While scrolling through Instagram recently, I ran across a meme that started a very interesting conversation about role responsibilities in a relationship in terms of money:
As this IG user shared, in her past marriage, she paid a good chunk of the bills alongside her husband, which her mother was not happy to hear. Per the traditional way of doing things, her mother didn’t worry about paying the bills, that was her husband’s responsibility while she took care of home. So to hear that her daughter was paying her way in a sense in a marriage was a no-no. As the woman’s mother put it, he sounded more like a “roommate” than a husband. And in hindsight, this author realized that being expected to pull her weight and help provide financially in her home was something she would bring up resentfully during disagreements with her ex-husband. So, for the future, she said she’s done going half on expenses with men.
I can relate to this because I split expenses with my husband. Then again, we live in New York, in a two-bedroom space, and nowadays, it can take a whole paycheck (or two), just to cover the skyrocketing rent prices in this city. But originally, I was a little salty about the agreement. The truth is, due to our very high rent, I pay more money per month on half of the rent as well as the cable than I did while living alone. I initially felt as though I’d been bamboozled. I’m all for independence, but I guess, in the back of my mind, I was hoping he would take the brunt of the responsibility and let me coast by.
It took a conversation with my mother to really change my outlook on things. While she’s similar to the IG user’s mother in the fact that she didn’t pay the bills (aside from buying food) in her marriage, she’s different because she didn’t see a problem with me contributing to the financial well-being of my marriage.
“You have to realize, now that you’re married, you shouldn’t be thinking, ‘That’s my money,’ and ‘That’s your money'” she said. “You all are a team, so you should be sharing what you have for the betterment of your relationship.”
Because let’s be honest. Many of us don’t want to pay half because we want our significant other to fit an ideal, old-school stereotype of not just a “husband” but a man — while also being able to hold onto the coin we earn. Sometimes, it just can’t work like that. And in the end, you don’t get married for the sake of being taken care of. Or at least I hope not.
I have to take responsibility for the fact that I was the one pushing for a two-bedroom apartment, which is much pricier around here. Plus, my husband often says that, God willing, as we grow in our respective careers and make more money, it’s his hope to take over the majority of bills. Either way, I had to open my eyes to the reality that we are a team. We work together. We help each other. We love each other. And as a team, we shouldn’t want to put more on one another than we can handle. If I have the money to give, why not? If he wants to pick up the bills down the line because he can, I’m probably not going to fight him on that. But for now, I don’t see anything wrong with investing my money in my marriage and family. To each their own, though…
But as always, that’s just my opinion. What say you? Is it petty for your husband to want to split the rent or mortgage 50/50? Or is it petty to expect him to be the one to pay the entire thing? Where do you stand on bills?
Images via Shutterstock