My husband makes more money than I do. I don’t think it means anything special. It’s just a fact. I appreciate all he does for our family, and he knows it, but his income is simply a fact.
It’s been a fact since we got married. Will it always be a fact? Maybe not. If I keep hustling the way I am, probably not. There may be a moment when we sit down and I say, “Babe, looks like I make more than you do now.”
Will he be all up in his feelings when that moment arrives? Goodness no. I did not marry a fool. We are in this thing together. This house we live in is our house. This mortgage is ours. Raising these kids is our responsibly. That said, more money is a blessing—regardless of who’s earning it.
Now, how do I know he’ll react this way? Because we’ve had this conversation several times, and this man I have known for more than 20 years has never given me reason to believe that he would go back on his word. Not ever.
But what if things aren’t working out this way in your home? What if the person making more money seems to act like they run the show because of how much they make? What if your spouse’s behavior tells you that they feel superior because they bring in most of the money. What do you do?
I’ve heard scenarios when husbands feel compelled to comply to their wife’s every household chore or demand because she is the household’s breadwinner. I’ve also heard other scenarios when wives allow their husbands to spend frivolously on expensive toys and hobbies because the he makes the majority of the income. And tragically, I’ve even heard a scenario when a spouse routinely defers all decisions—from what to eat to dinner to whose family to spend the holidays with—to the spouse who makes the most money.
I don’t believe that what someone earns instantly makes that person the boss in the home. That’s crazy. I think the income your earn is just a reflection of the type of work you do and how hard you work. It doesn’t make you the better spouse or the better parent. It doesn’t mean you can make all the calls without consulting with your mate. It doesn’t mean that you are better than anyone else.
Money comes and goes. Anyone can get laid off from that high paying job tomorrow. That successful business bringing in six figures can hit hard times. Now if those things happen, does that make someone matter less? Does it diminish the role they play in the home?
It shouldn’t. Your worth or the value of your opinions should never be based on how much you make. It should be based on who you are. Are you generous? Are your helpful? Are you a hard worker? Do you strive to meet your family’s needs? Do you get back up when you fall down? Do you do the right things even when no one is watching?
All couples should try to have discussions about income and expectations before they get married. If you didn’t, that’s okay. It’s never too late to have the conversation. If your partner seems to think that income automatically grants someone all the decision-making power in the home, you have to make a compelling argument for why that isn’t true.
Discuss possible scenarios like job loss, a crumbing economy or a failed business. Get his or her perspective on how those scenarios would change things, and then explain your own stance. Also, discuss what you expect from each other if money was a non-issue and whether or not those needs are being met.
If two people have very different views on this issue, landing on the same page isn’t easy. But I firmly believe that the value you place on your spouse can’t just be about what he or she makes. I also don’t think what anyone makes indicates whether or not they are better, smarter or more important than someone else. There are all kinds of fools out there making good money.
I’m looking forward to the day I make more money than my husband. I know he’s looking forward to it, too. It means we’ve grown as individuals and that new opportunities exist for our continued growth. It also means that I worked pretty damn hard to earn that money, and I won’t disrespect the support and love my husband offered during that process by acting like some extra cash instantly makes me the boss up in here. We built this life together, and we plan to keep doing things that way.
BMWK family, do you think making more money should make someone the boss at home?
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