Thursday, March 06, 2008

In a rich man's/woman's world

An article I read today on MSNBC discussed a recent survey about women earning more money than their spouses. Compiling data from men (60% of respondents) and women (40%), it was found that most men would not mind if the woman earns more than the man. Along those same lines, most men stated that they wished their wives would work, to help alleviate the pressure of being the sole breadwinner.

I find this topic interesting for various reasons. Among them, I have two friends who both make considerably more than their male partners (double-triple the income). Both women-- exceedingly generous, confident and willing to provide--have not, to my knowledge, encountered direct confrontation about them making more money. However, there does seem to be occasional power struggles or an interesting level of insistence (by the man) upon maintaining separate finances so that I can't help but wonder if the "modern man" is really so modern in his laying his ego down.

What do you think? What's your experience?

As a side note, one of the first thoughts that popped into my mind after reading the finding that most men want to share the financial burden was to wonder if men have become lazier. This thought was followed by wondering whether they were truly desirous of being equal partners with women, or whether they've just always suffered under an unfair burden. Thoughts?

(Image above by MSNBC)


Jeremy said...

Ok I will confess. I have no problem with the woman earning more than the man. I am not too lazy :) My concern, and I guess a little bit of what I am going through now is the process where my girl could become one who earns more than I (by going to school-you all know the story by now), and if she would still care for me during that process and after. Does that make sense? I'm sure the love would remain, but I wonder what the woman thinks in that situation, as she goes for career advancement through education, and then feels that her man isn't an educated as she. Help me out ladies!!!
Is this why celebrities marry celebs, and then divorce when the star fades? Do doctors have to marry doctors? Lawyers with lawyers etc?

Sarah S said...

i love this topic... From my experience... men take great pleasure in knowing that women are happy... and women...are happiest when they know all in their world is taking care of... bills, self, future... etc...

Tim would love for me to work... and him to stay at home... ... however it would take me a decade to have the work experience Tim does and get paid... even the churches salary to Tim...
for this reason... going back to work... while i LOVE the idea... won't happen for me in the tradational sense...

In terms of schooling jer... education helps us prove to the world that we know what we're talking about (whether or not we really do ;))... I think the issue is more about internal drive and motivation than actual schooling or education...

does this make sense?

thanks kel for blogging...

Sarah S said...

separate finances... are these people married, dating, engaged?

Not all folks can share everything... and sometimes it is easier to keep spending money in separate accounts... but everything separate seems like trouble... seems like the relationship would be missing out on the whole partnership part of marriage... and being together...

my thoughts.

Kellyry said...

Thanks for the thoughtful and challenging responses, Jer & Sar! This topic is a little more serious than things I typically cover on my blog but I am truly curious to hear what all of you have to say.

Jer...Speaking personally and for most women I know, I don't think it'd be an issue with you being LESS-educated than the woman. Having personally struggled so long to even get my B.S., I know that there are people out there who are able to succeed professionally (both monetarily and by loving what they do) without a fancy education. If what I want to do didn't require me to have my Doctorate, I don't think I'd invest the time and the money into doing the program. Unfortunately, "just a Masters" won't cut it for being a professor someday (in addition to working as a therapist with clients). In your situation, it's not as though you are uneducated so I can't imagine that would be an issue. Also, I think being educated goes beyond grad school; I believe it's also about motivation (as Sarah mentioned) and educating yourself about the world around you through books, news outlets, talking with others. For me it's more important that the person I'm with have a curiosity and desire to learn more about life and people, than whether he has a fancy degree.

As you hope women won't judge you for your lack of grad degree (at this time anyway, I know you're considering that), I hope--but have heard happens--that *I* won't be judged or turned down because I have a degree. While I will be proud of my eventual accomplishment I hope I won't ever make any feel inferior because they don't have an advanced education.

Sar...What you wrote def. made sense. I too value drive and motivation--and for the record, that can look differently for every person--over the credentials or initials after someone's name. I can't deny being impressed by a fancy degree, but I'm also impressed to hear the passion in someone's voice when they tell me about what they do and have accomplished, even without the benefit of a degree.

What you said Sar about Tim being more than willing to have you work and him stay home is a great attitude by him. For each family, I think there's no right or wrong way to figure out the working thing. Obviously it's ideal if the parents can be primary caretakers, but who's to say it has to be the woman? I hope that my future husband would also be open to staying home if that was what was best for our family. While I do want children and want to experience all that comes with being a mother, I don't feel any strong obligation or need to be a stay-at-home-mother if my husband would also like the opportunity and if I can make equal or more than he could.

The two couples I know in this situation are both couples in longer relationships (i.e. 1-2yrs), and who plan to get married within a year or two. So they have no real reason to combine finances & spending at this point, but the situations I'm thinking of is where the man is very intentional about not allowing the woman to pay for him, and yet him being unable to pay for her either, so they inevitably just pay for themselves. What I've observed could be explained away because it's mostly subtle, but I'm not convinced it has nothing to do with the inequality in their earning capabilities. This isn't to say--AT ALL--that these couples can't make it work and be healthy and happy (as much as the next couple, anyway) but rather I see it as one of their issues in the relationship, something other couples may not have to deal with.

Singleness has shown me that I can live alone, support myself (perhaps not to the level of lifestyle to which I'd like to become accustomed but...;-P), but it has also shown me through my friends whose marriages I admire and respect, that I don't WANT to be alone. I want that partnership with someone else. I want to be support--emotionally, financially, spiritually--my husband and want him to want to do the same. However that looks, I want a mate, a partner, someone to share the burden.

T'Ru said...

This is actually Dave and Rama. You'll be able to tell which one of us it is by whether it is sarcastic or nice.

When Rama was working outside the home, I never once made more money than she did...not while dating, not while we were married...that's right, I got me a sugar mama. It wouldn't be a big deal if she made more money than me now. It's all about us being teammates. We decided we wanted one of us to stay home. I wouldn't mind being the one that stayed home, I think, but Rama really wants to be, so that leaves me to be the bread winner. But I'm not really the bread winner, more like the grain winner. Rama just said "I don't get that." So, let me 'splain myself. I earn the resources to buy the things we need. Rama takes the resources to buy the whole wheat flour, with a coupon, to use in the bread machine that she bought with a 20% off BB&B coupon, and google's the best, I mean, healthiest, recipe...I hope you get my point.

Finally, my turn (it's Rama now). So for those of you that follow Abby's blog, you know stay-at-home motherhood is the most selfless job. And it is definitely the most challenging one that I've ever had (maybe due to the fact that you don't see the results of your work for many, many years, but this is a whole other topic.). With that said, I'm thankful that I get to be the one that stays at home, not because I like to be taken care of financially, but because Dave wouldn't use the coupons, so I wouldn't think we were getting the best deals!!!

When I was working outside the home, I didn't care whether Dave made more or less money, nor did I care whether he had more or less degrees than me. We don't have separate accounts and we are fine with the other spending money on non-necessities.

I have a hard time commenting on the whether men are lazier, like you wondered, Kell. I only know Dave and he is definitely, by no stretch of the imagination, not lazy.

(Here's the bummer thing...we each typed up our comment and then when I was trying to post it, I managed to lose it somehow, so this was Rama's best attempt at remembering what both of us typed. But I know I'm not as good at telling jokes as Dave, so some of the humor may be missing.)

Kellyry said...

Sidenote: If you know the Rydmans as a couple and as individuals then what was just written will likely have you smiling, laughing and nodding your head at their responses (i.e. in agreement that Rama is stupendous at using coupons without sacrificing quality and the adjective 'lazy' could NEVER be used in a sentence referring to Dave. Ever. EVER.).

I love you, Rydmans!

More couples & singles, I want to hear your thoughts and how it all works for you.

Sarah S said...

for reals. dave is no slouch...

Jeremy said...

Dave is definitely no slouch.


the Friday moving team

Thanks for your comments so far ladies and Dave! It has helped me out substantially. This may be somewhat of a tangent...

I personally have just been going through "comfort zone" issues. Yes, I could stay in my cushy job here in N.B. with some responsbilty, very, very good salary for a single guy, etc. For some reason though I have felt like God has been telling me to (thanks to Ginger for reminding me at Bible study) get out of the boat. Now I don't know exactly what that means. It could be to go to library school, or go visit my sponsored boy in Uganda, or give more, or make a move with a certain relationship.

What! Another male blogger here? this town IS definitely big enough for the both of us :)

Michelle Eastman said...

Wow - I think this could take weeks and moths to discuss and figure out BUT ...

Dennis is just now getting his doctorate (should walk in May) and because he is physically fit and was a football coach etc, people ASSUME he is a meathead. When they start talking to him and the topic of career/education comes up (which it always seems to with men) 8 out of 10 people look at him in astonishment and say, "Really? I would never have guessed you for a higher education guy." SERIOUSLY? Even if you are thinking such a thing, do you need to tell the person?!?!?

The joke is on them, however, when they ask him what he is writing his dissertation on and he replies ...their eyes go on screensaver and they become mute. Hmm... feeling a little sheepish now?

Regarding $$ - Dennis tells me all the time that I have better marketable skills than he does and he would hire me out in a New York minute. But whenever I go away for 2 or more days he calls and says, "You can never die!! I cannot do what you do!"

Bottom line?

In a relationship based on respect and more importantly, on the foundation of Christ, each person sees great value in one another and enourages them to use the gifts and talents and skills the Lord has given them and rejoices in their successes ~ regardless of status or accolades.

And, it also comes down to self confidence and knowing your own weaknesses and embracing the way your partner balances your weaknesses with his/her strengths.

Okay - enough! I could talk about this forever!!

Love ya!

Jeremy said...

I think your last 2 paragraphs summed it up perfectly Michelle.