Investing too heavily in your career can endanger your marriage. But there's another side of the story. Making use of your abilities in meaningful work can actually strengthen your marriage, according to educators and authors Judy and Jack Balswick.
The Balswicks are co-authors of a number of books, including The Dual-Earner Marriage(Revell). Not only do they research and teach about the topic (Jack is a senior professor of sociology and family development; Judy is senior professor with the school of psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary), but they've lived as a dual-earner couple for much of their 51-year marriage. We asked the Balswicks about the pros and cons of dual-earner marriages, and here's what they had to say.
Why do dual-earner couples often get such a bad rap?
Jack: We often hear from some conservative groups, "God doesn't want both spouses to work, he wants the traditional marriage." Our position is that Christians need to be careful how they define a "traditional" marriage. Traditional doesn't necessarily mean biblical.
The model of the husband working outside the home and the wife staying in the home emerged as part of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s. Prior to that, the family—not an individual worker—was the basic economic unit. Until this is understood in its historical context, a lot of dual-earner couples will continue to feel unnecessary guilt.1