Most people would still be able to recall clearly that tearful video of Songstress, Tiwa Savage, where she literally savaged her estranged husband’s past and future career prospects, while airing their dirty linen in public.
Whatever her reasons were for deciding to do that video is solely her concern, however, reference to the fact that she contributed more to the family purse caught my attention and till date, in spite of the other reasons given, I believe, it had a whole lot to do with the current state of their relationship, or non-relationship.
I remember chatting with a friend concerning Tiwa’s marital crash and she had picked up on the money matter as well. He words had been, “So what is the big deal there? It is rare to find a married woman who hasn’t given her husband money before; besides, it’s their money, not just hers.”
Admittedly, it is not always an easy task dealing with men, who are naturally egotistical beings, when it is obvious you earn more than they do. But it is not impossible to get past this stage in one’s relationship.
It is possible to have a really good relationship while you earn more than your partner and there need not be any buried resentment in there.
Here are some ways to make it work.
- Communicate your feelings
As it is often the case in any relationship between two people, you have to talk about the new changes in your economic capabilities. This is not about any surface or peripheral talks but deep conversations about how you feel with the new changes, how your partners feels, especially if he is a man.
You have to talk about your financial plans, and if need be, make some necessary changes, make new plans and such but essentially, you have to be willing to discuss options that will be of mutual benefits to the two of you.
- Continue to make decisions together and contribute to the family purse
For most women, family purse means their husband’s money and it doesn’t matter if they earn income, it is always sweeter, to spend your husband’s money. Do I have a witness?
So, in a case where you earn more than your husband, it is important to not rub it in his face by making sole decisions, where you once had sought his opinion. Men can be quite sensitive to that. The importance of not making sole decisions cannot be overemphasized, just because you have the funds to execute it.
For the sake of your marriage, make contributions to the family purse instead and continue as before. Don’t try to take on his responsibilities; help, not take over.
- Try not to have “It’s MY money” mentality
There is a saying I hear all the time, from a group I belong to. It goes thus; “His money is our money, my money is my money.”
That saying, as simple as it is, as short as it is, is the mind-set of most women, including mine, at least until recently, and sometimes it still raises its head when I feel I have some personal projects that I want to devote my resources to, rather than the team (family) goal.
I have even gone as far as telling my husband once, that it’s my money and I could do whatever I wanted with it. Please, I’m begging you; don’t ever say that to your man. It is one of the worst things you can say to a man. It’s one way to emasculate and deny a man his rightful place. Don’t ever try it.
In reality and in all honesty, it doesn’t matter who makes the money, as long as there is money in the house. Your money is his money, his money is your money, the money is OUR money. Shikena. Every other thing is just noise making.
- Don’t make him feel less, because he earns less
While we are still on the subject of our money, remember, if you are rich, your partner is also rich, so if you decide to segregate and say, it is my money and not his, you are merely shooting yourself in the foot.
If your partner feels less of himself, you are at the receiving end; he will treat you less than you deserve too, because he already feels less of himself.
Regardless of who earns more, paying off debts, increasing your net worth and saving for retirement should be done as a team.
You should also remember that fortunes can change overnight and you can find yourself in the position of one, who earns less than your partner.
And I know from experience, that even if that seems the natural order of things, it doesn’t still feel good.
- Don’t dim your own light
My sisters, while it is extremely important to have a healthy relationship with your spouse, whilst you are earning more, it is essential to stay true to yourself and never try to undermine your success.
You shouldn’t feel the need to hide how much you earn, like some women are known to do. You shouldn’t feel a need to hide receipts and payment slips or hide your ATM cards in faraway places or delete transaction alerts from your phone, so your hubby doesn’t stumble on them and begin World War III over your income or expenses.
At this stage, you partner should cheer you on, and enjoy the overflow, not try to make you feel guilty for earning more than he does. Stay true to your goals. Listen to your own voice.
- Expenses should be shared proportionate to income
The truth is, most African marriages are an unequal partnership. The man is expected to play the traditional breadwinner role, but in a case where that is not possible, then it is important that each contribute to the family purse according their income and that can be used to run the house. It might be a case of someone bearing the brunt of the major expenses, while someone carries the everyday expenses or whatever sharing ratio works for both partners.
- Don’t rub your success in his face
I know I have said before that you should never make your partner feel less for earning lesser than you. In this case, an excellent example is the relationship between Oprah and her long time lover, Graham Steadman, a successful author in his own right. However, his money is “change” where Oprah’s is concerned but it surely doesn’t look like the billionaire tells him that all the time.
Rather, she lets him be the man, as he should be, and must have recognised that, Steadman is a special person to be romantically linked with her all this years and not be intimidated by the amount of cash attached to her name. It truly takes someone special not to feel threatened by the amount of money that Oprah commands. Or you don’t think so?
If Oprah seems far away, what about our own billionaire, Folorunsho Alakija? She has been married to the same man, Modupe, for over 30 years and together they run their business, without noise. Modupe and Graham are special men, even more so are the women in their lives,
Those are the seven ways, you can make it work, when you earn more than your spouse does and you can continue to live in “blissland.”
Stay in love!
Kristine is a member of The Lovelint team. She is a down to earth person, who says it as it is. Having given relationship advice for years in a national daily, she has found out that fear is one of the main reasons holding people back from enjoying a healthy, happy relationship. She is married with kids and is willing to listen to you and help as much as you let her to.