It seems to me that a common storyline that I had heard when I was younger (and it pops up in fiction from time to time) goes something like this: John and Jill get married. John wants to be a doctor or a lawyer. So, Jill slaves away as a nurse (or waitress or shop clerk, but usually something fairly skilled) in order to pay the bills (and pay tuition) while John goes to professional school. It takes a great toll on Jill, but she does it becuase she expects to reap the rewards of John’s increased earning potential. Once John graduates, of course, he trades Jill in for a younger, or prettier, or more upwardly mobile model.
This scenario, more or less, was a significant factor in the “professional degrees as marital property” debate in divorce law. I was reminded of it over the weekend reading about Wendy Davis and her of, as she calls it, “loose” and “broad” language to promote a personal narrative (I am not looking for a debate on Wendy Davis). As I understand the “new” and more factually accurate narrative, she more or less lived out the role of “John” is the above scenario (except that her husband sounds more affluent and added in was giving him custody of her children).
Now, I finished law school only a few years ago; so I understand that the world is much changed. But the people that I attended law school with were heavily debt-funded, their spouses were often in graduate or professional school themselves, and, even where one spouse was working, I never got the sense that they were sacrificing their present in hopes for a better future. Of course, being a recent graduate, I also have no idea how many of them will get divorced as soon as their last loan payment is due.
So my question is: Is the scenario above still common? Was it ever all that common? If it used to be, but is no longer, common, why did it change? Or am I just naive, becuase while my wife worked while I was in law school, most of our bills were paid by the loans that my salary is going towards paying off?