Yep, I’m talking about money. I make more than my husband. No, that is not the main reason I work outside the home, and no, not every working mom is the breadwinner. I feel like this is such a taboo topic though.
A lot of men and especially other women feel like the husband should be the breadwinner. Some say it is okay for the wife to work as long as that is what she wants to do and her income is not essential. Some go so far as to say that the husband is not doing his job if he is not making enough income for his wife to stay home. I have read a lot on this topic and I continue to be surprised by what I read and the potent feelings on this matter.
I think part of the “touchiness” is that it can also be intertwined with submission. How can a wife submit to her husband if decisions are made based on her career or if she controls the finances?
To be quite blunt, I wholeheartedly believe that a woman can make more than her husband and still submit to him as the leader of their family. I, personally, do not believe it is wrong or unBiblical for a women to make more than her husband. I do not believe it is wrong to depend on the wife’s income. I do believe that you need to do what you are called to do…and that is another area where we are hypersensitive. What if you depend on the wife’s income but she feels called to stay home now?
- Foremost, I think this conversation needs to occur prior to marriage, potentially even before pre-marital counseling. Of course things change, but if you have at least discussed how you anticipate you will handle careers and finances, you will be doing your marriage a huge favor.
- Reassess your plans every 6 months. Discuss debts, savings, financial responsibility, budget. Do not be afraid to try different tactics. Cash envelopes don’t work for everyone. Debit cards are huge debt magnets for some people, credit cards for others.
- Set aside some fun money for each of you. Again, this may not work for everyone; however, I know enough other couples that do this that I really believe it is helpful. Even if you are not happy with your finances or job or living situation, knowing you have some money to spend unanswered on a new scarf or bestseller book sometimes is enough to make us women change our perspective and relax a little.
- Communicate. Even if you feel called to work and happen to be the breadwinner, it is not always easy. Let your husband know if you need some “me time” or if you are feeling anxious about everything that is on your plate.
- Remind yourself of the benefits. Very often, women find themselves in jobs with excellent health benefits and compensation (no, not always!). If we did not have my additional income, we would hardly be able to contribute anything towards retirement. Working has also really helped me to balance my priorities in an odd way. We get so caught up in feeling unbalanced, but I have a feeling that if I stayed home I would constantly be tending to put my children ahead of my marriage and my relationship with the Lord.
- Pray for and with your husband. He can still lead your family and be very involved in the direction of your family even if the two of you make the decision to follow your career path or to prioritize your career. I think we, as working moms, probably realize more than anyone that money is not everything. The decision may be to follow his career even though he does not make as much. Either way, pray to find ways to honor him and respect his guidance.
- If you feel called to stay home, pray! Sometimes there are ways to give up or cut back even when you think it impossible. Sometimes we are just so focused on the guilt and pain of leaving our children instead of really seeking to listen. I would give almost anything to be able to stay home with my children, but I have also learned through a LOT of prayer that sometimes my desires are getting in the way of God’s will. However, if it is His will for you to stay home, I truly believe He will make a way.