Income Is A Joint Effort

Finances is one of the trickiest topics, especially for married couples. It’s one of the most common points of tension and arguments, and can cause everything from jealousy, to entitlement, to general stress. But it can also be the cause of a lot of pressure, as one or both partners increasingly feel the need to ‘provide’ for their household. Here are just a few situations where income causes tension between partners: 

  • Both partners feel the need to provide financial income, and so are both working full-time (and overtime) and never have time to spend together.

  • One partner feels guilty for *not* working, even though they don’t need the income. He or she feels like she’s just not contributing to the household! Plus, if they’re not earning income, then all the money belongs to their partner, and they feel embarrassed having to ask for money to go out or shop.

  • One partner has more income than the other, and tends to feel a sense of smugness about it. They deserve to make the decisions if they’re earning the money, right?

The problem is, each of these situations treats your partner like an opposing party, instead of a team member. You are a TEAM, and household income does not define the more valuable player! Look at your life together and household expenses. Whatever you need to sustain your livelihood is the income you need, combined. But recognize that you’re working together to get there. It doesn’t matter who’s making more, or who’s bringing in what income. It might be one of you, it might be both of you — it’s all going to the same team. And one of you might contribute in other ways, through maintaining your household or caring for your children. Or maybe just providing emotional support to each other! 

The point is, when you’re working together, one partner should never feel shamed for the amount of money they do or do not make. We get enough of that from our work-obsessed culture. You’re working together towards a goal, and income is only one part of that. You’re a team, and your paycheck does not determine your value on that team.

Have you fallen prey to some of these mistaken financial conceptions? How do you work as a team towards YOUR goals with your partner?