Trading Places: Role Reversal in Marriage

Trading places or role play seem most appropriate in a relationship during intimacy where a woman plays as the aggressor or leader, and the guy, more submissive.  Normally, a woman does not necessarily wish to play that role in any other circumstance but as a result of various changes in her marriage, she is faced with having to be in charge and in control.

It is the cultural norm in many countries across the world where a man pursuing a woman as his wife must prove to her and her family that he is hardworking, able-bodied, “the head,” and loving. He demonstrates such qualities by having a stable career and taking care of her in all aspects; emotionally, physically and financially. In the couple’s original country, life for the woman is secure, he and she both provide for each other and they work together as partners. However, after migrating to the United States of America, many times, their lives change and the wife is left being the sole provider while the husband (in many situations) stays home comfortably, not concerned with or actively pursuing work. What once used to be a career-driven and hardworking husband has now allowed his new environment to distract him from his role as a man and husband. As a result, the wife is faced with the financial burden and although her career can support the two, it is a struggle doing so all by herself.

Such circumstance would naturally force the wife to make all the financial decisions concerning matters like the mortgage, phone bills, and household expenses. With children involved, additional responsibilities like school fees, and other needs rests on her shoulders. Regardless of the “hats” she wears, her husband unreasonably feels entitled to choosing how her money must be spent. Arguments including the phrase; “What’s yours is mine” are overstated with the psychological intent to make her feel guilty. Instead she remains persistent with controlling the money, aware that if she were to be careless, her husband would spend selfishly and unwisely. Also, anyone feeling entitled to money they haven’t earned makes it sensible for the other person to keep their money to their self.

This situation is very common in households where the woman has a professional degree with a career in medicine, legal work, media, etc. The men usually run the gamut of excuses like they could not find work and that the wife’s’ money is enough for them.

Take for example one instance, the wife buys her own Mercedes Benz but her husband is the one dropping her off to work. Not only doesn’t it affect him that he is driving a car that isn’t his own but he is faced with the daily reality that she has a job and he doesn’t.

Such men have taken the backseat in terms of earning power, happily giving up their roles as bread winner but when it comes to how to spend the money, he is hands-on. They reason that as “head” of the household, it is their right to lead in the decision making, especially with finances. Mind you, this is usually not the norm in their home land. This type of role reversal usually leads to domestic violence and divorce. I believe that it is not how much a man brings home but the role he plays as head of the household. If he puts his best foot forward as a caretaker, his significant other would be easy to please.

~Ashley Okonkwo
Photo Credit: Vincent Mo/zefa/Corbis via Blacksnob.com

Ladybrille Magazine

Founded in 2007, Ladybrille® Magazine is a California based pioneer digital publication demystifying the image of Africans in the west through contemporary African fashion and celebrating the brilliant woman in business and leadership, with an emphasis on the African woman in the diaspora. Our coverage includes stories on capital, access to markets, expertise, hiring and retention, sales, marketing, and promotions.

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