Written by Nicole
A popular social media personality made waves this week after saying that she was going to retire her husband. The declaration even made it to daytime television, where one host known for not holding her tongue shared her own thoughts on it too. Those thoughts were not well-received by the masses, who called her all manner of bitter, a hater, and jealous, or accused her of projecting her own failed marriage woes onto this couple.
Let me begin by saying that I do not know these people, and I don’t know anything of their relationship. As such, I am not mentioning names or commenting on their particular situation. I do wish them the very best in all their ventures, from now to perpetuity. But for me personally, I would not retire my husband. Everyone’s relationship is different though, so if this is something you are striving for, or have already done, more power to you. I’d advise you to reconsider, but hey, it’s not my relationship.
But since the topic is trending, I wanted to discuss regular women retiring their husbands – what should be considered?
Let me be clear – I am not speaking of this particular couple. I do not know them so I am speaking in a general sense. As such, in general, many, if not most men may feel incensed, annoyed, or even emasculated by their wife out earning him. The male ego is a fragile thing, and any lingering resentment from relinquishing the breadwinner role could manifest in undesirable ways, as a means to assert dominance.
While we all know Hollywood is by no means a great metric for relationship comparison, hear me out. I’m sure you can name a whole list of women, black and nonblack alike, who earned more than their partners, or married an employee, and the relationship ultimately soured. It may have been a quiet break up and disappeared after a single run on the gossip rags. Or, it could have been long and drawn out with extramarital affairs, babies, and widespread public embarrassment. Whether the men in the relationship showed their true colors before, during, or after their wives’ success is largely irrelevant – a sudden injection of large sums of money can change a person. Look at how people were acting with a stimulus check. Imagine a couple extra million per year. And the loser in these relationship breakdowns is almost always the woman.
One thing that I see black women do a lot is look at a situation, and, despite evidence that suggests one outcome, she believes she will be the exception. Everyone thinks they have, or are, the unicorn. In all things, there are exceptions, yes, but if 1+1=2 the majority of the time, it would be wise to consider the trends before making or announcing the decision. And speaking of announcing…
If things are smooth sailing in your relationship and you have reached a point where your husband can pursue other opportunities, that is great! However, I think the best course of action is to keep quiet about it. This applies to women in or out of the public eye. That way, the court of public opinion will not know about any of the ins and outs of the relationship that is nobody’s business but your own. Successes and wins are still wonderful achievements if the only person you tell is your partner.
Even though I would not be signing up to retire my husband, other women might. And, we’re all grown, so hey, you like it, I love it. But if this is a course of action you pursue, make sure you have legal documents that put his testicles firmly in a vice if he messes up. If you want to be the one to put him on, make sure that your legal recourse and retribution is swift and unrelenting in the event of any failings on his part. Love is great and wonderful, but you can be in love and still be crafty too.
I don’t think it’s a good idea for black women in particular to retire their husbands (of any race). With everything else we do in this here patriarchy, at 77 cents to his dollar no less, I would sooner mop the Great Lakes with a single roll of paper towels than embark on that particular adventure. Not to mention, black women have been labeled as every manner of gold-digging Negropean for wanting a partner who can provide the means for her to be a stay-at-home mother/wife. But when a black woman sets out to retire her husband, it’s this great and wonderful thing? And don’t get me started on that submission hullaballoo everyone keeps talking about these days.
Furthermore, it’s not hate or jealousy to think that a set up like this has the capacity to fail. Looking at and learning from other women who had similar situations isn’t bitterness, it’s wisdom. Naïveté does not serve us. Above all, men are men, and understanding that simple truth is key to your own success. But again, it’s not my relationship.
Would you retire your husband? Are there any other considerations that come to mind? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Disclaimer: all thoughts my own, not necessarily reflective of Christelyn or other writers on this platform