In our culture, when a woman earns more than her spouse it’s foolish to assume it’s a nonevent. We are nowhere near living in a world where a reversal of traditional roles can be shrugged off, nor can we pretend it doesn’t impact intimate relationships.
It can’t be denied, women on a global scale continue to struggle to reach financial parity with their male counterparts, but simultaneously there are a significant number of women who have surpassed men financially, and in rank.
The statistics have been consistent for years, colleges are graduating more women than men; women comprise half of the workforce; women, especially in large urban areas, earn more than their male counterparts, and in households where the wife works, a third of these married women earn more than their spouse.
As wives become more fiscally powerful, the confidence a husbands seem to diminish proportionally. Unfortunately, relations between the sexes have not evolved to accommodate the new balance of power and the reversal of roles. Men have fond themselves being reappraised be their suddenly more powerful partner and in many cases, the wife loses respect for her subordinate husband, who ends up feeling emasculated.
Financially endowed women don’t typically marry men expecting financial support — many are economically independent before they say I Do. However, even though earning power isn’t a high priority for these women, there is a social expectation of a man to earn his masculinity through economic potency.
With financial leverage over their spouses more and more women are assuming the masculine role in their relationships, but with a downside, they couldn’t have anticipated or bargain for, they quietly begin to distance themselves from and question their femininity. This upheaval in personality and responsibility of roles is made most acute when there are children in the middle.
Many couples facing these challenges do so without being conscious of the cause, they can only feel the dissonance in their relationship, complain about the friction that keeps them separate, and respond to the drama pulling apart their family dynamics.
Catherine and Paul, a couple 18 years together once found themselves inside this tender trap while raising a young family. They share the dynamics of the role reversal that almost tore them apart and the awareness that became necessisary for them to keep their family together.
The full stoy is our podcast Domestic Bliss!