Dilemmas for a Business Woman around Money and Marriage

A business woman can experience intense emotions on money matters that seriously affects her marriage. This happens especially when she is the main breadwinner.

Case studies

Lisa is an executive in a large corporation. She has always been a business woman in high powered positions. Her husband runs his own business but it generates very little income. They have three children.

Lisa has progressively become more resentful toward her husband around money matters. She works incredibly long hours and travels a great deal. Her husband is very comfortable with his life. He socialises a great deal through his work and he is in a comfort zone. His wife supports the family. Lisa is becoming very irritated with the fact that he does little to make her life easier e.g. taxi-ing children to activities and school.

Rachel had her own business. Her husband has his own plumbing business.  Paul is not a business person: service delivery is poor and he takes on more jobs than he should. His weakness is administration with the result that invoices are sent out very late. This of course impacts on his monthly income.

Rachel is a strong business woman. She had to close her business for health reasons. So she decided to take on the administrative work in her husband’s business. As a result there is a definite improvement in their monthly income. She does still become quite resentful at times because he seems to have a very casual and unfocussed approach to his work. No amount of talking has made a difference.

Saveshni is an executive in the financial services industry. A few years ago her husband suggested that she live out her dream of progressing up the corporate ladder as a business woman. He knew it would not work for both of them to have high powered positions. So he offered to take on the role of house husband. The arrangement has worked very well for them. As a result money or roles and responsibilities are not an issue in their marriage.

General observations

What I observe with business women is that anger, frustration and resentment builds up for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the wife perceives her husband to have an “easy ride”. He is enjoying life and stressing little about financial matters.  His wife, the business woman, perceives this as a lack of responsibility.

Other business women have this corporate, “marriage by objectives” type of approach. They want to see results and soon. So it is hard for them to accept that their husband is learning his own lessons in running his business. Or that it takes time to establish a business. Or that her husband is motivated by factors other than success.

We cannot under estimate how the corporate way of doing things seeps into our psyche. Over time without realising it we look at our partner as someone who needs to be managed or assessed. We may find our hard, masculine side becomes our style of relating at home. It is this very side that makes women successful in business. But it is a side that is unhelpful in a marriage.

So I wonder: Do business men ever feel resentful toward their wives who do not work? Can a business woman look at her partner as someone who has his own lessons to learn? Can she step away from feeling responsible for rescuing or managing him in some way?

Business women often live these dilemmas without voicing them. If you would like to talk about the impact of money on your marriage you may want to consider coaching.

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Posted in Business, Women.