Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Does The Size (Of His Paycheck) Really Matter?

My husband jokes that I am his "sugar momma" and, while the way he says it is embarrassing, it is definitely true. Throughout our eleven-year relationship, I have out-earned him by more than half his salary every year. However, he never felt threatened by my earning potential, or used it as an excuse not to work just as hard to bring something to the table. 

In the U.S., there are approximately thirty-six million heterosexual married couples. In just over a quarter of those marriages where both the husband and wife work, the wives earn more than their husbands. I could talk to you about the glass ceiling and the unfair wages leveed on women who make cents on the dollar compared to their male colleagues, but I won't. I want to talk about the balance of power at home.

We are redefining family roles in this new century. More and more fathers stay home to raise their children while mothers work. The number of women who out-earn their husbands has increased by more than twenty percent in thirty years. In my case, I could live in my house, pay my car payments and utilities, and buy groceries without my husband's income. It would be tight, but I could do it. I asked him if this made him feel unnecessary. He responded in his typical joking way, "Not at all. I still have this big dick. I'm good for something." 

He's good for far more than that though. We are a team, wherein running our family is far more important than who earns what. I earned my college degrees while working full-time and raising three little kids, and I couldn't have done that without him. He cooked, cleaned, did laundry, and kept the kids from knocking on the door a hundred times while I wrote my papers. While I deposit more money into our joint account for bills, he is the one who makes sure they are paid on time. I don't have to worry about my cell phone being disconnected because I forgot where I put the bill. If I work late, he picks up the kids from daycare and makes sure dinner is done. I read all of our insurance paperwork and fill out the forms. He changes the oil on the car and makes sure the pool chemicals are balanced. I kill the spiders. He unclogs the toilets. 

It works for us. Money is never an issue between us. Providing for your family is far more than salary. It is the work you do together as a couple that gets the job done. I never look at my husband and think I can do this without him because I wouldn't want to. I count on him in ways that are so much more important than the size of his contribution to our checking account. 

Step outside the box of our patriarchal social norms and see the big picture. We are women, hear us roar, but don't discount the value of a great partner to make that roar even fiercer. 


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