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4.20 screamfree marriage
April 20, 2016

Lies About Men & Women

There is only one thing to do for a man who is married to a woman who enjoys spending money,
and that is to enjoy earning it.
(Ed Howe)

Obviously, some folks will think this quote is funny. A number of comedians (and some marriage experts) have made a career out of exploiting these gender-based stereotypes. You know the ones: all women just wanna spend their husband’s money, and all men are good for is making that money to spend.

Now, I get that these stereotypes didn’t just arrive out of thin air. They are reflective of some very common arrangements within couples of the past and present. Where I have trouble is when we assess these stereotypes as somehow indicative of some inherent gender traits. Women don’t work outside the home, and can never earn as much when they do. Men’s primary role is provider. Women spend too much money. Men cannot address financial concerns with their wives, they just have to shut up and make more money. And this is just the way we’re made, so get used to it. Please. We have come too far in appreciating both genders’ multifaceted capabilities to lazily retreat to Mad Men-era stereotypes. You are always more than what popular sentiment says about you as a woman, or a man.

The real challenge is to address couples’ patterns without bringing gender into it. If you have ensnared yourself into bad financial dynamics, don’t explain it away as just the way it is between men and women. Quietly confront your own behavior (like overspending) as to whether it reflects, or violates, your own integrity. Calmly address your spouse’s behavior (like overworking) by representing how much you appreciate what they do, and yet also how much you value them as more than just a provider.

And then ask yourself which gender you assumed I was talking about as the overspender and the overworked.

Peace begins with pause,

screamfree hal runkel

 

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