Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

A married couple decides to survive on one salary. But who gets to quit?

Carolyn Hax on

I would also be very suspicious of granting a "total mental break and reset" to someone who apparently prioritizes himself above his spouse and the marriage.

What personal quality does he have that you can treat as a guarantee that he won't make this "break" an indefinite one? He hasn't quit already, which, to be fair, is significant, as is his honesty -- but your one-income plan rests on trust of a higher order, and your marriage can't afford for one of you to take advantage.

To be fair, you are likewise (though not as starkly) more focused on your interests than on his or your marriage's. It does serve him and the marriage that you'd still earn side money and take over household management, but it's doing what you already "genuinely enjoy," not taking one on the chin.

A healthy marriage is one where each of you volunteers to sacrifice for the other, versus volunteering the other for sacrifice.

Unless you both can embrace that ethic here, I don't recommend that either of you quits to live off the other. Too high a risk of resentment.

 

I'd be interested instead in seeing what you both would come up with if you, say, set a dollar amount you can live on; cut it in half; priced out any necessary benefits like health insurance; found an equitable split on household chores; then established that you could each find your own way to bring that in for the family. Part-time work, piece work, cutting back on your current jobs, etc., with any extra time used for regrouping or job hunting or retraining. Insurance and benefits alone could make this unrealistic, but why not do the work to find out? Character test included.

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Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

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