TOPE OMOGBOLAGUN writes about the pros and cons of when a wife earns more money than her husband
When a lawyer, Mrs Morenike Adeyemi, who worked in a multinational, married her accountant husband five years ago, she was earning more than him.
The mother of two said her husband’s understanding helped her to submit to him despite being the one contributing more to the family maintenance allowance and other sundry bills.
She said that being a ‘big girl’ at the time compared to her husband was just starting his accounting career; she pondered many times on how they would live happily as a couple with his meagre salary.
Adeyemi said, “When we eventually got married, there was the fear of how to cope. I wanted to keep my money to myself; I wanted us to use his money for the family’s upkeep because I felt it was the responsibility of the husband to take care of the home. I would have gone astray if not for the intervention of my pastor’s wife. She was the one who guided me in the right path when I sought her counsel.’’
According to her, her husband later got a better job and promotion followed.
“As if it was a dream, my huge salary became little compared to his. Today, he earns thrice my salary and he treats me like a queen because of my act of humility impressed him, ’’ he added.
Mrs Becky Oluwatayo’s case is akin to Morenike’s. Oluwatayo stated that she used her salary to sponsor their wedding because her husband wasn’t working then.
She said they decided to get married at the time because they were convinced that it was time to do so despite all the odds.
She stated, “When I got married to my husband, he wasn’t working. I was the only one with a job. I worked for about a year before he got a job. Over the years, he has risen to the position of a senior staff in a media organisation. I am now a housewife who is pampered by her husband. There is nothing I need that my husband doesn’t give me except he cannot afford it.’’
Oluwatayo said she couldn’t imagine what would have happened if she had refused to be cooperative when her husband had no job and only her was in paid employment.
“I probably might have missed the opportunity of spending my lifetime with a man who cares so much for me,” she noted.
A pastor, Mr Solomon Adegoke, said attitude of women who earned more than their husbands varied depending on the individual.
He told SUNDAY PUNCH about how his wife had been generous with her money despite contributing hugely to the family needs.
He said, “My wife is a teacher; she assists in paying the bills. I am a full-time pastor with little income. My money does nothing in the home but my wife has been a helper in that aspect.
“She is humble and virtuous despite being the one who brings home the bigger part of the money needed to run the home. Her kind is rare and she accords me respect as the head of the family.”
However, an engineer, Mrs Iyinoluwa Onabote, held a different view on the matter. She believed that husbands should take the lead in the family needs especially the financial aspect.
She said, “For me, it’s not a big deal. It depends on the two individuals. There are situations where the woman started earning more, then years after, the man earned an amount far above the woman’s.
“Biblically, the man is the head irrespective of how much he is contributing. It doesn’t say who should earn more. However, I believe in financial compatibility just as we know that compatibility in every area is important.’’
Onabote said there might be a problem if the wife earned far more the husband and not because the woman was proud or possessed a bad character.
She said, “By whose financial standard would they be living by? If such is the case, then I believe that the man should do well to do side business to augment his earning. I am not saying it can’t work, but that would require special grace to live happily.”
She added that most times people wouldn’t see the situation as a big deal especially if the gap between a woman’s income and her husband wasn’t much.
On his part, a married man, Mr Efe Ogedengbe, noted that money tended to make people want to be in control hence some men could be affected negatively when their wives earned money than them.
Ogedengbe added, “Most women cannot control their temper on ordinary matters. In fact, some naturally want to be in control so imagine if such women now earn more money than their husbands. A man is measured by how he takes care of his home. So, if a man is not the one catering to the major family needs, he should submit to his wife but it is wrong. Some men can but I can’t. I will rather marry someone who earns below my income.”
A relationship expert, Olabisi Soetan, said that it didn’t matter who earned more between couple, adding that marriage should be seen as a combined effort from both parties.
She said, “Most times, masculinity is synonymous to the provider, it has become the norm for a man to be sole provider or at least be the main provider for his household. Many men judge themselves to be manly when they can put food on the table without depending on their wives. Stability is found in their ability to create wealth and take care of women.
“Of course times are changing and we find many women who earn more than their husbands and sometimes have to bear the burden of solely providing for the family. Many times a woman is happy to provide or just support and it doesn’t become much of an issue until the man starts to feel emasculated by his inability to provide for his family.
“It shouldn’t be a big deal that the woman earns more but a man’s manhood is threatened when it is perceived he can’t do better than his wife. As a necessity, he wants to be the sole and major provider for his family. This feeling is rooted in a silent or an unspoken power struggle.’’
Soetan noted that it shouldn’t matter who earned more between a couple, adding that the ultimate goal of married partners should be to join forces in achieving a great future and enjoyable future for their families.
Another relationship counsellor, Fisayo Dayo-Samuel, advised that a couple should embrace what they felt would work for them.
According to her, a family may not have an issue with the woman earning more while in another family it can be the cause of a serious crisis.
She said, “When couples find themselves in that situation, they need to sit down and talk. In some families, couples see themselves as partners so they complement each other and make things work in the home. In this case, the amount of money earned by the individuals is not a threat to their partners.
“However, in some homes, the man is uncomfortable because he feels threatened by the money his wife earns. In situations like this, there is a need to find a compromise in order to help both parties.’’
Dayo-Samuel noted that the matter cannot be generalised because what worked for A might not work for B.
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