Back in the 1950s and 1960s, staying home to care for children was the norm for women in the United States. They rarely worked outside the home. More than 50 years later, things have changed in this country. Now, 62% of married households are dual-career couples.
And there is a good reason for that — the economy. Prices are rising. Everything is getting more expensive. It is almost impossible to pay the bills on just one spouse’s income.
Also, women have become more motivated. Many have college degrees and they want to put them to good use. They want to contribute to the workplace. They want their own money. Not every woman wants to stay at home with kids for an extended period of time. Some do not want kids at all.
Men have traditionally dominated the workforce, but women have taken over. Of all the new jobs added in the past year, 3.3 million went to women, compared to 3.1 million for men. Black women and Latinas made up the largest increases in the workplace.
There are benefits to having both partners work. Each spouse reaps benefits such as increased economic freedom and a decreased chance of divorce due to a more satisfying relationship. But despite these advantages, many men still resent the fact that their wives work outside the home. They may even threaten divorce.
Why Men Do Not Want Their Wives to Work
When a woman works, it brings more income into the household, which can help pay the bills. What’s not to love? Men feel threatened by this equality in several ways:
- Competition. Men are socialized to be winners—particularly breadwinners. There is also a lot of competition involved in the workplace. Men often have to compete with other men at work for higher pay and better positions. Ideally, they do not want to compete in their personal lives, as well, which means they may have resentment toward their wives who want to work outside the home.
- Control. There are a lot of marriages in which men have control over everything. They want to be the breadwinner and control all the money. They also want to make all the decisions in the household and may not even let their wives drive. Some women are OK with this, but if something ever happens to the men, things become chaotic. The women end up not having the requisite knowledge and access to resources because their husbands controlled everything.
- Tradition. Let’s not forget about tradition. In many cultures, the man must support the family. If the woman has to work, then the man is considered to be a failure. These traditions are often passed down for many generations, from grandfathers and fathers, so men often think that not allowing wives to work is the right thing to do.
- Insecurity. A lack of security is also something to consider. Once a woman leaves the house to work, there is a higher risk of the woman cheating, according to some men. But there is some truth to this statement. Men still cheat more than women, but the gap is closing. Also, workplaces are top places for infidelity to occur, so it makes sense that men may be worried about their wives finding an office romance.
Unique Challenges Involved
Besides the issues listed above, dual earners also face unique challenges primarily because their
working lives and personal lives are deeply intertwined. Will they relocate for the husband’s job or the wife’s job? How do they make that decision?
If they have kids, who is the primary caretaker? Who will leave work early to pick up a sick kid from school or daycare? How do they deal with family commitments when they are both working in demanding jobs? What happens when one spouse wants to change their career? How does that affect the other spouse?
It is all about communication. The spouses must work out these issues together. If they don not, regrets and resentment will quickly build up. This can hinder their careers or ruin their relationship.
Couples cannot ever assume anything. They must balance and prioritize certain areas of their work and personal lives.
A dual-career couple will likely see a lot of challenges—not just in their jobs but at home. There is no one-size-fits all solution for dealing with these challenges. The 50/50 marriage, in which housework and child care are divided equally between the spouses, would be ideal for many relationships. However, in busy households, it can be next to impossible to maintain an even score. Instead, dual-career couples are better off communicating with each other and being proactive in making choices and coming up with solutions.
Having a marriage with dual careers requires a team effort. Women who want to prove their true worth outside of the home should be commended, not punished. Times are changing and when it comes to household responsibilities; it is time for all partners to be fair and put in some effort.
Seek Legal Help
There are many things that can make a couple unhappy and having a wife that works can be threatening to some men. However, if a woman wants to work, then she should feel comfortable doing so. There are ways to make it work in a marriage.
If a couple cannot agree on outside employment, then it can cause a lot of frustration and resentment in a marriage. Divorce may be the only option. Seek legal help from Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler. Call (954) 398-5712 or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation.