When the man is the only breadwinner and the wife refuses to pitch in

He finds the strain of being the lone breadwinner too much. All the women in his family work, why doesn’t his wife?

Jaseena Backer | Posted on 22 Nov 2016
Time to read: 3 min
Both spouses earning - is it a necessity today? | Bonobology

(Names changed to protect identities)

I grew up with a teacher grandmother, a lawyer mother and an architect sister. So for me it was natural to choose a wife who is working. Sandhya worked in an auditing firm; I knew she would be the best fit.

After marriage we moved on transfer. She took a sabbatical from work to ease into the new home and the new city. When her sabbatical stretched to nearly 9 months I asked Sandhya to resume her career. With much coaxing from me she joined a nearby accounting firm as a part-time accountant, stating that juggling home and career would be a challenge with longer commutes. But she was underemployed as a Chartered Accountant.

Just as we celebrated our first wedding anniversary she announced that she was pregnant. It was something we had both wanted. She quit her job and became a full-time mother.

Now our son is in the 7th grade and can manage pretty well. Sandhya still doesn’t talk of resuming her career. We have a home, car, insurance and education all charted out.

One year when we took a vacation to Singapore, it sabotaged my entire financial map. I have neither a financial buffer nor leave to travel.

Sandhya and our son also want vacations but she won’t make up for that additional income which would fund our trips.

I’m already stressed from a full-time job and a 24x7 business. Despite working two jobs I help with the chores at home as that’s what my father did. I think I’m going into a depression. I get agitated when I come home. I am dysfunctional as a husband and father because I feel overworked and come home to more financial requirements. This has made a huge rift in our marriage.

Sandhya volunteers in an NGO at her convenience. She doesn’t want to take the stress of a paid job, as that would jeopardise her peace as a mother and wife. And she fails to see how I am worn out completely and devoid of peace.  

At times her makeup and numerous shoe purchases choke me financially; if she was earning and spending her money it wouldn’t bother me at all.

I am not pushing her to work for a farmhouse or property in Dubai. I wish her to contribute so that she feels valued in the running of the home and her wardrobe.

Conversations at home are pretty mundane. I grew up with stimulating conversation and want it for my son as well. I want him to grow up with a working mother like I did so that he learns to respect women and their careers.

Mine is a job in a private firm and a business, while she is a CA and can have a fixed income job. When I share my worries with her she thinks I lack confidence in my professional abilities.

Why is it a woman’s choice but a compulsion for the man to work and support the family?

(As told to Jaseena Backer)

Jaseena Backer says:

Mehul’s case is unique. While most Indian women would want to step out to work here was a case in reverse. When Mehul spoke to me he wanted to know if something could be done to ease this situation at home. He also wanted to know if these kinds of situations are common in India. Mehul strongly feels that this marriage is imbalanced in terms of responsibility and contribution. The frustration is very evident in his tone, as he has lost respect for Sandhya and the marriage.  

Mehul is trying to expand his business and look for a stable job, but Sandhya should also be contributing financially. I spoke to Sandhya and she didn’t consider it a matter to hurt the foundation of the marriage and to be discussed with a counsellor.

After three rounds of talking she was willing to resume work but is scared of the current job requirements. So she started by looking at the accounts of Mehul’s business. We asked her to learn new accounting software and keep updated with the economic world. She was willing to start out small so Mehul got her placed in his friend’s firm.

Every woman should take up a job and have financial freedom. When she contributes financially to the family she is more valued and respected, because the current generation of husbands are open to working wives.

 

 

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