In 2012, women made up nearly half of the labor force, and mothers were the sole or primary providers for 4 out of 10 homes, according to research from Pew Social and Demographic Trends. While 79 percent of adults surveyed in 2012 supported women working outside of the home, a new survey in 2013 revealed that 74 percent of adults polled thought women working outside the home made it harder for couples to raise children. Though society is beginning to accept women working in theory, the gender imbalance in our culture may make it hard for individuals to adjust to the change.
1. Share Household Chores
One of the largest sources of resentment for women who make more money than their husbands is the division of household labor. Even when wives work as many hours as their husbands, in families with children, the woman spends an average of 17 hours more per week on child care and household chores than the man, notes psychologist Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker of PsychCentral.com. Although many men appreciate the dual income, spouses tend to cling to “traditional” roles, even when they’re not reasonable. Instead of building up resentment over how much more you do, talk to your husband and divide household chores along reasonable lines. If you’re both working, and neither of you has more free time than the other does, the division of labor should be entirely equal, says Hartwell-Walker.
2. Share Financial Decisions
Your husband might feel resentment if he feels that he’s been “demoted” because you control all of the money. Similarly, you might feel resentment because he’s spending money he didn’t earn himself. However, as a married couple, you should be pooling your resources. Involve your husband in your financial decisions and discuss how you will join or separate your accounts. Consider who will make certain decisions, how you will share and how you will address individual spending. Hartwell-Walker reminds couples in situations where the woman brings in more money that they are pioneers living an unprecedented lifestyle. Therefore, you need to make and negotiate the rules together.
3. Communicate Honestly
When the woman in a marriage makes more money, it’s hard for each spouse to communicate how they feel about their traditional expectations of gender roles. Even 21st century couples who consider themselves progressive have hard-wired expectations that the male should be alpha and the female beta, writes research psychologist and professor Peggy Drexler on Forbes.com. Professor and founder of the Bread and Roses Project Andrea Ducet agrees, saying that men often feel that their status is diminished when their wives earn more. Communicate honestly with your spouse about your new roles and how they make you feel, suggests Hartwell-Walker. However, don’t downplay your contributions to the household in an effort to validate him. You shouldn't have to dumb yourself down to make your husband feel important.
4. Seek Counseling
If your marriage is on the brink of disaster, don’t try to hold it together alone, advises Hartwell-Walker. “It is indeed very sad when money issues erode what is otherwise a good relationship,” she writes, and urges couples to get an objective mediator. A professional therapist or counselor can help you start to work as a team again. When you start working as a team, the resentment should fade.
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