Happy Relationships Blog

Another Media Inquiry: When the Woman Makes More Money Than the Man in the Relationship

Posted on: February 3, 2009


Here is another media inquiry, requested during the time that Hilary Clinton was still running for president.  The question concerned what to do in a relationship when the woman made more money than the man.  

We just may have a First Matey in the White House. In this day and age, is there still a sticking point when the wife is more successful than the husband? We’ve seen Academy Award-winning actresses losing their men after winning the little golden one. How is Bill going to deal with Hill being the big chief? University professors, marriage counselors who are psychologists/psychiatrists/M.D.s — I need good studies or long-term experience to back up statements about the pitfalls of a wife’s super success. Have the times been a-changing? And how to make the marriage work? Also, if you are a woman who is success-driven, what kind of men should you look for? 

Well, the primary purpose of the psychology industry is supposed to be to help individuals within a marriage learn how to have a balanced ego.  Unfortunately, because of Freud’s biology conclusion this message is lost.  And a woman who is more successful than her husband is a perfect example, given the financial pressures on marriage today.  Because of the lack of focus on balancing the ego the industry has also not embraced another concept, and that is happiness is not possible if the individuals define themselves by what I call the 2 false Gods, looks and money.  If you define yourself based on your looks or level of income, then you will not be able to find happiness within your marriage.  What this means with our question above is that you cannot define yourself based on your job, whether a man or a woman.  If a woman is using her status with her job to gain power in the relationship then the relationship cannot be balanced.  

And if the man is intimidated by his wife’s success then he cannot find balance in the relationship.  In fact, this brings up one of the more humorous points with marriages, the situation where the woman does make more money than the man, and the man is intimidated.  Are you kidding me!!!  I would be doing high-fives all the way to the bank if my wife made more money than me.  I just do not understand men who are intimidated by a successful wife.  There is not balance in that situation. 

Here is the way I answer the situation in the book:

The best way to look at the interaction of the partnership is that both people in the partnership have exactly fifty percent of the say in the decision making process.  No one person can tell the other person what the solution to the problem will be.  Both perspectives must be taken into consideration.  If you are not able to see the perspective of your partner then you cannot understand the other side of the discussion.  The right relationship is a fifty-fifty partnership between two people where the outcome of the discussion is what would be best for both people on an equal basis.  If you want ten dollars and the best solution for both of you is for you to have nine dollars then you get the nine dollars, and you understand why!  The path to happiness leads directly through the road of compromise. 

No this does not mean that you do half of the dishes and she does the other half, or you decide where to go to dinner on Tuesday evenings and he gets to decide on Thursday evenings, or that you both must make exactly fifty percent of the income of the household.  Even more importantly, this does not mean that if you make eighty percent of the income then your partner must make up the deficit in another manner.  Pessimists would argue that if you structure a relationship based on thinking then you take all of the emotion out of the relationship, you get bored.  Common sense, though, would tell you the exact opposite.  

If you have a relationship based only on love then the only emotion that is growing in your unconscious is the emotion of love.  That other emotion, of unhappiness, is not even present.  Emotions are never stagnant.  They either grow or they shrink.  If everyday your relationship involves only love then you only grow the emotion of love.  Life is actually a lot of fun.  Guess what, you become happy.  Granted life is tough because of this and because of that, but is it really that tough?  Getting along with your partner is actually one of the best investments in life you can ever make.  It is actually free.  You can only get there though if you develop a relationship based on the psychological notion that both get to share equally in the thinking and the feelings that go into developing the emotional bond called love. 

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