Background. When wife enters the marital agreement for a two-income household, husband escapes her being 100% dependent on him. He envisions a lifestyle of two people living separate lives under the same roof but sharing each other, resources, and privileges with maneuvering room for him to arrange the relationship to his liking; any king would do the same, whether his castle or her nest. (I purposely exaggerate the magnitude to paint the picture).
The magnet of a castle owned exclusively by him disappears from his mind. ‘Ownership’ of the marriage becomes joint with intentions for him to be top dog, whenever two bosses disagree. The two-income lifestyle also assuage his fears of “Maybe I can’t do it” with one.
His escape ‘victory’ away from 100% activates his competitive urges to continue in the same direction. If she relinquished on 100%, how much further should he take her? Greater capability or more independence for her means less dependence on him. He doesn’t have to work for it; she comes by it on her own. But if he ever thinks of ditching her, his mind has been changed. Thus, two-incomes endlessly stir their marriage with his competitive spirit that applies pressure to move away from her dependence on him.
He sees to it that future events and marital decisions favor his independence over her dependence. For example, as if he never gets one, her pay raises outshine whatever sense he has of being her provider-protector. If he gains some control of her money, he can overlook his discomfort. If not, he can resent her capability to earn more on her own, which he can use against her if ever it becomes necessary. (He responds to resentment by promising himself a future advantage; it’s that primal competitive urge sprouting forth.) Thus, he gains competitive advantages in his mind while making her less dependent in his heart. With each advantage gained over her, his respect also declines.
Were he to marry based on a one-income household, his sense of responsibility would move their marriage toward more mutual dependence, not less. See the difference? Her complete dependence pushes him to improve that condition; it’s his responsibility to do so. Less than complete dependence, however, pushes him to improve his position relative to her and his competitive spirit never ends.
Moreover, in another way her natural cooperative spirit works against her. He competes and she cooperates, and he gains advantage easily.
Wife applies other pressures that work against her. In most of her homelife efforts, she seeks to bring them closer together. He senses pressure to be more responsible, which nudges him away from it.
With each step of progress for him, her dependence on him becomes less and less in his eyes. For example, unless he develops a stronger sense of responsibility for their children than for her, he likely remains forever opposed to her home schooling.
The ‘two-income’ husband expects to deliver less than he’s capable of providing. Wife also expects less than he’s capable, and the self-fulfilling prophecy fulfills once again. We all live up to the expectations of others and ourselves. When we deliver less than we are capable, we naturally produce less and less. It makes us look elsewhere to meet our capability, and men do it more easily than women. Unfortunately, both husbands and wives are in the same SFP boat. When the boat fills, husbands swim away while wives sink with prophecies fulfilled.
Foreground. So, what’s the modern ‘two-income’ wife to do? The answer comes tomorrow as post 1706.