Parity in Single-Income Families
If one person makes money outside the home, and the other maintains the home front — which Dr. Phil considers a reasonable division of labor — there must be equality. No matter which position you're in, find out how to get that balance:
- Consider the effect of your actions on your partner's feelings and spirit, and try to see things from his/her perspective as well. What is it like for your partner to ask for money? What is it like to be responsible for all the bills?
- If the set-up isn't working, renegotiate it. Don't build resentment toward a partner who is not outside of the home making money if that was something you agreed to.
- A discretionary non-accountable income needs to be negotiated for both of you. Everyone should have some financial freedom. Having your own money helps you feel like you haven't given yourself up in order to be part of a relationship.
- Validate your partner. You do not want to send the message that what your partner is doing is unimportant.
- Share the process of bill paying and budgeting. This does not have to be one person's responsibility. Put trust in your partner and incorporate him/her into the process.
- Don't put your partner in a situation where she has to demean herself to get money.
- If you feel powerless or demeaned, be assertive enough to say: "I'm not a second-class citizen. I won't be treated this way. I am a partner, not an employee."
- Don't tie love, emotion, sex and intimacy to your money issues. Deal with your emotions emotionally and with your finances financially.
- If you've got a parent-child relationship with your spouse, you are sealing your fate. Children eventually rebel against the control and authority of a parent, break away, and become independent. Renegotiate the set-up.
- Educate yourself. Even if you're not the breadwinner, you need to feel a part of your relationship — financially, emotionally and spiritually.