Despite having similar academic degrees and almost the same amount of work experience, I’m honored to loudly state for the record that for as long as I can remember, my wife makes more money than me. And barring the fact that I’ve had to take loans from her occasionally, it hasn’t perturbed me one bit that she is the breadwinner of the family. And yes, we are fiercely loyal and committed to each other. Except for when we’re dreaming about some of our celebrity crushes, perhaps.
This is not to say that I haven’t been teased by friends and family sometimes about not earning as much as my wife and having a wife breadwinner. In fact, the teasing almost doubled when I quit full-time work and took over this amazing role as a stay-at-home-dad, leaving the role of primary breadwinner to my wife. And yes, whatever ‘male ego’ I have was hurt occasionally.
I suppose a lot of it comes from a deep-rooted ideology that men derive their sense of identity from the ability to provide for and protect their families, and women from their domestic prowess and ability to nurture.
Today there’s been an economic shift and we are looking at a society where more and more women are taking on roles that have always been archetypical ‘male’ territory. But our social lives and mentalities haven’t caught up to begin accepting female breadwinners.
My Wife Is The Primary Breadwinner In Our Family
I soon came to terms with the fact that my wife earning more than me and her being the primary breadwinner do not, in any way, reflect upon or form my ‘manhood’ or capability to be a loving husband, father and person. So, despite society and the people around me often trying to pick on me for my reduced/lack of earning potential, I’m happy that my identity is not muddled up trying to beat myself up for not earning as much as my spouse and for having a wife breadwinner.
And here are the reasons why:
I’m not initimated
I’ve never been intimidated by my wife’s lofty career ambitions and of being in a relationship where the women earns more. In fact, I’ve always felt the urge to stand by her decisions and to be her pillar of support as she achieves her dreams. Of course, the challenge to this has been that my wife does sometimes expect me to be as driven as she is. In fact, if there was some sort of workshop available on ‘How to be more ambitious’, I’m sure she’d have signed me up for it.
We’ve always seen ourselves as partners, and not competitors. The thing with money is that it sometimes tends to loom over your coupledom like a dark, threatening storm cloud.
But the important thing is to realize that we play for the same team called ‘family’, and the end goal is always happiness. So, it doesn’t matter who is the family breadwinner.
We plan well
Money has never been the foundation that our relationship was built on. While we both agree that money is certainly important, it has never been the main focal point or decisive factor in our relationship. We plan our finances and split our expenses in the most logical way we can.
So, if I’ve brought in 20% of the total household income, I pay 20% of the total household expenditure. That way, she doesn’t feel like she is always footing the entire expense being the wife breadwinner. We also put any excess money into a joint account and refer to it as ‘our savings’.
We never argue about money
The thing about disparity in incomes is that it sometimes comes out when you least expect it — like when having a completely unrelated argument, and one tries to ‘one-up’ against the other person. Money is ugly that way — it tends to make you feel powerful. One thing that’s definitely helped both of us is making a conscious decision never to bring up money and discussions about who the family breadwinner is when we’re having an argument. Or the fact that one person earns a lot more than the other.
Understanding, empathy, and healthy conversation can solve everything
As the husband of a successful working woman, I understand that high-paying roles do come with added responsibilities. Being with a female breadwinner in a marriage means that I don’t expect her to behave according to the age-old, stereotypical definitions of a conventional wife, nor do I guilt-trip her into feeling bad about not spending enough time with her family.
What has also helped is that, despite her busy schedule, my wife has always ensured that her work doesn’t take full precedence over her family. This mutual understanding, and give-and-take have certainly helped us both maintain some level-headedness when it comes to money matters.
But perhaps the thing that’s helped us maintain a happy marriage the most, despite the disparity in our incomes, is the fact that we’ve always kept open the lines of communication. We don’t shy away from talking about any feelings of insecurity or resentment when and if they come up.
When it comes to challenges that couples face, there are few things that some honest conversation and good old sex can’t solve.
If your wife is the primary breadwinner, your role is still of the husband. It doesn’t matter who earns more money. In the end, relationships are about love. So, your role as the husband of a breadwinner wife is to be a loving, supportive partner.
Considering the current economy, it’s great if both of you are able to contribute financially. But it’s not a necessity. Do what works for you. You could run the household while she works at the office. Or it could be the other way around. As long as both of you are happy and satisfied, it doesn’t matter who does what and who contributes to the household in what way. It’s not a competition but a partnership.
Whether your wife is the breadwinner or a stay-at-home mom, you are supposed to be her partner-in-crime. You should support each other no matter what. If you are uncomfortable that your wife is the primary breadwinner, talk to them. But, in the end, realize that your wife being the family breadwinner doesn’t put your masculinity in question. It is important not to let hurt prides ruin relationships.