I had an interesting conversation with a friend last night. The discussion revolved around the subject of income in a relationship (including marriage), especially when women earn more than their men. I thought it would be a good a good idea to share my thoughts here.
Both boys and girls now go to school to get an education, and then proceed to work. Once two people in a relationship are free to choose vocations and careers that they enjoy, there is no way to ensure 100% that it is the man that will earn more. It is even more so if they belong to two separate, disparate industries.
A male lecturer or nurse marries a female banker: will he kill himself in order to earn more? Does earning less than she does make him less a capable lecturer or nurse? Or must he abandon his chosen career just to be able to out-earn his spouse? Does earning less make him less a man? My answer is, No. It does not reduce him in anyway.
This is the 21st century: everyone will come to terms with these facts sooner or later. More and more, we shall see more cases of women who earn more than their husbands.
Even if a couple start out with the husband earning more, there is no sure fire way to guarantee that it will stay that way. Sometimes, all that has to happen for a woman to start earning more than her husband is for her to switch careers.
Sometimes, it is misfortune on the part of the husband. He loses his job and his wife becomes the breadwinner.
And this is not a new phenomenon. In quite a number of marriages, the wife has had to be the breadwinner at some time. In others, she actually earns more than her husband. This is not even a novelty any more. It happened with some of our parents and their peers.
I remember some of our university lecturers back in the 90s – brilliant men who rose to the pinnacle of their vocation to become professors. These men had wives who were business women, bankers, diplomats, and the like. Those women earned more than their husbands. And those men were not less men than their peers who earned more than their wives did.
In many cases, the women “covered up” their husbands. You know, society’s expectations of the man. I cannot judge them for doing so. But I believe that in today’s world, nobody needs to cover anybody. There is no shame in this matter. It is not a crime to earn less than a woman. Men must adjust to the present reality and stop measuring their value primarily by their financial worth. Everyone needs to, actually.
I understand how in these parts, society pressures men with the need to be “above” their wives financially. What I do not understand is why people succumb to that pressure in today’s world.
If a man’s value in a relationship or marriage is all about how much he earns, I am of the opinion that he does not have much to offer a woman. But then, I could be wrong.
No matter your opinion on this matter, this is how it will go down going forward. This is revolutionary stuff and there is no going back on it. Not unless we want to go back to the years of denying girls education and keeping women locked up in the house.