, boarding, and dispensing loans. It's specifically noted in On the Way Home and Little House on Rocky Ridge that the hundred dollar bill the Wilders have as a down payment for their new land was earned by Laura, working outside the home as a seamstress. It's also mentioned that Laura's mother, Caroline, was also a schoolteacher before she got married.
  • Ms Wiz's tenth book "You're Kidding, Ms Wiz" reveals that Ms Wiz gave up using her magic and acting as a Paranormal Operative when she married Brian Arnold. Being Ms Wiz, it takes very little to convince her to jump into more adventures.
  • It's because of this trope that Lionel Hawkins has difficulty having a permanent Lovely Assistant for his magic act in Steadfast. This is why Katie Langford was able to get a job as his assistant, as his latest assistant, Suzie, had gotten engaged.
  • 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".
    • A few books later in Gaudy Night, Harriet tries to get hold of Miss Murchison only to find that she has left the typing bureau to get married.
  • 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.
  • Vampire Academy:
    • The guardian of Moroi royals Abby and Xander Badica wants to resign to marry another guardian. Both are quitting their careers and leaving the Moroi world, planning to get jobs with humans. All other guardians seen or mentioned in the series are single, though it is unclear if this is mandatory.
    • Mark, a shadow-kissed dhampir used to be a guardian. He run away to marry his sprit-user charge Oksana. They live in hiding as their marriage is taboo for Moroi society.
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    Live Action Television 
  • At one point in Agent Carter, Peggy tells her landlady that she'll be working at the phone company (a cover for her real work at the SSR, as they're in the same building) until she gets married, which is rather obviously a lie to maintain her cover to the audience of the show.
  • In the first episode of The Andy Griffith Show their beloved housekeeper Rose gets married and leaves their service, so Aunt Bee comes in to help raise Opie.
  • Gender-Inverted in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Charles Boyle's fiancee in Season 1 wants him to quit his job at the NYPD to move with her to Suburban Ottowa where she can continue to pursue her academic career, which Boyle does not want to do. Ultimately, they're unable to reconcile this difference and they break off the engagement and separate in the Season 1 Finale.
  • In Call the Midwife, Shelagh quits her (very accomplished) nursing career after marrying Dr Turner, in order to be a stay-at-home mum to her young stepson Timothy — entirely by choice, mind you. Subverted in that it doesn't stick; her husband remarks early on that "I think nursing misses you too" when Shelagh mentions thinking about going back to work, and within about eighteen months of their marriage she's back at it. Her husband is neither surprised nor the least bit sorry about this.
  • Averted in an episode of Cold Case. The Victim of the Week is an airline stewardess, and at one point, boyfriend proposes to her and specifically mentions this trope, since she's been unhappy with how stewardesses are treated. She tells him that in spite of the issues, she enjoys her job, and doesn't want to be forced out for marrying.
    Ally: Pilots are allowed to be married and have families... I'll marry you when the same is true for stewardesses.
  • Desperate Housewives: Gabrielle quits her career as an international fashion model to marry Carlos. It proves to have been the right decision since in Season 7 it is revealed that her career would have ended soon anyway, due to her bad attitude.
  • 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.
  • On Good Girls Revolt, the researchers at News of the Week are expected to do this, if not to get married, then at least when they start a family.
  • 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 Lifetime Movie of the Week "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 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.
  • Midnight Caller: Devon sells the radio station early in the third season so she can move to Tahiti with her husband and baby.
  • 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.
  • Power Rangers RPM - Summer's parents allowed her to be a Power Ranger for a year and she promised she would give the career up to get married. However in this case, the marriage has more motives; the parents are broke, and the fiance's family are incredibly rich.
  • A variation on Sex and the City, when Charlotte quits to get pregnant, having reconciled with her husband.
  • Smallville: In Persuasion, Lois quits her job as a reporter to become a Stay in the Kitchen Housewife for Clark when he unwittingly affects her with his Compelling Voice when wishing they had a more "traditional relationship". She gets it back by the end of the episode.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series
    • In the 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.
    • Implied in the episode "Balance of Terror", when Kirk marries two officers, but is interrupted as a Red Alert goes off. The groom reminds the bride that for the moment he's still her superior officer.
  • 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."
  • In Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger, Umeko gets a boyfriend and thinks they're eventually going to get married, excitedly claiming that she may have to retire soon. When it ends up not working out, she tries to crack a joke to Sen-chan about not needing to retire after all.
  • Gender Inverted in Up All Night. The husband quits his job to care for their baby and the wife continues to work.

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

    Newspaper Comics 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In Japanese wrestling, it was tradition for a female wrestler to retire at the age of twenty-five so she could get married.

    Theatre 
  • In Fiorello!, Marie doesn't quit; she gets fired and then married. To be more specific: Fiorello fires her on the spot over what seems like a minor conflict of priorities, but he explains why: "I can't court a girl who's working for me." His very next words to her: "Will you marry me?" It's admittedly a sudden proposal, but having nursed unrequited feelings for him for fifteen years and now desperate to get married, Marie can't help but accept it.
  • In How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Rosemary and the other secretaries at World Wide Wicket actually aspire to the "glorified unemployment" of suburban homemaking.
  • In She Loves Me, at the start of her show, Ilona expresses her dissatisfaction with her job and her desire to marry out of it, but she hasn't found the right man yet. Georg also wishes this on Amalia just before entering his 10-Minute Retirement because he finds her intolerable as a co-worker.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Reynir's older sister Guðrún, due to her job requiring travel and the man she wants to marry living in their hometown.

    Western Animation 
  • Nancy in Big City Greens gave up being a biker so she could settle into a married life with Bill.
  • Played With in the Darkwing Duck episode "U.F. Foe": Launchpad has to cede his position as Darkwing's partner to accept an alien princess' proposal of marriage given that he's going to be off-planet. However, given that Tia's husband will be emperor of the galaxy, he is gaining another job in the process. (The instance is also a rare male example of the trope.)

    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. It's also not uncommon for employers not to give the same opportunities and responsibilities to married women, regardless of whether they have children or not, as they assume that they'll have kids at some point and won't be able to handle the work. Thus, their male coworkers get promoted, and they don't. Stay-at-home motherhood is still held as an ideal in the country's more conservative religions, namely Evangelical Christianity and Mormonism, even if two-income households are still common in these groups due to economic necessity.
  • This is largely the driver of the gender wage gap as well. Women, despite becoming increasingly way more college educated than men in wealthy countries, still make about 80% of the median income of men. This is because women still bear the brunt of childcare and tend to drop out of the workforce or cut back to part-time while their kids are young (either by choice or logistical reasons like the high cost of childcare). When they get back into the workforce when the kids get older, they don't have the experience someone their age should and don't make as much money. The gap narrows as women enter their 40s and 50s and women without kids make roughly the same as men. Ironically, men get a wage gain when they have children but men who chose to take time off to be the primary caregiver take a bigger wage hit when they get back to work. Many countries are implementing shared parental leave policies for both spouses (in Sweden, the couple gets 480 days per child between the two of them but each spouse must take 90 days each before dividing up the rest as they see fit) to try to mitigate this.
  • 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 ... or might need to keep the paid job, depending on the church's salary/benefit package for the pastor. More broadly, these denominations also encourage married women to become homemakers.
  • Gender Flipped in the case of Frank Butler and Annie Oakley. Butler retired from performing shortly after marrying Miss Oakley.
  • In 1932, Adele Astaire retired in the prime of her musical theatre career to marry Lord Charles Cavendish. Some critics wondered if her brother Fred could make a name for himself without her.
  • Japan is one the few developed countries where women are still expected to become housewives when they marry, or at least when they have their first child. Two-income households are still quite common. There's been a push for more part-time work, telecommuting and flexible schedules so Japanese women can more easily work and take care of children.
  • Lampshaded by the "MRS Degree", the assumption that many women who attended college were doing so only to meet future career men to marry.

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