Don't Let Money Get in the Way
Paul Nyhan at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's 'Working Dad' blog reports recently on an anecdotal survey about the marital bliss (or lack thereof) of couples in which a woman outearns her husband. Primary breadwinner wives in the survey - a full 100% of them - say that this monetary imbalance has hurt their marriages.
This news annoys me. It means, if this hardly-scientific data are to be believed, that we've got a long way to go. If men cling to their breadwinning prowess as their identity, they end up with an inferiority problem if their wives outearn them - one that is directly proportional to the wage gap between the two partners. If these primary breadwinner women then also cling to their need to control the home, we've really got a problem - a man with no power base and a woman holding all the cards.
As Marc wrote in the previous post, redefining masculine success is a key toward a happy gender equal parenting arrangement. I will add that redefining motherhood is essential as well. Who says real men are providers before nurturers, and real women are nurturers before providers? These are made-up rules that are meant to be broken by those of us who want happy, equal partnerships and lives that include a full measure of both realms.
It doesn't matter who earns more money. In our marriage, Marc and I have shifted that title back and forth between us over the years. Don't let the number on your paycheck dictate who is in charge of whom (or what)!