The last post looked at the place of money in marriage. It’s implications were discussed in a situation where it was not well managed. This post intends to look at its implications when wife earns more than the husband. What is the right position to take in this regard when a wife earns more than her husband? I share from my personal experience, and then take few points for consideration. I got married eleven years ago, and clearly remember my wife earning a little more than I did. It happened that she was engaged in the compulsory nation’s “National Youths Service Corps” (NYSC) in Nigeria and was offered a contract job in a Non Governmental Organisation. The combination of her two sources of finance was more than what i was earning 2002. We had discussions and came to an understanding that it was only temporary. The three statements below forms the basis on which we agreed;
1. A man should be responsible for his family.
2. Even when your wife earns more than you do (like in our case), refuse to remain contented. Strive to see that the equation changes, and you gradually take up all your responsibilities. In my case, I twice attempted to make my wife quit combining her pay with mine for the home upkeep but she declined on both occasions. She said she will know when the time is right. 3. My wife sees money as owned by both parties, not individual. She was sensitive to the fact that, the situation will not remain the same for long.
Wives earning more than their husbands have different views. It means different things to different people, based on their different beliefs. The varying categories are stated below;
a. Some believe any man that propose marriage and is yet to be fully settled, materially or financially is not ready
b. Some believe that a man MUST be responsible for everything in the house and for the children c. Some others believe a man might not have everything now, but has prospect, and as such could be considered. The first category sometimes applies to people who suffered heartbreaks before getting into another relationship that leads to marriage. This category of people had previously given their whole life (time, energy and resources) to a relationship, only to be disappointed at the end of the day. People with this experience feels hurt with scars that constantly reminds them of the hurt and it plants a blanket view on other men.
Another group of people that share this view are people who grew up in a family with mindset that the man is solely responsible for his family. Most people in this category find it difficult to shift their mindset because it has been formed long before they started considering marriage. The second category is closely related to the first. It stems from those who grew up to form that opinion about the role of the man in a marriage.
The third category have some flexibility as to who is responsible for what at the moment and who will ultimately be responsible for what. This category of people share the opinion that man is responsible for the family, but not necessarily stiff with the amount the man is earning presently. What they want to see is the prospect of the man, his attitude and mindsets towards responsibilities. The above categories inform some of the varying positions people take when wives earn more than their husbands. The common denominator to all categories is the cultural belief systems and mindsets. Here are useful tips for couples experiencing this; 1. Understanding. The number one emphasis is the need for the couple to have an understanding of each other. How you see and understand it has a way of influencing your attitude. Your attitude in your marriage has the potential of building or destroying your home. Just as I stated earlier on, I got married with my wife earning more than I did. We discussed it because of the understanding we had. This happened for over a year until we had a switch where I began earning more than she did. The next four years, even though I was earning more, the amount did not adequately take care of the whole responsibilities. She continued supporting until a little over five years when she was able to choose to spend her money on what she liked, because the home was not necessarily dependent on her financial input for survival anymore. While this was my story, it is not a common experience for everybody. The important thing is to note that things will ultimately change at the end of the day. 2. Communicate. There is a need for continuous discussion about the subject in order to get to an agreeable level. There is the how to handle each phase per time. And if the communication is not effective enough, there is bound to be misunderstanding, which will further complicate matters. It should be noted that individuals have different ideologies concerning who earns more. The continuous discussion helps in harmonizing these differences until the family comes to their own uniqueness. 3. Focus on what to do during the transition and not the unnecessary debate of the subject. The most important attitude for couples in this situation is to accept that they are in it together, and it will take mainly the two of them to make it work. There are the issue of work that needs attention; the children’s training, laundry services, the weight of two jobs on the time, etc. 4. Need for Professional help. It is indeed very sad when money issues erode what is otherwise a good relationship. Good relationships are not as common as expected. When you notice there is repeated heated argument concerning the subject, you might require a professional help. This help will prevent the issues from degenerating. A qualified counselor or a trusted couple with good reputation and experience can be adopted for this purpose. Therefore, earning more money or not in your case is not as important as the understanding the role of both parties and the season of your marriage. It is also important to note that what works for one might not necessarily work for another family. The following highlights are worthy of note; 1. The present reality is not as important as the prospect in your man. 2. There must be hunger or drive in your prospective man or husband. 3. The way it works in one family does not necessarily mean same for the other. Another name for a man is responsibility. Any man going into a relationship without this understanding is not ready for any reasonable relationship. My submission is; your wife can earn more than you do. If she earn more than you do, it does not give you a license to be laid back. It should propel you to take on the challenge. Life has a way of turning things around over a period of time when you keep the drive on. The danger is when a man becomes satisfied with status quo and always expects to get from the wife.
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