Should Wives Share Financial Burden?

Should Wives Share Financial Burden?

That is the question of the day. The condition would have been simpler if we were talking about roommates here; however, here are life-partners involved bound with pre-conceived socio-cultural gender norm that begin to operate as soon as you tie the knot. And so even though we have landed from stone age to ‘the’ 21st century where ‘change’ is the key word and all values and morals are supposed to take an upside down shift, somethings just never change. It’s a man’s job to earn and a wife’s responsibility to rear children. Where feminists campaign vehemently for equality of women’s right, why not endorse equality in sharing the bills? All we can say is, no matter what, women will be women and men will be you know. However, with the financial crunch of today, it seems only unfair placing all the burden of the household on the man, especially when the wife making her money too.


Let’s look at different situations and the problems and the possible solutions to these.


Situation# 1: The husband earns double the wife. He takes up rent, grocery, utility bills and tuition fees of kids and leave other expenses; including travel, entertainment, clothes and accessories on wife.


Pros: It appears to be an acceptable situation where husband, the traditional breadwinner, is doing his job quite well.


Cons: However, wife with her meager salary is  spending almost all of what she earns. She may feel resented that perhaps her husband doesn’t take her out for shopping or pays for the restaurant meals. And she may also feel compelled to work to earn her family small happiness and luxuries.


Situation#2: The wife earns double the husband. And so, pays for the rent, grocery, utility and tuition fees of kids, while husband takes care of the other expenses.


Pros: Women has a sense of achievement of being the major contributor in the family expenditure, which perhaps gives her opinions more weightage when it’s time for decision-making.


Cons: This may lead to a lot of resentment in the woman who has to do it all. This could become a primary reason of marital rife amongst partners. For woman may be cranky due to the financial load and would want to exercise her dominion over husband whose male-ego would be severely hurt.


Situation#3: The husband and wife earn an equal sum and contribute equally to the household’s expenditure. They also neatly share household responsibilities among and look after the household. With our one foot in 20th and the other in 21st century, how do we reach a compromise?


Pros: This is an ideal situation and a true example of a perfect partnership, which rarely exists. Anyways, it allows both life-partners a breathing space where none has to carry the major burden of the household yet both have a sense of contribution without anyone having to feel resented in case they are over-doing.


Cons: A woman feels obliged to share the burden. She is an equal earning member to the household which means if she wishes to quit because of childbearing, and household issues, she cant.


Before we pick up our favorite husband-wife sharing model, we need to take a peek into the ingrained ideology of men and women today.





Women: Irrespective of which century they come from and how career oriented they are, they like work for themselves or perhaps their immediate family. This comes from the feeling that they have received a lot from their household and share a bonding hard to have with someone they have just started off. Also, when motherhood knocks their doorsteps, they increasingly wish to spend time with their baby and become resistant of anything that takes them away from it. And whether or not we accept it, the fact remains is, there are physical and physiological weaknesses they have to deal with on a daily basis, whereas men rarely experience any such encumbrance. Not only that, after a whole day’s job, she’s still expected to cook and if not that, at least arrange dinner on the table, cleanup and make sure the setup around the house is working smooth, while their husbands would just lie back and watch Tv or sleep. Other than this, they have to counsel husbands and kids, maintain relationships and also look good to keep those eyes from going astray. Hence their income is harder earned than their spouses.


But at the end of the day, they are the same 18th century women who expect their husbands to take care of them, financially and socially and this is why they so naively wish to jump for marriage. And so, if they are expected of by their husband to contribute a fixed share of money or take on the lead roles, leads to breaking of ideals, then hearts and perhaps relationship too.


Men: The forever breadwinner, always welded as one, is psychologically made to accept his role right from his childhood. He, unlike, women doesn’t have to struggle with this idea and so is less resistance to it. Moreover, the ego, some of which he naturally has and the rest inculcated into him by the society already makes him want to be the one doing the main hunting job.


Economic state of today: Today’s shooting inflation and stagnant incomes have made the idea of one earning member feeding many mouths, seem like an illusion. If your primary source of income is the service you offer to your employer, hardly enables you to make the ends meet.


My opinion: Where I wont express my opinions strongly, I’d make it a point to say where it’s primarily a man’s job to earn, and if wife contributes to make life easier for her family, it’s no harm. However, it should be purely left on the wife, whatever amount she wishes to pitch in each month, without any psychological or physical pressure and without making it an obligation for her. Husbands should realize they can’t chuck up money for superfluous stuff or giving it to others just because there’s a wife out there who’ll make up for the money they’re investing elsewhere. Realizing her support as a sweet favor from her, one that shouldn’t be relied on, and one that shouldn’t be unnecessarily availed especially when it’s a joint household setup (where she’ll end up doing the grocery of 4 other people).


She should have the satisfaction that her money is hers alone and that somebody is not eyeing it all the time. Also, both of them should realize that showing nice gestures or gifting each other little things to make life easier makes a huge difference. Hence, it also tells that they are no partners in an official partnership, they are friends, companions and lovers who are doing it all to stay together forever.

Madeeha Ishtiaque

The content writer & person-in-charge of the The News/Geo International Blog. She monitors the social media activity on The News. Follow her on twitter @charmed0000

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  • S h i r a z

    I totally disagree with what u said “She should have the satisfaction that her money is hers alone and that somebody is not eyeing it all the time” . It is totally disgusting & selfish thought. Every man hates the idea. Women always try to manipulate men by sex, emotions, her beauty & charm. Women are emotional blackmailer.

    Women want to have their cake and eat it too with 21st century feminist views towards men, yet in the same breath want men to hold 18th century courtesies towards women Which is totally unacceptable to men of 21st century man

    If woman as a wife is earning, she must spend a specific percentage of her earnings on her family otherwise her husband would like to divorce this selfish wife

    • Rameez

      I completely agree,S h i r a z…..This article was going good but in the last two paragraphs the author ruined it.She(the author) expressed her opinion which is nothing,but extremely selfish and symbolizes a huge injustice towards men in general.

      Notice,how she uses the word “ego” instead of “respect”, while describing males.I smell feminist tendencies.

    • NASAH (USA)

      “If woman as a wife is earning, she must spend a specific percentage of her earnings on her family”

      Then the husband must spend a specific percentage of his time on cooking for the family, making beds for the family, cleaning the baby mess of the family, changing the diapers of the family washing the clothes of the family etc etc.

      • Farooq Hashmi

        Dr.NASAH, Since, we are a working couple,our economic health is pretty good.As my wife in not a selfish and inconsiderate person, she gleefully shoulders the house-hold economic burden jointly with me, and never says,” whatever I earn is exclusively mine and I have nothing to with the financial matters of the household.” There is absolutely no coercion on my part in that matter.She does that voluntarily and selflessly as a true life-partner.Working-women in Pakistan make much ado about doing domestic work_____cooking ,cleaning and tending the kids______even if they have a legion of servants at their beck and call. Pakistani women in general,use the masculinity-conscious Pakistani men’s aversion to domestic work as an excuse for leading a sedentary life, putting the financial burden exclusively on the latter’s shoulders. If haply,a Pakistani woman holds a job,she does not share the financial burden with her “dear hubby” even if he goes to dogs. I have no idea by what standard such wives are regarded as the life-partners equal with their husbands. I’m at a loss to understand why the feminists,who waste their breath in advocating equality between men and women, balk at advocating the assignment of the domestic financial responsibilities equally or proportionately(as the case may be) between them provided that both the spouses work. In our household,it’s I who do the most of the work, both the domestic and the external in addition to my job. Whereas I have my finger in every pie, kitchen is exclusively my domain.I never have a problem as lack of time. Nevertheless, I wonder how long Pakistani men will indulge their women in the name of their femininity and the so-called Herculean domestic work.

    • Aimy Ahmed

      get a life and stop whining about something that is not even the topic

    • M.Saeed

      “Henceforth, all of your personal income is your own, plus all of your husband’s income belongs to you as well. You must use it judicially to make your family life pleasant and honourable.”

    • Èhtîshãm Rãuf

      DIL khush kar diya :D :P

  • Muhammad Azeem Khan

    You did the Job pretty well seems like you might be in any of these situations :D :D,,, Welllllllll i am of the second type where ma wife is earning the double then mine but your last para it surely fits but its only because i my self has enough that i can bear nearly all expenses and she is cooperative enough to do all necesary house hold even after the Job. We live jointly like my bros and me still doing well.
    Juss wondering if it is fine to let her do job as this might felt cool now but what would gonna be the future projection what complications we might face in future??? wish to hear from you on this.,,
    Thanks any ways.

  • miya

    All wives should ask themselves, Am I less equal than my life partner? If you think you are not then you should do whatever you wish to do. ‘Traditional Social norms’ are inconsistent with 21st century. They were created to control people in the past. Modern norms are equality, independence, shared responsibility and self reliance.

  • Shehzad Ahmed

    I have been married to my wife since the past two years and even today I don’t know my wife salary. I asked her many times but she wouldn’t tell. On the first day of our marriage I asked her to save all her salary and whatever she wants I will give to her. After two years I asked her what she did with her salad and she said that she spent it all on gifts for her friends, which I don’t believe. Anyways now I do not give her any money though I want to spend on her but she has left me no choice. It’s a pity that she cannot tell me how much is her salary and where she spends her money.

  • Fouad Dar

    What a loser topic. disgusting from start to end. how can one own a right of opion of sharing pros and cons on a public forum ?

  • mian zahid

    It is not bad if she contributes in home finances, keeping in view the current needs, if she is able to manage her liabilities at home and at work together so it is ok, but taking those responsibilities on her head so that’s bad.

  • Raheel Malik

    A women who want to run her family with respect to islam doesnt have much time to work outside the house . In My view women have so much to do at home , Kids tranining , house , husband , home matters and speacially a mother to takecare of the kids and tell kids how to spend life according to islam . I personally think if she is doing that fulltime job at home , she doensnt have much time to work outside home . Because she is already working fulltime .

  • Abdul Rehman

    Interesting Article, though its not as appealing in given scenario (context of Pakistan), but I’m sure it will be a major concern after 10 years

    One thing that needs to be addressed is that its not only the earning part that should be shared (or decided mutually), its also about the family planning. Couple should decide it carefully in future the number of Kids they can manage both mentally and financially

    Other thing which i really feel, couple after the marriage tend to forget their own personality. Both Husband and wife should keep their identify and personality intact even being in part of marriage contract. One way to to pursue what they like to do professionally. This way, they can help each other financially and may enjoy the life a little better

  • Arman Zain

    Interesting … Here is another example of East following west.

    I will stick with the notion of as “Nature made us ” . Woman is the most beautiful and adorable creature of God and the simple prove is that my mother was a Woman whatever I am today because of her teaching and her up raising. It is not that I dont recognize the hard work of my father to sustain my life and upbringing when I was weak but it was my mother who directed that upbringing.

    Now coming to the topic at hand, if both male and female start to work have we thought what will be future generation like. I have lived in west long enough to know why western kids call their parents with great attributes and I dont want my kids calling me with same attributes thus I will like a housewife who can raise a my kids and give them what my mother gave me … my identity.

    So all is not about money, when both male and female work the real commodity that is at stack is the kids, the future and no rational person will like to risk his or her future for today.


    Arman Zain

  • Aimy Ahmed

    i’ll again say the same thing shiraz…get a life!!!! you are a typical male chauvinist. This article isn’t about men or women…it’s about two people spending life in harmony. Don’t think of it from a men’s perspective, think about sharing responsibilities just like DM suggested. Author has concluded the topic very beautifully and i thoroughly agree with her. Get this chauvinism out of your system otherwise you’ll have a very troubled life. May ALLAH help us all in every path of our lives

  • DM

    Islam is the most modern religion and so are it norms.

    How do you define ‘modernity’?

    • miya

      In the contest of this article and my previous comment, modernity means equality between men and women. And oh yes, I don’t have the habit of dragging religion in each and everything!

  • Farooq Hashmi

    Pakistani women have peculiar standards of equality which are not operative in the rest of the world.Their standards of “equality” are that what goes in their interest, they accept it and what does not, they force that on men.No body in the world can refute that almost all the achievements and discoveries in the world are made by men,and men are still maintaining their superiority in that field. Seldom times,when Pakistani women make some insignificant achievements in any field, make the whole country resound with their bally-hoo. No offence but I venture to state that in no field, women do better than their opposite gender do.For instant, in Pakistan,very rarely female-candidates achieve the first position in examinations.It’s usual with them to ascribe their failures or low grades in examinations to the domestic work and the filial duties. The article portrays the working wives in Pakistan, not as equal partners in sharing the family responsibilities but as the individuals doing out-of-the-way “favor”to their husbands in shouldering the families’ financial burden with them. Pakistani women ought to stop juggling with the word,” equality ” ” Equality ” is ” equality ” in its literal meaning. Pakistani women ought take ” equality ” as a whole packages, not as selecting from it only those parts which favor them.,


    “I have married three times”.

    Reminds me of the couplet: “chalta hooN thoRee door hur ek raah rau ke saath/puhchaanta nahiN hooN abhi raahbur ko maiN”

    Was ‘falling in love’ involved with any of the three — or was each one a commercial transaction? Or your parent’s choice?

    Still more economical than having all three at the same time.

  • Farooq Hashmi

    It’s mostly in Pakistan that working-women spend their income on their vanity and ostentation instead of sharing the house-hold financial responsibilities with their uxorious husbands who work their tails off. Let such husbands baste themselves in their own stew. They ask for it.

  • Farooq Hashmi

    Many of them do not afford even a meter of long-cloth to cover their private parts, and you are talking of “garments.”

  • M.Saeed

    Money alone is not any guarantee of peaceful life. It is mutual respect and harmonious coexistence called marriage. Your failures on all three occasions simply prove that, there must be something terribly wrong on your own side. Otherwise, ‘pairs are made in heavens’—- but not made again and again because, heavens cannot make and err in pairs.

  • M.Saeed

    My wife openly accepts that she learnt all her cooking and culinary expertise from me, after marriage. But, now after so many years, she does not allow me even near the kitchen saying that, I know nothing about cooking.

    • Farooq Hashmi

      Mr.Saeed, On Saturday,December 15, 2012 four ladies are going to be my guests at lunch in my home.Two of them are the vegetarian Indians while the other two are the native-Americans.They love my cooking.Many a time,they have tried to make prathas the way I do,but
      of no avail. I’ll teach them how to make different types of prathas____ the flaky crispy layered ones, the ones stuffed with mashed potatoes and the ones stuffed with grated radishes,etc.The vegetarian Indians will learn only how to make different types of prathas and dipings, while the native-American ones will learn also how to make batter-coated fish-steaks.

      • Raj Chouhan

        Hashmi ji, you are a prefect husband. Bhabi is very lucky.

  • Mahfooz Ahmad

    i wish if picture could have been taken from our region!

  • miya

    In the first place if you are so sure about your beliefs, how could a question about it pop-up in your mind??? That shows only how insecure you are about your belief system! I didn’t question about anyone’s religious beliefs, it is you who were in the wrong place. You asked about it’s relevance,not me.

    • DM

      Well dear, this is the point I am making here, Islam is not only a religion, it is a complete code of life, NOT a mere religion that you dont want to bring into anything. I appreciate your consideration but

      Islam, in every matter in our lives, can only EASE our problems.

      And my question was obviously to bring your attention towards the disillusions about modernism that you have developed in your mindset.

      Who is in the wrong place, u and me are no one to judge here, Allah the Almighty will judge us all for all the priorities that we have chosen in these temporary lives. We can just have a beneficial discussion respecting each others ideas open-heartedly.

  • ali

    A very sexist opinion by author

  • Dave

    How about this scenario had child, husband got best paying job he could and excelled but it was not his career path. Very unhappy after years in job (switched job but in same field) and resentful with wife who has 2 college degrees works a low paying job to be home with kids and wife has plenty of ‘free’ time. Therefore, limiting husbands ability to switch careers for less money.
    This is my situation as husband. Men are now bred to share household responsibilities in addition to these old breadwinner roles. Give me a break.