Money

“I Earn More Money Than My Husband.” Here’s How We Make it Work

A quick Google search about female breadwinners brings up article after article about all the ways it won’t end well for your marriage. I’m here to tell you that being a female breadwinner does not mean your relationship is doomed. Here’s why.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

This post is sponsored by Chase, however, all opinions and non-traditional working relationship are 100% my own. 

Wow! It's so awesome to see this girl win at business and thrive in marriage! It seems like everyone gives women the choice of either making money in the business world or being happy at home. This girl breaks down how she manages both. #breadwinningwife #marriagetips #marriageandmoney #unequalincome

I truly apologize if I make a few of you uncomfortable today, but this message has been on my heart ever since Joseph and I decided to both work full-time on Creative Savings. I’m finally feeling brave enough to share, so please be nice! 🙂

What I want to talk about are female breadwinners, using myself as an example in particular. Over the past year and a half, my husband and I never thought we’d receive as many comments about our working relationship as we have. Not that they are necessarily mean or accusatory, but they do kind of make us squirm. Things like:

“Ooohh, so she’s the boss now??”

“How does THAT work??”

“So what do you do?? Sit around and watch TV all day, while she earns the money?”

While many comments are made in jest, a lot people just don’t understand what we do and why we do it. There’s a traditional mindset we have to contend with—the mindset that our marriage can’t possibly work while the wife runs a full-time business the husband supports her behind-the-scenes.

It’s easy to understand why. When you really think about it, the nature of the American household has evolved drastically over the last few decades—faster than older generations can keep up. Working women have become breadwinners of many families, and more dads are staying home with the kids.

Is that wrong? No way!

But it IS controversial, and I would be remiss to say it doesn’t impact money dynamics in households across the country. Sadly, not always in the best light. There are a lot of unhappy families and internet articles that say explicitly—it just doesn’t work. 

Here’s an interesting statistic—the Chase Generational Money Talks Study found that 75% of Millennials and 72% of Gen Xers have money-related conflicts with their spouses, compared to 62% of Boomers.

Now, are these money conflicts purely a result of redefined family roles? Maybe….maybe not. But I’m here to say your marriage doesn’t have to suffer because the woman “makes more” than the man. It doesn’t have to be demeaning. And it doesn’t have to destroy his self-worth. Joseph and I are living proof of this, day after day.

Here’s what we do to keep ourselves in check and make our relationship thrive, no matter who earns what.

1. Think of Yourselves as a Team

If I had to boil it down to one thing, the thing that makes the biggest difference in our home and work life, is how we view each of our roles. It’s NOT about who earns more than the other. It’s NOT about who does the dishes and who makes the meals.

We are a team in everything we do. 

On the days Joseph freelances, I keep track of the meals and laundry. When Joseph is home, I work in my office while Joseph takes care of the cooking and cleaning. No job is more important or less important than the other. Everyone contributes…just in different ways.

Now even though we are a team, we still have leadership roles in different areas. For my business, no two people can be the CEO—that would be recipe for disaster! Someone has to step up and make all final business decisions. Since I started Creative Savings and grew the site into the business it is today, it makes sense that I step into that role.

2. Appreciate One Another

On a similar note, don’t take each others duties for granted. Say thank you! A small word of affirmation can do wonders for self-esteem, and it goes both ways.

For instance, Joseph is always telling me how smart I am and how proud he is of me running an online business {I don’t always agree, but it’s nice to hear!}, and I always try to say thank you when he’s done the laundry, cleaned the bathroom or cooked us a meal. I know—I’m extremely lucky to have him!!

It’s also important to communicate your appreciation when “so and so” decides to share their opinion of your working arrangement. When you praise each other in front of other people, it shows them just how seamlessly your relationship works, and they’re more likely to admire you rather than judge your choice.

3. Work Together to Support Each Other’s Dreams

My dream has always been to become an entrepreneur and own my own business. I truly believe I was born for this way of life, and can’t imagine doing anything else! Because Joseph is so supportive of me, I’m able to wake up every day without feeling guilty for “going to work”.

Likewise, when Joseph isn’t busy working with me on Creative Savings, he has the ability to explore new interests—things he never would have time to do when he worked at his stressful TV job.

He recently started his own strategy board game blog {check it out if you or your husband is a gaming nerd!} and is also saving up for Flight School. I want to do everything I can to support his dreams, just like he’s supported mine.

Again, we’re a team. We’re working together. And we both play an integral role in our family duties, household finances, and in fulfilling our biggest dreams.

One final thought:

If you are the breadwinner in the relationship, or working towards becoming one, I don’t want you to ever feel guilty about it.

People don’t always understand, and that’s okay. You’re smart. You should use your skills. And if it works better for your family to go out there and earn the money…girl, you do it and be proud of yourself.

Besides, 78% of Millennial women agree they’re able to able to make good financial decisions, compared to 71% of Gen X and 67% of Boomer women….so hey….the Chase Money Talk statistics are on your side. 😉

Now I want to know…

Are you the breadwinner in your family?

How do you make your relationship work?

Chase is committed to couples and generations talking about their finances. Learn more about how to have “The Talk” HERE.

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Rest assured, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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5 Comments

  1. It’s sad that we still live in a culture that views this situation as flawed and in need of explaining. Sorry to hear you’ve had to deal with the ignorant comments, but know you have someone here on your side (although, this shouldn’t be an issue that needs sides).

    Rae
    Mindful Rambles

  2. This is such great insight and a similiar setup to what we want when my blogging takes off :).

  3. Yes, yes, yes!! Especially the part about being a team!! My husband and I are both now self-employed (as of last month for him,…and this week for me!). I support him fully in what he does and vice-versa. Right now, he is the breadwinner, but when my blog gets to the point of making enough money to sustain us, he is more than welcome to cut back on his work or stay home! Currently, we are both doing what we love so even if my blog takes off huge, he may still work simply because he enjoys it.

    But I agree that there are so, so many ways to contribute to the family. Finances are just ONE way!

    Great post!!

    -Sarah

  4. The problems usually arise when the wife is the breadwinner and also has responsibility for the household. If you have a husband who does the housework and deals with the family responsibilities then it should work fine. In my family, I make about 3X what my husband does but he travels a lot and I have a flexible schedule with minimal travel. Unfortunately, this is what leads to the issues because I hold primary responsibility for everything (including 2 pre schoolers). He refuses to stay home even though I have much higher earning power. It has caused conflict but he is also getting better at doing home stuff (just slow to adjust after the kids were born). I know he’s trying his best but it’s taking him some time to learn how to cook/organize. People say stupid things to us too.

    1. You are 100% right! Communication is the key. I think many people in general don’t understand that keeping a home is practically a full time job in and of itself, and when kids are added to the mix, there’s unpaid overtime. 🙂

      I encourage you to keep finding non-confrontational ways to communicate with your spouse about how do divide the home responsibilities. Joseph and I aren’t perfect at it, but we’ve been getting better at having an ongoing conversation about how to make sure all the necessary things get done.

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