Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

Female Breadwinners - A Changing Tide in American Relationships

April 12, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 212

Do you remember the television icon June Cleaver? She was America's vision of the quintessential wife. As a dependable background character on endless television episodes of Leave It to Beaver, weekly images of June Cleaver graced television sets across America. Donning a flowery apron, she became the archetype of "wife" and "mother" which would serve to shape the expectations of a generation. If we skip forward to the state of womanhood today, our observations will be vastly different from the days of June Cleaver. Over the past two centuries, American women have slowly but steadily gained an impressive foothold in institutions of higher education and in the American labor force. Women now comprise 54% of all college graduates and roughly 50% of American payroll distributions. No longer are our young women encouraged to obtain security by snagging a successful husband as her provider while settling into the lackluster life of a homemaker. On the contrary, adolescent girls and young women of today are groomed to be strong and independent, consistently advised against the evils of "depending on a man." The most common trend for young American women entering adulthood is to set their sights high in education, career training, and workplace competency. So what happens when such a young woman finds the man of her dreams, enters into matrimony, and she makes more?

Relationships with the female as the higher-earner is a controversial conundrum plaguing rising numbers of modern American couples. Throughout the history of this country, women have overcome impressive odds in education and workplace discrimination. Women are now gaining more momentum than ever with regards to intellectual prowess and career competency. American women are realizing success in virtually every occupational arena. There are very few career fields in the American labor force that the female population has ignored. The female presence is recognized from Wall Street to the operating room, the courtroom bench, and the International Space Station! These extraordinary gains by women have culminated in greater incomes for females than ever before in American history.

As a result of this new independence of the American woman, more marriages and relationships are experiencing a new income hierarchy: Women Breadwinners. How do couples handle a relationship dynamic that seems opposite from the marital roles and expectations that have been ingrained in us since childhood? To describe this topic as intriguing is an understatement! It is time to begin investigating the newest trend defining American relationships and marriages.

We must first ask ourselves how these marriages or relationships differ from a traditional arrangement with the male as the "provider" of the greater income. The answer is varied and complex depending on the individuals involved. But there are some common challenges and resolutions that resonate across the board. For instance, each partner's expectations of "gender roles" in the marriage must be more flexible than a traditional couple. For many of us, gender-related expectations of marital roles were formed and solidified during our formative years. Some of these expectations can be preserved in these marriages; others will have to be modified; and still others must be shed altogether. For starters, partners in a relationship with the female as the higher-earner must modify their interpretations of the term "provider." Historically, this term was used to define a man's role or position in the marriage, conceptually placing him in a box. He was the "provider" of the income, the financial security, and subsequently the leadership for the household. In my opinion, this term is outdated in a modern society. Due to the evolution of the American economy over the past several decades, the two-income household is now defined as the national standard. In most U.S. households, both male and female partners contribute to the financial solvency of the household, and have been doing so for some time. Therefore, the term "co-provider" is a more accurate descriptor, even when the male boasts the higher income.

So when the income hierarchy shifts in favor of the woman, how do these men define themselves? This becomes a difficult question and can be a struggle for any man to answer. In my opinion, these men must shed the obsolete title of "provider" placed upon them by an antiquated society. A man's worth in a marriage or relationship supersedes dollars and cents. Men must rediscover the splendor of what it means to be a man. They must recognize the myriad of ways that they enhance their mate's existence. In a nutshell, they must redefine themselves and re-invent themselves!

How can female breadwinners encourage their mates to view their circumstance as something other than a detriment? It starts by encouraging them to change their perception of their circumstances. Does your husband or boyfriend see their glass as half-empty or half-full? The husbands of female breadwinners have a unique opportunity to carve out a brand new identity for themselves. They are able to step outside the box and create an existence beyond the label of "provider" in a traditional sense. If approached correctly, his new identity has the potential to catapult him towards greater happiness and fulfillment in life. How many of us get locked into a place of employment in order to keep the bills paid, without experiencing true fulfillment in that career? That lackluster existence probably describes most people reading this article. The mates of female breadwinners have more flexibility than most men with regards to choices for making a living. A variety of circumstances could have relieved these husbands of the shackles of being the breadwinner. And as a result, these men are able to slow down long enough to dream. If men can see their circumstance of having a higher-earning wife as empowering, they can maximize the benefits and improve their own station in life. Men who are in relationships with female breadwinner may have greater financial flexibility compared to men who are the main providers in their household - because they may have less of a load to carry with regards to finances.

If a man likes to cook, he may have the financial flexibility to cut back on work hours and seek cooking instruction to further that craft, and by making a choice to embrace this passion, he re-invents himself. This can lead to greater fulfillment and overall happiness in his life and marriage, not to mention unique employment opportunities in the future. If a husband has an entrepreneurial spirit, he may have enough financial support from his wife to consider starting a small business in a field that he is passionate about. In addition to living out a dream, starting a small business may be able to improve the financial status of the household in the future. If a husband wants to pursue higher education, he has a mate with whom he can share the financial burdens of life while he furthers his learning. With his wife's support, he can obtain a higher-level degree which will open up opportunities for greater wealth and fulfillment. Without the financial burdens of being the "provider," these men have more opportunities than their counterparts in a traditional relationship. These men can enjoy the unique circumstance of having a mate who can provide both emotional and financial support needed to reach their dreams.

Our opinions about our own state of existence in life are guided by perception. As female breadwinners, we can help our mates view their circumstance as something gained, not something lost. Whether they recognize it or not, they have gained greater opportunity and promise in their own lives. If we encourage them to have the bravery to maximize their circumstances, they can make it work for themselves and for the marriage.

Copyright 2012-Dawn DeLavallade. Reprinted with Permission. Dawn DeLavallade is a physician and freelance writer who has 10 years experience as the Female Breadwinner in her marriage. Her passion is to start a national conversation about how female breadwinners think and feel. Her mission is to initiate honest and productive communication between the sexes to ensure that relationships with female breadwinners survive and thrive. Contact: Website:

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Women Breadwinner


Female Breadwinner


Woman Breadwinner


Women Working


American Women



When speaking of celebrity weddings, they dresses are mostly tailored and designed form reputed international designers. Say for example, Dutch Victoria’s Secret model Doutzen Kroes. When speaking

By: Simon Liva l Relationships > Wedding l December 12, 2012 lViews: 215

Funny groom speeches play an important role in making the wedding atmosphere nice and relaxed. Wedding is all about celebration and enjoyment and the best way of adding to the celebration is to make

By: Bartley de Wilson l Relationships > Wedding l November 29, 2012 lViews: 218

The wedding cards of every religion have something peculiar and convey a lot about the religion. There are various online stores that are solely designing Muslim wedding cards and there is an option

By: Indian Wedding Card l Relationships > Wedding l November 29, 2012 lViews: 388

Practice makes pretty! Make sure the dance floor is right for the song and practice plenty of time before hand.Practice makes pretty! Make sure the dance floor is right for the song and practice

By: Simon Liva l Relationships > Wedding l November 21, 2012 lViews: 281

Wedding invitations are very important as they are the first impression and unique wedding invitations are generally kept by the guests. The wedding is an auspicious occasion and all the rituals are

By: Indian Wedding Card l Relationships > Wedding l November 16, 2012 lViews: 445

A closer look into the popular series of books called Fifty Shades of Grey that has spurred women all over America to get in touch with the sensual side in life. It's about letting your daily

By: martha l Relationships > Sexuality l October 25, 2012 lViews: 307

Marriage is a beautiful thing and why?. It is because God instituted it. Whatever God gives us is always good for us. The problem in many marriages is the lack of love, commitment, fidelity, and

By: Christinal Relationships > Marriagel August 11, 2012 lViews: 315

The Girl Gets Ring system is part of the Million Marriage Mission by two relationship experts whose goal is to help women understand men better and get them to commit in a non-pushy way. It provides

By: Tim Waynel Relationships > Marriagel June 29, 2012 lViews: 258

Ever wonder what the Bible says about sex? It is filled with plenty of practical information about our daily lives including advice on love, money, wisdom, relationships, and work but what about sex?

By: Christine M Hammondl Relationships > Marriagel June 28, 2012 lViews: 221

Attending an Indian wedding that is grand and full of rituals can be quite an overwhelming experience. Read this article to gain a basic insight into the great Indian wedding.

By: Sanjeev Pahwal Relationships > Marriagel June 26, 2012 lViews: 234

Wives often find themselves in a quandary. Many express difficulty in reconciling the need to fulfill their husband's responsibilities and being submitted to their own husbands. Can a wife do both at

By: Kim V. Moorel Relationships > Marriagel June 26, 2012 lViews: 249

Every bride and groom wants their wedding to be a huge success. But there is so much to plan it can seem impossible to create the exact wedding you want. However there are ways to ensure your wedding

By: Tatiana Poremboval Relationships > Marriagel June 25, 2012 lViews: 180

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus