Using both an analysis of the effect of lagged economic and current educational characteristics, as well as an analysis of the life-course changes in these characteristics, this study provides insights into the theoretical debate concerning the relationships between men's and women's economic activity levels and the transition to first marriage. Our findings support the men's economic stability hypothesis, the search hypothesis, and the income-pooling hypothesis. The results also support the women's economic independence hypothesis, but only to a certain degree. For men, we find a positive effect of employment stability and a positive effect of earnings, which increase over time. For women, the effect of salary has an inverse U-shape, and employment stability has a positive effect on marriage. Over the life course, we find that men who have a continuum of stable employment have the highest odds of first marriage, while women tend to reduce their economic activity in anticipation of or following marriage. Moreover, we find that marriage is postponed for at least two years after the completion of education.