Spouses shouldn’t base roles on in­come

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Sunday Special -

In the US, work­ing cou­ples make up the ma­jor­ity of house­holds. In In­dia, too, the num­ber of dou­ble-in­come fam­i­lies is in­creas­ing. Re­search shows while manag­ing a fam­ily with two jobs is chal­leng­ing, such spouses lead more ful­fill­ing lives. How­ever, ma­jor life events, such as the birth of a child, or a post­ing in an­other city, can up­set this equi­lib­rium. How the cou­ple de­cide what to do can af­fect their fu­ture hap­pi­ness.

Usu­ally, they make such de­ci­sions on fi­nan­cial con­sid­er­a­tions. For in­stance, if the hus­band earns more, the wife gives up her job on the birth of their child. But Jen­nifer Petriglier­i, who has writ­ten the forth­com­ing book ‘Cou­ples That Work’, says it’s a wrong ap­proach. While money is im­por­tant, and of­ten is the main rea­son for work­ing, “few peo­ple live for fi­nan­cial gain alone. In their ca­reers they are also moti

vated by con­tin­ual learn­ing and be­ing given greater responsibi­lities.”

Petriglier­i says a de­ci­sion based on money will lead to dis­con­tent. A cou­ple who have fam­ily in Pune and are ac­tive in the social scene there will likely be dis­sat­is­fied re­lo­cat­ing to Lud­hi­ana, even if their in­come dou­bles. In­stead of fo­cus­ing on money, she says, they should dis­cuss their “core val­ues, bound­aries and fears.”

Is liv­ing together im­por­tant? Is the ex­tended fam­ily im­por­tant? Are Pune’s hik­ing trails im­por­tant? Are good schools and the arts scene im­por­tant? There’s also the question of pri­ori­tis­ing ca­reer, and there are three ways to do it. Most cou­ples de­cide one of them has the pri­mary ca­reer, and the other’s is sec­ondary. A small num­ber take turns — first, one pur­sues ca­reer goals and the other sup­ports; later, they re­v­erse roles. In the third model, both ca­reers are pri­mary. It can mean liv­ing in dif­fer­ent ci­ties, and is the most chal­leng­ing, but Petriglier­i says cou­ples who make it work with each other’s sup­port are the hap­pi­est.

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DON’T MISS THE BIG PIC­TURE: Bas­ing life de­ci­sions en­tirely on money forces you to compromise with your true pri­or­i­ties

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