I fully believe that two people who come together in marriage should have a fair and equitable responsibility in facilitating a happy, rewarding, and fulfilling marriage–PERIOD. To each is his or her own but I don’t believe in a marriage where the husband is the sole financial provider. Nor do I believe in the old saying: “Happy wife happy life.” I believe in happy spouse happy house. I grew up in a family where both my parents were married and both my mother and father provided. If you have the wherewithal to be the sole provider, then fine I have no argument with you there. However, the majority of people in the industrialized nations on this planet either work a 9 to 5 if not two or three jobs and cannot carry the normal everyday expenses, pay for vacations, save and have discretionary income too. At the very least, a couple’s finances will go much further if both parties are bringing in income rather than if every financial decision fell upon one person’s shoulders.
On a very valid side note the whole key to having a two income home is to not to budget on a two income home. The problem comes in when one of the incomes is affected due to loss of that income, an injury, illness or death. It is better to budget on a single income preferably the lesser of the two. In that way there’s more financial flexibility.
In order to manage everyday household tasks such as laundry, dishes, taking out the trash, central air and heat, electrical, plumbing, lawncare etc. two people must sit down and have an objective conversation about how these responsibilities will be fairly distributed. Gone are the days of traditional gender roles. I can only speak for myself when I say that I’m very good at cooking, cleaning, lawncare, electrical and plumbing, so it would be even easier for me to be fair and equitable straight down the line. Jay and I both have two very demanding careers each, so in our situation we often times have to adjust according to the needs of the household, so in our case reciprocation is more of the focus.
Now, for some reason some people have this foolish notion that there is no such thing as a 50/50 marriage. When I hear people say that what they’re really saying is they don’t know how to facilitate a 50/50 marriage. Too many people assume and let things fall to happenstance instead of discussing beforehand. Then when one or the other party is disgruntled at the outcome either problems arise or worse, feelings of resentment fester and the marriage suffers as a result. Facilitating a 50/50 marriage can mean different things to different households. Being 50/50 does not necessarily mean being black & white straight down the middle. You wash 3 plates and I’ll wash the other 3 plates. You mop half the kitchen floor and I’ll mop the other half. Split a $300 cable bill down the middle where you pay $150 and I pay $150.
A couple can sit down and agree to split responsibilities any way they wish just as long as both parties agree that the deal made is fair and equitable. The point to all this is once the plan is made, then stick to it. If the plan needs to be revisited at a later point, then do so. Also understand that as the years go by circumstances will cause responsibilities to fluctuate or change altogether. Unemployment, pursuit of an advanced degree, illness, injury, care of an elderly relative can cause those changes. Deal with those situations when they arise accordingly.
Inevitably, at some point especially if two people stay married for a number of years one party may have to carry the other due to the aforementioned circumstances. When situations of the aforementioned nature arise there is also nothing wrong with one mate supporting the other just as long as the other mate feels appreciated and not taken advantage of or taken for granted. Again, this is why it is important to base a household budget on one income–The lesser of the two.
So, how does all this work? If it’s so easy why isn’t everyone doing it? That’s the point it is very easy to implement if you go into a relationship with a 50/50 mindset to begin with. Therein lays the problem. Do not invest into a relationship with someone in the first place without a clear understanding of how the relationship will be facilitated. When you see signs that a person is either unwilling or unable to plan that is a warning sign–A red flag. This isn’t a time to forgive and forget. This is a time to make clear the understanding that you are willing to spend the rest of your life with another person under one roof, and that notion should be taken seriously, which leads to a crucial point: Pre-marital counseling.
Pre-marital counseling can be a very effective tool in not only understanding the true intentions of your partner but also to rectify any underlying issues. Too many people wait too late to seek counseling if at all. Often after too much mental, emotional and psychological damage is already done. Just as an athlete prepares for a sports event two people should prepare for marriage instead of letting the chips fall where they may. One of the many reasons why I’m so happy to have Jay in my life is because we are completely open and honest with each other regardless of how uncomfortable a situation may be. We discuss every aspect of our lives and take every facet of our lives seriously. Our planning is very methodical and intentional. In this manner how we proceed is very well thought out and provides for the freedom to enjoy each other rather than dealing with unnecessary pitfalls and valleys.
Through the trials and tribulations of our past we have both learned how to identify and sort out our problems as individuals as well as a couple. We both have the gift of having learned from our mistakes and knowing how to have a preventative mindset instead of a reactionary mentality. We’ve learned how to always be mindful and attentive of each other’s feelings, value of mutual trust, respect and admiration. When we came together we brought what we learned into the relationship and we’ve grown together seamlessly. Of course no relationship will transpire without misunderstandings and disagreements. The key is to see the misunderstandings and disagreements for what they are instead of turning them to turn into turmoil and conflict.
Now please don’t assume that Jay and I are on some trouble free plain of existence where everything is peaches and cream and sugarplum fairies. We are human and we have our moments. They are rare and far in between but they happen, and they do, we are intentional in not only constructively voicing our concerns we are intentional in being active listeners. Finally, once the situation is resolved the focus is to mend and grow closer not harbor resentment. This is not an easy method to learn especially if you aren’t in the habit of doing so in the first place. I’ve seen too many times especially on all of these reality shows where the mentality is which party can act out the most bombastically instead of being mindful of each other’s feelings. It may make for entertaining television but it is unhealthy for an impressionable audience more willing to emulate rather than think for themselves.
I don’t know when it became more important to act out and tear each other apart rather than grow together but something has got to give. My goal is to achieve happiness–A oneness with the woman I love. And what is so amazing about a 50/50 relationship is when two people put their heads together and are candid about setting benchmarks and achieving goals it isn’t hard work as so many people have labeled love and marriage to be. It’s an effortless action that reaps bountiful returns for the rest of your life.