When Wives Earn More than their Husbands
Since times immemorial, the society has been accustomed to husbands who earn a living for their family while women perform the roles of homemakers/caregivers. However, change is happening slowly but surely. Women are not only working to contribute sufficiently towards their family income, but also, in certain cases, earning more than their husbands. It should hardly be a matter of marital or domestic disharmony if the husband is comfortable with this fact. However, conflict arises when his male ego is unable to accept his spouse’s professional success, in monetary or other terms, which might outdo his own.
Income inequalities often raise an ugly head as a matter of dispute amongst couples, in families where the man is unduly conscious of the traditional gender roles. Is it true that even till our last generation, we are used to fathers or the male head of the family to be the earning member and the decision-maker. But with women’s economic independence, she has got a voice of her own, and is now, not simply confined to being a wife and a mum. Thus, husbands should disown their conventional gender-defined stereotypes and be more open. As long as they are doing something worthwhile and respectable, it should not matter if the wife is earning more. After all, we all have to accept the fact that the gender gap has significantly narrowed down, and hence, it is no longer an unnatural thing for women to earn and earn well.
If such thoughts of frustration or failure arise in a man’s mind, it is clearly a reflection of his inflated ego and heightened self-image, to which he is himself not able to do justice. After all, manhood is not only about suppressing the women and holding her back from fulfilling her life’ aspirations. A man should, in turn, put in his best efforts to achieve the end to his ambitions, which will justify the purpose of his life. If due to any reason, the wife outshines the husband, financially or otherwise, he should feel proud of the fact and not be resentful. The wife should also, never neglect her family on the pretext of her career. Her responsibilities towards her husband and family should not to take a backseat once she has attained a professional “spike”. To take pride in each other’s successes and to keep inspiring each other to do his/her best is one of the keys to a harmonious married life. Remember the vows you had exchanged were those of support and companionship, not of envy or rivalry.
Marriages are based on mutual sustenance and encouragement and neither should look up to their spouses as “opponents”. They have to work as a team to get along beautifully with each other and keep the family going, apart from retaining their individualistic self-esteem. If these fall in place, then the money matter should not be exaggerated to such an extent that it builds a rift between couples. As per Catalyst.org's research report In 2009, of the 32,280,000 dual-career couples, wives earned more than their husbands 28.9% of the time, as compared to only 17.8% of the 29,755,000 dual-career couples in 1987.
Thus, men have no reason to feel “less manly” or view it as a threat, if their wives out-earn them; marriage is not a competition of who makes more. In the wake of the 21st century, the relationship between spouses is ought to be based on love and respect, and money is too superficial an issue to create differences. A couple’s family finances should be based on “ours”, and not “mine” and “yours”.