Ego Check: Your Wife Makes More Money Than You; You Still Wear The Pants In The House?

August 15, 2017 Written By: 

Before I even get started, I want you to keep three things in mind while reading this article.

  1. Don’t make a non-issue an issue.
  2. Pick your battles.
  3. Don’t let your ego kill you.

Okay, now that I got that out the way let’s get to it. 

In one of my Facebook groups, I was recently involved in a discussion about finances in marriage.  One of the things that I noticed was that there were quite a few men that were uncomfortable with their wife bringing home a bigger paycheck than them.  At first I checked my calendar to make sure what year I was in (I thought I may have somehow traveled back to 1955).  Once I confirmed that I didn’t pull a Marty McFly, I started to laugh and shake my head because I really found this comical.

Now let me put out a disclaimer; I consider myself to be a progressive thinker and I’m very comfortable in my masculinity.  So I’ve evolved from the thinking that say my great grandfather may have had, and I don’t feel my manhood is threatened if my wife picks up the tab at a restaurant every now and then. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why a man would feel uncomfortable with his wife making more money than him.  We’re the Man, we’re the Provider, we’re the Head of Household, blah blah blah.  I get it. 

But the one thing that’s always contained in my rhetoric whenever I get on my marriage soapbox, is the concept of team.  And the one thing that is consistent with all great teams is that everybody knows who the best at a particular role is. 

Think of it from a sports perspective.  Scottie Pippen knew Michael Jordan was the primary scorer and closer for the Chicago Bulls.  David Robinson knew he would be the second scoring option once Tim Duncan came to the San Antonio Spurs.  John Elway started winning Super Bowls after Terrell Davis cemented himself as the primary offensive weapon on the Denver Broncos.   The point is that even in sports the greatest of players have to sometimes play Robin instead of Batman.

But understand that this does not mean you’re not needed.  Jordan didn’t win any rings without Pippen, so of course he needed Scottie to get to the mountaintop.  Same goes in your marriage; neither you nor your wife can get to the marital mountaintop without the help of the other.

I know deep down what may be the biggest reason any man would feel uncomfortable making less than his wife; we’re scared of her having something to throw up in our face or use against us to belittle us.  Vulnerability, that’s what most of us fear.  And to be more specific, vulnerability when it comes to our ego. 

But the fact is vulnerability is what comes with marriage.  And that’s on both sides.  You both are exposing yourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually to each other.  You’ll know each other’s strengths, as well as each other’s weaknesses.  And the onus is on the both of you to not use each other’s flaws against one another and throw it up in each other’s faces. 

But let’s be candid here; more than likely one of two things happened:

  1. She was making more money than you from the jump and you knew this going into the relationship/marriage. Or…
  2. She advanced herself professionally and her income increased as a result; which you should have been encouraging and cheering her along throughout the process.

So outside of you abruptly losing your job, it shouldn’t be a huge shock or surprise if she makes more money than you.  And it doesn’t make you any less of a man also.

The problem with a lot of us is that we let our egos get the best of us and cause unnecessary friction.  Don’t make a non-issue an issue.  If your household is not having a problem making ends meet, and your wife is not nagging you about your paycheck, then relax.  You have no reason to get worked up.

Don’t have any resentment towards your wife.  Don’t feel the need to compete against her, but if anything use her success to motivate you to do better in your professional career.  Remember, you’re both a team so you’re working together, not against each other.

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