I make more money than my husband. And according to 2009 Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, I’m not alone. Almost 40 percent of U.S. working wives are out-earning their husbands.But what happens to the dynamics in a marriage when a wife makes more money than her husband?
For years, it’s been assumed and expected that men would make more money than their wives. They still have salary on their side, with women earning only 77 cents to every dollar men earn annually. So obviously women must be working harder, and climbing the corporate ladder at an unprecedented rate.
In my own marriage, we’ve been struggling with the changing dynamics. While I have always out-earned my marriage in the two years we’ve been married, there were certain things I was willing to do and let go at the beginning of our marriage that I’m not willing to let go anymore. For example, although I was the bigger breadwinner, typical everyday housework still fell on my shoulders.
At first, I was glad to do these tasks, such as grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, and general tidying. But as the honeymoon phases ended and the reality of our situation sunk in, I realized I was getting the short end of the stick.
I am not a housewife. I work a full-time job in addition to taking on several freelance opportunities to make money on the side. I didn’t understand why I was spending so much of my time being busy, busy, busy just trying to keep our household running.
At the same time, I partially blamed myself for this discrepancy. I created an environment that allowed my husband to cruise by. Why should he put in any extra effort when I was doing everything on my own?
I recently put an end to the cruise control button. When we moved into our new place, I separated our laundry. Every weekend, I would spend my free time doing our laundry. While he was able to use his days off to relax. Yeah, that was not flying with me.
While I still manage the grocery shopping, I make sure that I don’t clean up the house as often as I used to. If he has a series of days off, he’s in charge of cleaning particular sections of the house.
During a recent heated argument regarding our finances, I suggested separate checking accounts. I had really gotten tired of seeing our money disappear without the ability to pay our bills.
How could my husband know how much he was spending when I always managed the finances on my own? While we’ve only been doing it for two weeks, we now budget together. I no longer touch our budget without him present–even though it has been really hard for me, it has also completely opened his eyes to how quickly minimal purchases add up.
I think we still struggle with changing cultural perceptions that men should be supporting their wives, but we’re managing day to day and figuring out what works for us. Stereotypical gender roles have been around for centuries, it’s unreal to assume they’ll shift in one generation.
So we take each day as it comes, figuring out a balance that works for our own unique relationship. Because at the end, it’s not what he earns or what I earn, it’s about our marriage and realizing that we both play for the same team.
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When I married back in the 80's, we had a "traditional" marriage at first. I made 50% more than my wife, and we never discussed the possibility of that changing. We always kep separate checking accounts, but she was more careless than I, spending on clothes, etc. It wasn't a problem then, because my salary paid the bills. After groceries, her money remained hers. Eventually, she asked me to put her on an allowance, which I did... We were finally able to save some money. A few years in, my career turned for the worse at the same time hers turned for the better. Within one calendar year, she was suddenly making more money than I was. It was a shock to both of us, and I'll admit it bruised my ego... She felt empowered by her new "primary breadwinner" status, and it was all downhill from there. So much for the "allowance". Not only was I put on an allowance, she began to make major money decisions without consulting me. You'd think this extra money would be a good thing, but I soon discovered that she had us in more debt than I could imagine. She had a purse full of store credit cards that I didn't even know existed, and they were all maxed... That was the beginning. There's a lot more, but the bottom line is, we ended up divorced and broke. As for the topic of wives making more than their husbands? More power to you! I'm all for it, as long as the woman is a little more responsible than my ex....
If a man makes more money then it is not a problem but if a woman makes more money than her husband then ego clashes may arise. But I hope that is not the issue with you though and it should never be with anyone either.I am glad that you guys have figured out an easier way.
I've never outearned my husband, even though I worked in a more "lucrative" field than he did (I was in journalism, he's in law enforcement). A new job in the next year may change that, and it would definitely change our at-home task assignments. I could never hire a maid, though - why pay someone else to do what I can do?
Hire a maid. Get groceries delivered. If the financial gap is so big so as to justify a housework gap, then you've got the disposable income to reduce both of your workloads. That way you can spend more of your free time together, relaxing. The parties are advised to chill out.
Hopefully you guys are talking about this and working it out instead of separating everything. I know how you feel though but if a male ever said this I have a feeling a bunch of women would complain. Double standard you think?