No. of Recommendations: 8
>> Aside from divorce, what strategies might be used to motivate a spouse who decides they no longer want to contribute to the family weal by working?

And how might a spouse who is victimized by this deal with the frustration and resentment (and financial stress) it may cause?

Assuming a couple has enough, "contributing to the family weal" can be overrated. Sure it's a problem if you aren't able to make ends meet, save for the future (i.e. retirement), and all that. But if you have enough sometimes the rat-racey pursuit of more money and more stuff can be counterproductive to mental health and the general sense of well-being.

As it happens, interesting things are happening in our household. For the 18 years we've been married, I've had the larger, steady paycheck and my wife has been in and out of jobs, trying to find her passion, current substitute teaching at the local junior high. Overall so far I've probably contributed 80-90% of the "family weal." So in one sense, I suppose I'm supposed to feel cheated?

I don't. For one thing, we have more than enough for us and not having a full-time employed spouse means my off time is more of my "off" time because she is able to deal with a lot of the other "running a household" stuff I'd have to otherwise do.

For another thing, it's looking more and more likely that the "score" (for those who keep it) will be getting more even in the future. She is now starting in a program which will lead to a position in the ministry, something she's long thought about but never did pursue. Which means that within a few months or so she may have a small congregation and study in an alternative-to-seminary program which would ordain her in 2-3 years (probably). As this is likely something she'd want to do until long after I wanted to retire (probably early to mid 50s; I'm 44 now) it would seem to work out pretty well. I may be a "preacher's wife" before I know it.

Of course, this isn't a "won't work/refuses to work" situation but rather an "I don't know what I want to do with my life so I bounce from job to school and back" situation. But in our past there has been a rather lopsided ratio of who is "earning" in the household. And what may be today, may not be tomorrow. I've never really kept score, and that goodwill has her determined that she wants me to enjoy the non-working life the way she was able to while I had to deal with the corporate BS.

Having said that, from the OP's situation it's tough and not knowing how things were for the years before someone wouldn't work, it's not really something I can say in terms of anyone getting cheated in the long run.

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