When a Woman Makes a Lot of Money & Her Husband Doesn’t
The Pew Research Center, a Washington, D.C.-based “fact tank” that conducts polls on contemporary American issues, recently released a study showing that women are the leading—or only—breadwinners in 40 percent of households. In 2010, only 22 percent of married women ages 30 to 44 made more money than their husbands—as compared to 4 percent in 1970.
While this alpha woman trend is celebrated by those who have swallowed the feminist/egalitarian claim that male-female roles are interchangeable, the reality is that the majority of alpha women are dissatisfied with their breadwinner status. It appears that an alpha woman married to a beta boy puts an unnatural strain on a couple’s marital and sexual relationship.
In an article, “What Do Alpha Women Really Want?” Judith Newman, an alpha wife and the author of You Make Me Feel Like an Unnatural Woman admits, “I’m the main breadwinner in my marriage. And now it seems I’m part of a national trend. (Although sometimes I wonder if that trend might be titled: Women! We’re Idiots!)”
Despite society’s best efforts, the alpha woman-beta boy relationship model is failing. And I believe that’s because it goes against our basic created design. In the very beginning, the Lord God put the male in the garden to work. It was the man’s responsibility to be the provider for his family. That’s not to say women can’t work or contribute. But it does indicate that men are “wired” to bear the primary weight of that responsibility. Women aren’t.
When women are the primary breadwinners, the responsibility burdens them in a way it doesn’t burden men. Man was created to shoulder that burden willingly and gladly. But the responsibility wearies the woman, and she eventually becomes resentful or critical that he is content to let her carry it, that he doesn’t step up to the plate to alleviate the weight, or that he doesn’t fill the vacuum of her absence in the home.
Generally speaking, men base their identity on their work, while women base their identity on their relationships. Unemployed men and beta men struggle with issues of self-worth and their identity far more than an unemployed or stay-at-home woman.
What’s more, since our roles affect our sexual conduct, it isn’t easy for a woman to switch from being alpha in bread-winning to being beta in bed. Nor is it easy for a man to switch from being beta in bread-winning to being alpha in bed. As Newman points out, this presents a severe dilemma for alpha women. They have been taught to crave financial independence, power, and control, but find they aren’t sexually attracted to beta boys.
So what’s an alpha woman to do?
Newman suggests you demand more help from your man, and that men ought to more joyfully embrace the beta helper role. But I suggest you evaluate your alpha propensity to wear the pants, and take a serious look at whether you are being the woman God intended you to be. And do what is necessary to move your heart and behavior in that direction.
Is it possible for a woman to out-earn her husband but still have him be the alpha head of the house? Perhaps it is. But it would take a concerted effort on the woman’s part to drop her alpha mode down with her briefcase when she walks in the door.
Because when you boil it right down, you’re not going to be satisfied with a man who’s a beta boy. Deep down, every woman wants her man to be a man. And you’ll only inspire him to be a man when you act like a woman . . . when you choose to stand against culture and embrace, delight, and live according to God’s created design.