I hope you’re well. I’ve listened to many of your videos searching for answers, but I am stuck for what to do in my current situation.
I’m 31, and my partner is 33. We’ve been together for three years and have deeply struggled with the gender roles and cultural conditioning that has been imposed on us.
We love each other very much and want to begin a family. We also want to return to traditional roles and cleanse ourselves of this cultural brainwashing, which has caused nothing but problems in our dynamic. I would like to work less (or not at all), and he would like to be the sole breadwinner.
However, currently my partner doesn’t earn enough to support us both. And it doesn’t feel like he will be able to anytime soon.
What is your advice to young people who want to return to traditional husband and wife roles but who live in a society where it’s extremely tough for men to earn enough to support their families?
Many of my male and female friends would like to return to this dynamic but don’t see how it’s financially possible. Often even two incomes barely covers things, and not everyone (including myself and my partner) has the option of financial help from family.
Many thanks for your time. Your videos give me strength that I’m on the right path. 🙂
I hear you! And I know there are countless couples in this same boat. SO much to say in response…
First of all, there’s no question it’s harder today to employ traditional gender roles in marriage, as we’ve created an economy that depends upon men and women being employed (which is the result of a concerted political effort— but we’ll leave that for another day).
Unfortunately, I can’t answer your question on a more personal level since there are too many variables to which I’m not privy. For instance, it doesn’t sound like you’re married—so that’s the first order of business. I would not advise any woman to have children with, or share finances with, a man to whom she is not married. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Second, I don’t know where you live. Money goes a lot further in rural areas than it does in big cities. So that’s a huge factor as to whether or not you’ll be able to live on one income for awhile. It may require moving.
Third, do you have family nearby? If so, you will possibly have help you don’t have to pay for. If not, you’ll have to pay someone every time you need a sitter.
Fourth, what type of work does your man do? And in what stage of this career is he? Presumably, his salary will increase. If he’s in a dead-end job, that’s another matter.
Fifth, many couples just don’t realize how much of a second income is eaten up by costs that are associated with being employed. More money doesn’t always mean more cash in the bank. The largest expense is child care. It’s almost always cheaper for parents to raise their babies and toddlers themselves than it is to pay others to do it, as this excellent article helps explain. (Here’s another great article with tips on how to manage a one-income family.)
Since you’re not married, this won’t apply to you yet, but creating a sticking to a budget is a huge factor in how much couples tend to spend. Countless married couples who employ traditional gender roles do not have large salaries.
At the end of the day, it’s almost always about how you choose to live. What kind of lifestyle do you want? Is not being stressed out and rushed all the time, and eating home-cooked meals, and being the primary person in your child’s life worth living on less?
There are too many unknown variables for me to be able to speak to your particular situation. But hopefully you can glean some wisdom from both my response and the articles I’ve linked here.
I know it seems counterintuitive to even entertain the idea of living on one income when all you’ve been told since the day you were born is that it’s impossible to do so.
But for people who are willing and who are convinced of the benefits for everyone, it is possible to do so. And I’ll say it again: It’s only temporary. Or it can be, anyway.
So many couples today live on autopilot. They’ve heard something their entire lives, that no matter how erroneous, keeps them from imagining another kind of life altogether.
But it’s there for anyone who chooses to live it.