My husband and I have been married for three years. When we first got married, he was the primary breadwinner of the family making over six figures. About a year ago he lost his job when his company closed, and he has not been able to find a new job that pays him as much money as he used to make. In the meantime, I completed my education and landed my dream job in the medical field. While I don’t make six figures yet, I am now the breadwinner of the family and make more money than my husband. Even though my husband says, he is proud of me, I feel like he has a problem with me making more money than him. I am afraid that this issue has the potential to cause problems in my marriage. What should I do?
First, I think we put way too much emphasis on money. Marriage is a partnership, and it should not matter who makes what when both parties are contributing and the needs of the family are being met and taken care of. The true definition of a breadwinner is someone who supports their family/dependents with their earnings. Both you and your husband are working, that means you are both “breadwinners!” That being said and keeping it real, I also understand the traditional role of the man in the family. Traditionally, the man has been charged with working and financially taking care of the household while the woman is the heart of the home and traditionally maintains the family (whether she works inside or outside the home). For a man who has traditional beliefs, I can see how this can be an issue and a little hard to swallow. However, in your case, it might not be so much about you making more money than your husband, but more about him no longer making the type of money he is accustomed to. It can be rough losing a job and not being able to find something that pays you in the same salary range. Don’t be so hard on your husband or jump to conclusions about what he is feeling and why you think he is feeling a particular way. Especially if he hasn’t communicated a problem.
Even though your husband does not make the money he used to, he is still the man of the house and should be treated as such. Taking and creating opportunities to recognize his worth and contribution to the family, outside of his employment, can go a long way.
When your husband says he is proud of you, believe it. And continue to be as supportive of him as he was of you while you completed your education and landed your dream job. Your continued support might give him the encouragement and boost he needs to land a new position that is fulfilling and allows him to make once again the type of money he is accustomed to making. Keep the lines of communication open and try to better understand your husband’s position and where these feelings might be coming from.
Tamara Hartley is Your Advice Guru and the author of Stop Wasting Your Time Blaming Others for Your Life, REAL Advice from REAL Experience: Advice, Tips and Strategies for Your Life Relationships, and Career and the Been There Done That Wrote a Book About It! book series. She uses her personal life experiences and lessons learned to give others a different perspective and help them make critical decisions in their life, relationships and careers. Read advice archives at www.YourAdviceGuru.com. Email questions to advice@YourAdviceGuru.com or on Twitter @DrTamaraHartley using the hashtag #AskTamara.
Tamara is also a personal success and “How-To” coach and helps individuals figure out the “how” so that they can make their dreams a reality. Learn more about her coaching programs at www.YourPersonalSuccessCoach.com.