Couples Making the Transition
To solve important issues, married couples should have a similar outlook and act as a team. When the spouses have different views on children rearing, finances or household chores, it is almost impossible for them to find a solution that will satisfy everyone. However, as soon as the spouses agree on their basis beliefs and ways to achieve their goals, it becomes much easier to create a common strategy. The paper dwells upon a case study of a couple which has successfully solved the issue of finance handling and a couple having failed to reach a solution regarding a household chores division.
The first couple of American origin comes from a similar background where both parents work. However, males tend to earn more and are considered to be providers. Before getting married, the couple knew that the major issue was the way to spend money. For example, the man tended to spend more freely while the woman intended to think about the future and make savings. The data of the American Psychological Association (n.d.) reveal that financial issues are often unresolved in a couple stating that “31 percent reported that money is a major source of conflict in their relationship.” However, this couple knew that the both spouses have to sit down and discuss the issue thoroughly, and probably return to the discussion many times until it is solved completely.
The couple decided to act as a team and settle all the arising issues. According to the APA data, “only 33 percent of Stress in America survey respondents said both partners share an equal role in financial decision-making. Similarly, only 23 percent reported that management of household finances is shared equally” (n.d.). Furthermore, the couple decided to have a joint account for the family spendings and a personal account each. They have their dual earnings to enter the joint account where the wife pays their bills, buys goods necessary for the house, cigarettes, and petrol coupons for a month. Then, regarding the rest of the money they both decide a certain amount to allocate for savings and the remaining amount they divide between their personal accounts for their personal needs. As the husband is more knowledgeable in financing, it is his responsibility to invest money. Thus, when the investment is successful and they earn extra cash they usually spend it on traveling.
The American Psychological Association recommends couples to discuss finances, financial goals, and fears concerning money (APA, n.d.). This couple shares common goals. For example, they want to safely pay out their mortgage, to provide themselves secured old age when they get stable pension payments. In addition, they want to travel at least once a year within the US and occasionally to Europe or other far distant countries. Moreover, the couple wants to have an opportunity to afford large purchases such as a new car, renovations for the house etc when they need it. However, they both are afraid of that the financial situation in the country is still unstable. Thereby, they need to save their money and make investments to different enterprises so that they do not keep all their savings in the same bank.
The couple has no children at the moment. They are sure that children would disrupt their patterns of sensible spending and cause some conflicts regarding the issue in a bigger family. So far they manage to agree on the way to spend, and they do not usually have any unexpected expenditures. Obviously, the couple used to have disagreements regarding money spending on a daily basis when the wife tended to go over the limit on her credit card. However, the wife eventually agreed that it was nonsense to spend more than one earns and tried to resist her spending urges.
The second couple is of Slavic origin. Their problem refers that the husband and the wife have different attitudes towards the gender roles. Even though both spouses work full time, husband earns more. Thus, it gives him a reason to believe that he is a provider and he can maintain the traditional division of gender roles when the woman takes care of the house and children while the man works and provides for the family. The wife works as a manicurist. Working from home she arranged a separate room as her nail salon. Doing nails is considered a typical women’s pastime so the husband does not adequately perceive it as a ‘real’ job. Consequently, he does not take into consideration the number of clients his wife takes a day and her potential tiredness to do any household chores. From the husband’s point of view he is the only one who can be tired after work. Therefore, he has to take some rest in front of the TV and not to be involved with the children or the house duties. Undoubtedly, the situation is a source of tension and conflicts.
One of the solutions to the issue of household chores can be hired help. In the article “Chore War: Household Tasks and the Two-Paycheck Couple,” Marie Hartwell-Walker writes, “Although this reduces the fighting, it doesn’t necessarily reduce the woman’s resentment” (Hartwell-Walker, 2016). Not every family can afford to hire help and have enough money left for other needs. Household cleaning expenses can take a large part of the family budget. Consequently, the family would have less money for trips and holiday presents. In this case, they can afford hiring cleaning personnel once a week but it does not solve the problem completely. The husband comes from a family where cleanliness was not a prerogative. Thereby, he is not in the habit of neatly keeping his own things in the proper places. However, he likes the way his wife keeps the house clean and does not believe that it is very difficult. The situation is aggravated by the children being messy and untidy. Therefore, the wife considers a live-in help as the only solution but it is unaffordable. The situation leaves the woman frustrated because the problem does not seem to be solved.
The wife gets a little compensation regarding car maintenance as it is the husband’s responsibility to take care of their vehicles. He has to take them to change oil or repair wheels. In addition, the husband is responsible for the choice of the type of the car they both drive. He controls minor repairs and takes the cars to the car repair shop. However, the wife cannot involve the husband for minor repairs around the house. He works a lot and cannot find time to fix a broken screen door, for instance. In winter, the husband can shovel the snow from the front yard and take the wood from the shed. However, the wife has to order the wood cut from specialized services and deliver in to the house. Moreover, she cleans the garage, finds people to help her clean the garden, dig out holes etc. Overall, the husband thinks that his input into the family should be limited by his earnings. Therefore, he does not take a trouble to involve more into the household chores. The wife regularly reminds him of her tiredness and the vital necessity of his help. However, the man is sure that it is a normal women’s condition, and thus, he can do nothing about it. The husband believes that the only thing he can do is to earn more hoping to achieve it in future.
To conclude, it becomes obvious that it is much easier for couples to gain agreement and find a successful solution for their issues when they share similar ideas and goals. In the first case, the couple was aware of the financial issues and discussed it on the initial stages of their relationship. Thus, they had time to settle the issues before getting married. Besides, their goals and fears were similar, so they did not have any disagreements regarding investments and many other small financial issues. Meanwhile, the second couple was adherent to a traditional pattern of gender roles, and the woman did not think that it would be a problem. Before getting married, she was aware that her husband’s obligation is providing for the family and hers relates to taking care of the family and the house. However, she could not foresee that the necessity to work for her would become imminent, and consequently, it would not make her husband change his behavioral patterns. An inability to adapt to the new conditions became the main reason the second couple failed to successfully negotiate the issue of household chores.