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Are You The Financial Supporter Of Your Husband's Dreams? This Is For You.

"Having respect for someone can sometimes be greater than loving them."—Monica

Finance

If there's one book that I think every married couple on the planet should have, it's Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. From a biblical standpoint, it supports the Scripture, "Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." (Ephesians 5:33—NKJV) Did you peep how the Bible says that men should love their wives and women should respect their husbands? That's the entire premise of the book in a nutshell—wives feel honored by being loved by their husbands while husbands feel honored by being respected by their wives. Much like love languages, the problem with a lot of relationships is women are giving men what they want to receive and vice versa. But I promise you ladies, ask any man if he would prefer love vs. respect, an overwhelming majority would go with what's behind Door #2. In fact, if I were to list the top five complaints that my clients have ever had concerning their relationship, one of them would definitely be that wives don't feel loved enough and husbands don't feel respected (esteemed) enough.

And what does that have to do with the title of today's message? I'm sure many of you remember Sanaa Lathan's character Andrea in the movie The Family That Preys. While that chick was off the chain on so many levels, the one issue that most applies here is she was making most of the money and totally disrespecting her husband because of it. Meanwhile, Chris (played by Rockmond Dunbar) wasn't a bum or anything. He was actually a contractor for the same company where his wife was an accountant. Plus, he had dreams. Big dreams. Ones that eventually ended up paying off…BIG TIME. In the meantime, though, Andrea was makin' bank, he wasn't and it was taking all kinds of tolls on their relationship (yes, I know her affair didn't help but let's stay on topic, shall we?).

Hmph. I can name five couples off the top of my head that I personally know who are in this same boat in real life. And since it's that many, I know there must be at least a few readers who can relate to this situation too. It can be frustrating. It can be draining. Sometimes, it can make divorce seem like a much more appealing option (check out "What Some People Regret About Their Divorce").

But before you make a drastic life change, I hope that the following five questions can help you to figure out if there is possibly another route to take; especially if one of your dreams was to remain married to your husband for the rest of your life.

Did You Know What You Were Getting Yourself into from the Jump?

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There is someone I know who's basically been the sole breadwinner of her marriage since she said, "I do". When you grow up in the entertainment industry (which I did), it's pretty common to know of husbands who are "in the arts" and not pulling a paycheck (or at least a steady one) while the wives are the ones who are holding the bills down. How does someone find themselves in such a predicament? Good question. I'm not exactly sure what it is, but there is something very…alluring about artists. I don't know if it's their talent, the spotlight they stand in as they perform or what, but it has a way of seducing you to the point of sometimes losing all common sense. Anyway, years and years later, this woman's husband continues to not have stable employment while she works a couple of gigs to make ends meet. Also, for years and years, he's made the promise that once he "hits it big", she can quit. At this rate, it looks like she will retire well before that happens.

You know, another woman I know once told me something that is oh so very wise. She said, "Be careful about telling God rather than asking God who your husband is. You could end up regretting it." (Check out "What Should You Do If You Feel Like You Married The Wrong Person?") The wife I just spoke of? I remember her falling for her now-husband. She was so enamored with him that, while she was well aware of the fact that he was almost obsessed with being an artist while his work ethic was shady, at best, because she wanted him so bad, she overlooked that. You know what that means, right? He didn't hoodwink or bamboozle her. She simply married a man who has never really made provision a priority.

I oftentimes say, marriage doesn't "fix" matters; if anything, it magnifies them. So yeah, if you're with someone and you're the financial supporter of the house, their dreams or both, the first thing you should ask yourself is, "Did I go into this relationship fully aware that it was going to be that way?" because sometimes, our spouse is merely being what we accepted from day one. And, if we want that to change, we first have to take responsibility for not requiring more in the relationship from the very beginning.

Is Your Husband a Dreamer or a Dream Implementer?

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Whether you know what you were getting yourself into or not, I'm certainly not saying that you should surrender to things remaining this way. After all, it's one thing to be with a dreamer. It's another matter entirely to be with a dream implementer. What's the difference? I once worked with a couple who, quite frankly, the husband was a spoiled brat. Because he was such a mama's boy while growing up, he basically acted like it was his wife's job to fund his dreams and ambitions. First of all, that's a wack way of thinking, whether it's on the husband's or wife's part.

It's not another grown person's responsibility to make sure that you live your best life. Your spouse is there to support you, not enable you.

Anyway, because ole' boy didn't get this memo, if he lost a job…whatever. If he misspent money…whatever. If his dream changed half a dozen times in one year…whatever. He felt that she should keep "having his back" until he figured it out. This guy is a dreamer. A lazy and entitled one, at that.

A dream implementer is different. His dream comes with a mission statement. His dream comes with a plan. His dream comes with short- and long-term goals. And, if he needs the financial support of his wife in order to make those dreams happen, he presents his idea in such a way where it's an investment into him and the marriage overall. His dream also has a clear timeframe. What I mean by that is, if he wants to quit a good paying job in order to start his own business, he will make sure his wife knows how long he is planning to rely on her financial support—and you can best believe that it won't be indefinitely. Matter of fact, a lot of dream implementers will even work a part-time gig, just so that some sort of income can be coming in on their behalf. Why? Because as an adult, they are not comfortable with someone else solely providing for them for a long period of time, even if that individual happens to be their wife.

Is Your Marriage a True Partnership?

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A healthy marriage consists of two people who see their union as a partnership. One of my favorite definitions of partnership is "joint interest". JOINT. INTEREST. It's one thing for a husband or wife to come home and tell their partner what they are going to do next with their life, all the while assuming that since their spouse vowed "for better, for worse" and "for richer, for poorer" that they should automatically be on board. It's another matter entirely for that same husband or wife to come home, share their dreams and then ask their spouse how they feel about the idea and if they think it is something that is doable at the time. The latter couple are the kind who respect that their marriage is a partnership.

There's a couple I know who's been married, shoot, for at least three decades now. They are both anesthesiologists. When they were in medical school, they were brokety-broke-broke. And so, the husband worked and paid to get his wife through school. Then, when she graduated, she worked so that he could earn his degree. This means that there was a season when both of them were sole breadwinners. This was able to happen because they mutually agreed that it was the best idea for them.

No good husband is going to be "cool" with his wife funding his dreams if she isn't fully on board. Mind you, I didn't say always happy or thrilled, but she will be down for the cause. If you are currently the financier of your husband's ideas and goals and there's some real bitterness and resentment going on, could it be that you don't feel like there is a "joint interest" in what he's trying to accomplish?

If that is the case, I recommend you bringing that up to him. And, if need be, that the two of you get into some counseling so that you can figure out how to get on the same page.

Are Your Wants and Needs Met in Other Ways?

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For better or for worse (pun intended and not intended at the same time), it's becoming more common for wives to make more money than their husbands do. I recently read a study that said 38 percent of women make more money than men. Some of my clients fall into this demographic. But you know what? Most of the wives don't complain to me that their pay stub is higher than their husbands. No, their bigger issue is, if they are going to be making more income, they would like their husband to "make up for it" in other ways. Cook more. Help with the kids more. Plan dates. They especially would like this to be the case if their husband is working less hours or, the difference in pay is because he is working to get his dream off of the ground.

Personally, I think if there was one word that could be used to describe what a lot of wives would like to feel if they are financially supporting their husband's dreams, it's "appreciation". And a great way for husbands to show their appreciation is for them to know what their wife's wants and needs are and then be proactive about meeting them.

After all, it's only more work to come home and then feel like you have to nag or even beg your spouse to help out (or help out more). But if you feel like you're being taken care of in other ways than monetarily, the financial sacrifice won't seem quite as…strenuous.

Do You See “Light” at the End of the Tunnel?

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I know some husbands who, basically since I've known them, they've been at home, "building their dreams" while their wives have been making sure the family doesn't get evicted in the process. I don't know how any man can feel good about himself with his household running this way. If we're going to bring the Bible back into this, I say that based on the King James Version of I Timothy 5:8 which says, "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (which connects to Genesis 3:17-19).

Yet, even outside of the Word, a part of what comes with being an adult is being self-sufficient; if a man is relying on his wife for food and shelter for years on end, he is not living like an adult should. Adults are who should be married. Right?

If you're a wife reading this, a year of your man getting a vision or enterprise off of the ground is one thing. Ten years is something else. If you've just begun the journey of financially supporting your husband's dream(s), remember that love is patient (I Corinthians 13:4) and nothing happens in a day. If it's been years, whether your husband realizes (or acknowledges) it or not, you are being taken advantage of. If he were single, he'd have a job, right? Being married doesn't mean he should throw caution to the wind and just do…whatever. When he married you, he signed up to have your back as you have his. He also signed up for you being a top priority; his dreams shouldn't have you pressed and stressed all of the time. That's not loving you. Not. At. All.

I started this article off with something that I heard R&B singer Monica say on T.I. & Tiny: Friends & Family Hustle not too long ago. She was speaking in the context of marriage, in general. I thought it was fitting because, to have a man who is a dreamer—more specifically, a dream implementer—can be a beautiful thing. A respectable thing. Just make sure that your man loves you enough to where he's not taking your support, your understanding and/or your resources for granted. If he's got timeframes, if he's meeting your needs, and if he's holding you down in the process, he isn't. You'll look up and realize that it was all worth it in the long run. On the flip side, if he's not doing any of this, again, call a therapist because it's costing you more than you should ever have to pay—for his dreams or otherwise. Simple as that. And you can, pun intended, totally take that to the bank.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

10 Communication Mistakes Many Married Couples Make

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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