by Nancy Van Pelt
A Woman Needs Financial Security
Jokes abound about women marrying men for their money. But a shred of truth lies within them. A woman needs her husband to earn enough money to support her. Women have a right to expect financial support from their husbands, since God ordained that the husband provide for the family.
Many women today work outside the home. They claim they want and need a career in order to be happy. But I also hear from many who resent working, especially when forced to do so in order to pay basic living expenses.
Many married women are in the workforce so they can “keep up with the Joneses.” The majority of these two-job couples have set a standard of living beyond their needs to be happy. If their standard of living could be reduced to include a smaller but comfortable home – the husband would be able to be home with his family more, and the wife would not have to work outside the home during critical child-rearing years.
Women should be free to choose a career if they want one. But they should be able to depend on their husband’s salary to cover basic living expenses to support the family. Families need to learn to live on the husband’s salary rather than depending on two salaries to make basic monthly payments. Most families are only a month or two away from financial disaster. If a major crisis hit either wage earner, the family would lose everything.
A couple can live on one salary – maybe not according to the standard to which they might aspire, but it can and should be done. I highly recommend Larry Burkett’s book Debt-Free Living which certainly changed Harry’s and my life. Under Burkett’s tutelage we paid off our house in many years’ less time, saved a lot of money in interest, and actually owned our own home debt-free. We each hold only one credit card, which is paid off monthly. Although we eventually bought a new home, we made extra payments on the principal and paid it off as rapidly as possible.
Men must recognize that a woman’s need for financial security goes deep into her soul and is vitally connected to the respect she holds for her husband. A man does not have this need. He finds contentment in providing adequately for the financial needs of his family.
Some men actually resent it or feel threatened when their wives work, especially if their wives earn more than they do. A man usually wants to see himself as the primary wage earner. Regardless of her wage-earning ability, a woman usually wants her husband to earn enough money to support and care for her, and feels it is not her place to support him.
Think through what you really need rather than what you want. The things we want but don’t really need can become our own worst enemy. Men sometimes work themselves into an early grave trying to provide a standard of living that not only doesn’t contribute to marital happiness, but actually brings on marital stress and disharmony.
Some men naively think that by working hard to earn more money and provide living on a grander scale, they are proving their love to their wives. But once a woman feels neglected, sensing that her husband puts wealth, status, and his job before her, feelings of resentment build.
When a man’s income isn’t sufficient to support his family, even after careful evaluation and cutting back unnecessary expenses, he should improve his job skills. Every couple needs to come to grips with what they can afford. A budget helps determine where your money is going and where you can cut back.
Adapted from Highly Effective Marriage, Chapter 13