EDITOR’S NOTE: Each He Said-She Said column features a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you’ve got a question about anything related to singleness, please CLICK HERE to submit (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
QUESTION: Will it cause a problem if a woman's income is more than a man's?
HE SAID: Will it cause a problem? It may or it may not.
Should it cause a problem? No.
For several reasons a woman’s income may supplant the man’s at one point in (or throughout) a relationship. This is a reality we face.
- The man may be finishing up school while the woman is in the workforce.
- The man may be in between jobs, working temporary, or in search of a new job.
- The woman may have a higher starting salary or been promoted faster.
- The woman may have more opportunity or financial potential in her field.
I know couples in each of these situations, and they are all making it work by adopting and living out a few simple principles.
Have confidence in who YOU are.
Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom (Proverbs 11:2).
People are often associated by what they do rather than who they are. Self esteem and confidence is based upon one’s salary and possessions rather than character or moral fiber. Don’t allow yourself to be judged by the world’s standards. Believe that you are a creation of God, whom He gave His only Son for. Live as you are living for the Lord.
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body (1 Corinthians 12:12).
As we play a vital and important role in the Body of Christ, we also function and contribute in different and purposeful ways to a relationship. Have confidence in who you are and who God designed you to be in whatever role you serve.
Your mate is more important than what each of you do or the paycheck each of you earn.
Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband (Ephesians 5:33).
You will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21).
Hopefully your partner’s worth (to you) isn’t based upon their paycheck or work they do. Mutual trust, respect, and a love for the Lord (and each other) are crucial to a strong foundation. A paycheck, job, or title may change numerous times during the course of a relationship; however, those variables should not alter your feelings for and commitment to your mate (when concomitant to the Lord).
A triple-braided cord is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
Establish and maintain common goals for your relationship.
If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand (Mark 3:25).
Spend time in prayer in order to establish goals and a direction that is unique to your own relationship. Understand the path that God has for you, don’t copy or compare your situation with other couples. Your course may be different from your friends and may mean for the woman to be the main breadwinner of your home.
Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor (Ecclesiastes 4:9).
Communicate always and often.
Purposefully schedule time each day for prayer and meaningful discussion with your mate; don’t allow days to go by without sharing your feelings, heartaches and concerns with one another.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29).
Every person and relationship is different and unique, created by God in this way. Following these principles may help you to understand what is best for your specific relationship and for yourself.
For any guy who may have a problem with your girlfriend or wife making more money than you, it is not her problem. It’s yours.
Read Proverbs 31:10-31 for a biblical perspective of a wife.
For the ladies who feel uncomfortable making more than your boyfriend or husband, it is not your problem. It’s his. A relationship should encourage and raise you up, not discourage or bring you down.
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude (1 Corinthians 13:4).
SHE SAID: A woman’s income being more than a man’s should only cause a problem if she cannot allocate a portion toward a monthly shoe allowance. This is a highly imperative necessity for any member of the female species. Beyond that small issue, what’s the problem?
I’m only kidding. Seriously, this is an important issue that needs to be pondered—especially if a couple is in a committed dating relationship with intentions to marry.
Money in and of itself is not right or wrong. On the surface, it’s just a tool to help us survive on Planet Earth. But the more we study the Scriptures, I think we start realizing just how much money can affect us and our relationships.
The Bible talks about money more than almost any other subject matter. Think about that. Now why would God do this? Because he knows that money can very easily accomplish either good or evil. Bring together or split apart. It’s a fine line, and money is that powerful in the life of a human being.
Consider these verses and the corresponding questions …
Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 5:10,NIV).
- At a point in time when you made less money than you do now, how did you feel?
- And then when you got a pay raise, what were you thinking?
- Would you voluntarily give up the increase now and go back to a lower level of compensation?
No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money (Matthew 6:24, NIV).
- Are your life decisions based on money or on what God wants you to do (regardless of the cost)?
- Are you proactive in giving your money away or do you wait until you are asked or prodded to do so?
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:10, NIV).
- If you are in a higher tax bracket now since beginning your career, can you say that you are closer to the Lord in your spiritual walk?
- Or do most of your thoughts revolve around money matters (bills, investments, acquiring material possessions, etc.)?
I think the answer to your question lies in your view of money. To whom does it belong? Is everything God’s or are you clinging very tightly to your financial holdings and to the false “power” that money provides you?
In theory, I think that if a man and a woman agree that their money is essentially not theirs and they are just the temporary managers, then there shouldn’t be a problem of who makes how much in the relationship.
I do know that there are some couples who have made a woman’s higher income versus a man’s lesser income work for them. But let me say that this does not seem to be the norm, and in my circle of friends and acquaintances I have found it to be most unusual.
A man was created to be the head of his family and to provide for them (Ephesians 5:22-24, NIV). It’s in his very nature to be the leader. So when an imbalance of income enters the picture, he might get hung up on the fact that his wife has a larger paycheck. Will it cause him to withdraw from her? Will he resent her and not love her sacrificially? Will he become complacent and not step up to lead his family?
On the female side of the equation, if a woman makes more money than a man will she not submit as easily to her husband? Will her respect for him begin to dwindle because she controls the purse strings? Will she compete with him to be the head and not rest in the role that God has designed for her?
I’ll say it again: Money is powerful. And more often than not, I believe that it can cause a problem if a woman's income is more than a man's. So tread carefully and be sure to have plenty of discussions and prayer together about this issue. Once you are married, if money should begin to pull you apart then you need to be prepared to make some drastic changes.
And in many cases, it comes down to this: Your money or your relationship. Which one is more valuable to you and for which are you willing to make a greater sacrifice?
HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.
SHE is … Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com’s Senior Entertainment Editor. Should she ever be stranded on a desert island, she would like to have the following five necessities at her disposal: a Bible, a toothbrush, a razor, a coffeemaker and a drinking straw (to avoid java stains on the pearlies, of course).
DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We’re just average folk who understand what it’s like to live the solo life in the 21st century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life’s questions, and it’s where we’ll go for guidance when responding to your questions.
GOT A QUESTION? If you’ve got a question about anything related to living the single life, PLEASE SUBMIT HERE (selected questions will be posted anonymously). While we are unable to answer every inquiry, we do hope that He Said-She Said will be an encouragement to you.
**This column first published on August 7, 2008.