I grew up with a stay-at-home mother that took wonderful care of us and provided what we needed. She cooked, cleaned, cared, and loved all 4 her kids as well as anyone could on the single income Dad brought in. Anymore it is tough to get along well with just one income; love can help us through, but these days both parents going to work is an upward trend for good reason…
In The Beginning…
Albert Schweitzer once said:
“Thought cannot avoid the ethical or reverence and love for all life. It will abandon the old confined systems of ethics and be forced to recognize the ethics that knows no bounds. But on the other hand, those who believe in love for all creation must realize clearly the difficulties involved in the problem of a boundless ethic and must be resolved not to veil from [humankind] the conflicts which this ethic will involve [us], but allow [us] really to experience them. To think out in every implication the ethic of love for all creation — this is the difficult task which confronts our age.”
Ambrose Bierce once defined love as: “a temporary insanity, curable by marriage.” and it makes sense when you begin to break down what % of marriages end in these days, divorce.
It’s a sad but true reality that probably wasn’t what marriage was institutionalized for, The institution of marriage pre-dates reliable recorded history, many cultures have legends or religious beliefs concerning the origins of marriage, but I’m sure none of them ended with the word “divorce”.
The Repercussions of Not Working
My Mom got out of the work force with my oldest brothers birth in 1977 and stayed there until 1993 when the big “D” reared its ugly head. For nearly 20 years my mom missed out on the on the job training efforts, introductions of computers in the workplace, the internet, the list goes on. But the point being that she had all her eggs in one basket and we all know what happens when that basket is taken away.
When my old man left, my mom then had to provide for 4 kids under 16 somehow back in the workforce. She’d missed out on 20+ years of a lot of things. Being 40 years old and entering the workforce was a task. She had her teaching degree, but had to get it back up to par after all that time. She had exactly $0.00 in any investments, any retirement, any finance at all.
She was starting 100% fresh in the realm while having no experience to speak of in any trade. She took odd jobs that clearly didn’t provide a 401k or retirement package of any kind just to make enough money to pay our monthly bills and keep food on the table. Having us to take care of didn’t leave much room for her and coincidentally has just recently been able to start putting money towards retirement; that may not happen until she’s 75 now.
At the same time my Dad filed bankruptcy and Mom had to either buy him out of the mortgage or refinance. They had only 7k to pay back at the time, but with the increase in mortgage payments, defaults, and refi after bankruptcy, Mom today stands at nearly 50k remaining to pay on the house. She was able to keep it, and can now afford payments, but not after a boatload of financial nightmares.
Why The Change In Tradition?
Images of the traditional family still dominate our televisions and magazines, but they do not represent how most Americans live. In 2002, only 7 percent of all U.S. households consisted of married couples with children in which only the husband worked. Dual-income families with children made up more than two times as many households. Even families with two incomes and no children outnumbered the traditional family by almost two to one.
The large percentage of households in the “other” category shown in the accompanying graph reflects the relatively large number of female-headed households and households headed by young adults or older Americans, who are less likely to reside with spouses.
Among married-couple households, about 13 percent consisted of families with children in which only the husband worked, 31 percent were dual-income families with children, 25 percent were dual-income families with no children, and 31 percent consisted of other types of families, such as older married couples whose children no longer reside in the household says a PRB article dated 2003; and that number has likely shrunk again by 2008.
BiggSuccess.com says that “the longer a woman works outside the home, the greater the percentage of household responsibilities assumed by the man of the house, and couples are redefining what it means to be the man or the woman, the father or the mother, in a relationship. This summary shows that the divorce rate is lower when couples divide up the duties more equally. In fact, it’s even lower than with the traditional relationship where one person is the breadwinner and the other person runs the house.”
– Here The Bigg Success Show discuss the issue in more detail.
Should YOU Be Worried?
Well, I don’t know. I’m not a marriage counselor. I can however speak from what I’ve experienced when I say that although love starts out with forever in mind, it may not really last that long. It really gives a lot of the financial earning power to one person in the family and if that trust is broken, you can be in for a surprise when the rug is pulled out from under you.
Does this same thing happen to everyone? No, but looking at the increase in dual income families and roles of the modern family, I would say that it is at least something to think about if you’re in a similar living situation and things are as you thought they’d be.
I know it doesn’t relate exactly to the topic at hand, but at a personal level Amschel Rothschild has a good point that can be applied to this scenario when he says “Give me control of a Nation’s money supply, and I care not who makes the laws.” It’s the similar thing in a marriage, if your spouses name is stamped on everything, it’s tough to get your hands on anything when the walls fall down and you don’t have any money to build them back up.