By Shamseddin Giwa
As much as this should not make any difference, it does and we’d be dodging the truth to say it does not.
It goes back to our traditional ideas of who a husband is and what his roles are. We say “a husband should provide”, end of story.
This conditions us to expect all or most to come from the husband, and we are cool with it. But the script of life doesn’t always follow our traditions so you have women who earn more than their husbands, women who earn while husbands are going through financial droughts. Suddenly, what should be an advantage becomes a disadvantage and source of tension.
In very unfortunate situations, this has been the root cause of the union eventually breaking.
A man is a husband by one of four things (post for another day) but for many, we are husbands by the pocket so we expect to boss everything finance. The dynamics change when, because of our own conditions (could be a job loss, business gone bad etc) we suddenly cannot boss finance or perhaps because the wife is just successful at what she does, she is higher.
It is common to find complaints of arrogance, lack of humility, and even allegations of infidelity blow up from this financial twist.
What should be a normal joke or request suddenly becomes disrespectful and rude.
“Oh, because you think you have money now…”
To be honest, not being ahead financially as a husband breeds insecurity for many and that is just unfortunate because it really should not.
Business partners that you didn’t have an issue with before should not suddenly become suspects for infidelity if you really don’t see anything.
A lot of issues will come up which you need to know how to handle:
Begin with trust:
Trust is at the heart of everything that involves finance. So, beyond just love, establish trust.
Don’t just play along and see how it goes, define everything. Who does what? Why? When? From what source? Etc
It can become an awkward conversation when responsibilities are left to assumptions. Husband thinks wife should do it because she earns more, wife thinks husband should do it because he is the husband and confusion, frustration, anger just set in from the lack of understanding. A wife asking innocently suddenly becomes selfish, wicked, stingy and uncaring.
Pick a suitable financial model:
Don’t go with what anybody is doing, go with what works for your union. It doesn’t matter if it is strange to others, if it works for you then it works for you. It is popular today to find people using general models that their financial realities don’t support, saying “it is how people do it”. No, use what works for you.
Be open minded:
Don’t be too quick to make decisions or jump to conclusions. Things won’t always be what they appear to be on first glance. Understand that you’d be dealing with an unusual situation which would come with its own unique challenges. Be prepared for them.
Put the peace and happiness of your family first.
Don’t try to be too smart for your spouse:
This is one of the major challenges, where one spouse has just decided to lean back and not put in an effort simply because the other is covering it. In the end, this would lead to the other being frustrated and eventually taking a more selfish route.
Study and understand your spouse:
Just because you understand doesn’t mean your spouse shares the same view and perspective. Take your time to study your spouse so that you understand them on this issue. This would save a lot of arguments and fights.
Work on your mindset:
There is nothing wrong with anybody earning more.