Updated: Jan 21
Most modern husbands work, and many of us flip back and forth with our spouses as the breadwinner.
Some are Lead Dads, a term coined by The Company of Dads founder Paul Sullivan which recognizes the growing role of men serving as the primary caregivers at home. So what exactly is a modern husband?
We are devoted husbands married to working spouses. We help manage the family finances, the house, and a life full of experiences. We are not the exception anymore; we are the norm.
38% of American women are now earning more than their husbands. The earning power of women is a growing trend, although dual-income households have been a majority for the past two decades. These trends will likely continue in the future as women are increasingly dominating college graduation stages.
Men and society unevenly embrace the evolving role of husbands in households. The range is anywhere from…
… to men, who, on average, are psychologically distressed when their wives make the same as them or more.
My guess is that many modern husbands go through the full range of emotions, or may have none at all.
I spent most of my adult life as the breadwinner but decided to support my wife’s career ambitions which meant a change in my professional priorities and the division of labor at home. We spoke to financial journalist Dan Kadlec on our Modern Husbands podcast about his journey as a modern husband, which is very similar to mine.
Dan, a Modern Husbands board member, was a highly successful financial journalist with Time, Money Magazine, and USA Today. He was even a guest on Oprah. Dan’s wife is a global executive at VISA. Listen to his 61-second perspective to appreciate the sincerity and wisdom of a modern husband who raised three children while he and his wife had successful careers.
If being outearned by your wife felt at least slightly uncomfortable, there's a good reason. Our society has deep-rooted societal norms that stem from centuries of women being on the receiving end of despotism. As you read through the graphic below, keep in mind that there are women alive today who were not guaranteed the right to vote, and some women working today started their careers in the 1970s.
Money and masculinity ran hand in hand for centuries. Men were the providers, in part, because women were not allowed to be. This was reinforced with messaging woven throughout our society -- from Hollywood to our classrooms.
I’m not suggesting men should be running circles in the cul de sac burning bras. I’m only pointing out the forces spouses face when trying to find happiness and fairness in a marriage.
As reported by ABC News, research conducted by the University of Cambridge found that men, not women, benefited from a less traditional gender role divide in household chores.
Many men are happiest when making an equal contribution to household chores.
This surprised the researchers themselves with the findings. Men should be shouting this finding from the rooftops to one another because, as we shared in our book review of Fair Play, men still leave most of the household chores to their partners.
Whatsmore, according to a University of Queensland study, women who outearn their husbands take on more housework than those who don’t. Much like doing work around the house, the majority of men continue to leave it to their wives to spend more time caring for their children, even when both partners work full time.
The solution to fairness at home will not only make women happier, it will also make men happier! Sharing household chores ranks as the third-highest issue associated with a successful marriage, behind only unfaithfulness and good sex. And men who spend quality time with their children are happier. That is according to the Association for Psychological Science.
Now the important stuff: how to be a great modern husband.
Speak openly and honestly with your partner about your lifestyle, relationship, and career goals. Listen, really listen to what your partner has to say. Work through what makes the most sense for each of you and what you can do to support each other.
Schedule a Money Date for you and your partner. Discuss your financial goals, your values, and your beliefs around money. Craft a plan together to use your money in a way that makes the most sense for you as a couple to reach your financial goals and live your shared values. We have even developed free Money Date cards to help facilitate the conversation.
Have a conversation about a fair division of labor at home. The book, documentary, and Fair Play cards are full of strategies you and your spouse can employ.
Be your partner’s biggest cheerleader! Share in their joy when they achieve career success. Be proud and make sure they know you are.
If you’re a dad – be a great one. Spend time with your kids. We can always earn more money, but we can’t get our time back.
Thank you for reading. We rely almost entirely on selling our Money Marriage U Courses and supporters to fund Modern Husbands.