I was once in a long conversation with a friend, who was the sole earner in a family of five (three daughters!) with a stay-at-home wife. This ranged over many topics, and was one of my early learning experiences regarding husband/wife relations.
Basically, he had a consistent problem (in my view, and I think he shared this view) of failing to be the leader of the family. Naturally, to keep the ship from running onto the rocks completely, the wife must step into the leadership role, and pretty soon regards her husband as incapable of leadership.
But, this was all very abstract. Finally, it came down to a single, practical topic: Control The Money.
I will highlight this here for those men who didn’t quite hear what I am saying: CONTROL THE MONEY.
When you control the money, you are pretty much the boss. Your wife can blah blah blah all goddamn day, but you CONTROL THE MONEY so you say what’s what, bitch. Since, in this case, he was the sole provider of said money, this was easy to do. Obviously it gets more difficult in a two-income family, which I will discuss at some other point.
What this means is:
The man makes all the major financial decisions. This probably includes:
Major education expenses, such as private schools or colleges
Other big “infrastructure” payments like health insurance or other forms of insurance
All intermittent big-dollar purchases like major appliances or furniture
Savings and investment
Your wife can certainly be involved in this process. You can talk together for months about what kind of house you want, what neighborhood, and so forth. You can even delegate major responsibilities to her. You think we need a new sofa? Go find one you like, and show me. But, in the end, the man gives the thumbs up/thumbs down on the purchase, and writes the check, from the checking account that HE ALONE CONTROLS.
All of his employment income goes into this account. There is no “joint bank account.” He pays for the major expenses directly, including the home mortgage, taxes, and automobiles.
The wife typically gets a monthly budget, which takes care of a multitude of recurring monthly expenses, and childcare items. The man writes a check to his wife each month, and she deposits it in her account which SHE ALONE CONTROLS. The wife may argue that she should have more money, or less. But, in the end, the husband decides what she gets. This monthly budget covers things like groceries, gasoline, possibly monthly utility bills, minor children’s expenses like clothing and school supplies, and some fun money for her to buy nice clothes and go have lunch with her woman friends.
That’s it. Do this and you will be The Boss. Your wife might even get a little tingly as a result.