In Love and Out-Earning Him

Three factors to consider if you are the breadwinner

Around 40 percent of American women find themselves as the primary breadwinner for their families. In some cases this can lead to significant frustration and trouble in your marriage.

For most of my working life, I was part of that 40 percent. I've been able to see the breadwinner role from several different perspectives. I've experienced it in a less-than-healthy relationship, where it was a touchy subject to be avoided. Then I experienced it as a single mother, and then with a husband who saw us as teammates instead of competitors. Sometimes circumstances dictated that I would be the primary earner, while at other times, it was a strategic choice that Chris and I made for our family. More recently, Chris has taken over as the breadwinner.

It doesn't matter what kind of wonderful Prince Charming you marry; you will at times experience financial strife.

No relationship is perfect. It doesn't matter what kind of wonderful Prince Charming you marry; you will at times experience financial strife.

There are three factors that play key roles in our marriages when it comes to the issue of breadwinning.

1. The right kind of guy

Bluntly speaking, some men handle this situation better than others. This is something to be aware of and to watch out for when you're dating. My friend Lisbeth in Work, Love, Pray recommends that dating couples considering marriage have a serious, "all cards on the table" discussion about finances and compare W2s.

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Diane Paddison

Diane Paddison is a business professional and founder of, local groups of professional working women committed to faith, family, work, and each other.

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March 2014

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