Working Wife – Hostile Husband: How to Handle?

When the wife wants to work and the husband is not supportive 

Note: Originally posted as “Business Venture: Winning Spousal Support”

Photography by Challen Yee 1989

Photography by Challen Yee 1989


I have been quite intrigued with the dynamics of a relationship between a husband and wife when it comes to the wife wanting to strike out on her own to build a business.

Over the last year or so, I have been introduced to the world of network marketing through the activities of my wife. I’ve been called a very supportive husband, and from what I’ve observed, I have a earned that compliment, because comparatively speaking, I have been witness to some case-study-worthy-friction in other marriages.

No, I’m not going to mention any names or go into the details of other peoples’ lives, but I will offer you several points to consider in effort to help restore some of that loving feeling between couples who are living in massive tension trying to make sense of their roles as husband and wife.

First, I will admit, when my wife first spoke with me and told me what she was involved in, I felt quite apprehensive. Although I had been working on my self-development I had not directly researched MLM or network marketing. Realizing I was ignorant, I listened to the sincerity of my wife and chose to trust her judgment and her reasoning.

Actually, for maybe a year beforehand, my wife had already expressed serious concern about going back to work (she had been at home taking care of our two children who are both now in elementary school) but she did not want to un-diversify our income by going back in the electronics industry. We both felt the old cube (cubical) job had some serious limitations for security and growth based on the trend of the last 10 or more years. Frankly, With the children still needing attention, the ideal of a home based business seemed like an ideal fit. My wife chose to strive for something greater than what she was before and I had to wake up to really understand that, as a result I eventually became a student of MLM along with my long list of other studies.

So with this brief background of where I am coming from, here are some considerations for both a husband and wife to begin trying to better understand where each other is coming from.

I will focus mainly on the scenario where the man is resisting change and the wife is seeking change.

1) Despite the general acceptance of women in the workplace, the traditional role of the husband of being the bread winner is still a very dominant philosophy, especially in Asian society. You can agree with it or not, but you have to deal with it and respect that it is an influence. And even if this role differential is not super dominant, most men will still have this concept lodged in their mind.

2) Because the man has had the position of being the breadwinner, he will not necessarily feel insecure, but may be offended that his wife is wanting to go and make her own money. Now you may think this is not true, but, once again, wives, it could be construed that, unless you clearly can establish yourself from a base of sincere appreciation for all that he is, or has been doing to pay the bills and make sure there is money for everything else, like food, clothes, education, vacations etc., this man’s feeling, unless it can be resolved, will only make your life worse, unless you do not care about keeping your relationship vibrant.

3) The wife going out to run her business means less time at home and less time for leisure. Well, maybe the husband never takes you out anyway and you don’t get out, but once you start disappearing when you were typically there before, your husband will notice what he is missing and this will cause more friction.

4) Especially if the husband has been very controlling, he will fear the wife is positioning herself to leave if she can successfully establish her own income. This kind of problem can only be resolved if there is more mutual respect developed. And mutual respect can be approached if, in this case, the wife begins strengthening her self-esteem with mindset and positive mental training. I say the wife because it is probably the case that the wife is likely the one who has the power to change in order to effect change in the husband. If you are of faith, start praying.

5) Another of the husband’s fear will be the loss of money as the wife begins investing in her new business. Some husbands rule their money carefully, some with an iron fist. In either case, the wife should be wise to keep careful track of what she is spending on her new venture. The philosophy of network marketing teams can vary significantly within one company, a downline should make sure investments are consistent with her personal budget and goals to avoid borrowing against the future by the creation of the proverbial “garage full of product.”

6) There can be a difference in ambition between a wife and her husband. In other words, the wife may feel the desire to strive for more, when the husband shows no sign of greater ambition. The wife’s ambition may be a bigger vision for their family, not merely a personal desire for more.

There’s a Jim Rohn saying that I believe is appropriate here, he said, “Take advantage of opportunities to learn and develop… Soak it up, don’t miss anything…
“What you think about the information is up to you, and will probably change over time. What you do with the information is also up to you, but while you are here be sure you get it… You can’t do everything you know, but be sure to find out everything you can do. Ignorance is NOT bliss.”

In other words, even though the husband may feel he is responsible to being the breadwinner, has he been achieving as much as he can or has he become self-limiting in doing all he canto secure the future of his family? The wife may feel like her effort is needed, in a way, like the next person in a relay race.

7) What about the concept of truly raising the family finances to a higher level through diligent hard work outside of the limitations of a typical corporate job? These are serious points of discussion that, in my opinion, should not be ignored by the husband who may be hellbent to rest during Summer when Winter is approaching.
For now, it may seem as though the wife may be sowing her wild oats, but in the future, a new business, if handled correctly may be a necessary insurance policy against the whims of the corporate world.


In summary

I’ve tossed out a handful of potential points of conflict and/or discussion between a husband and wife. Keeping your marriage strong is a tough business and being able to have an open and honest discussion about your ambitions, dreams an fears are crucial to keeping it vital.

I’ve gotten to know some of my wife’s new friends who are good people at heart who really desire to make something greater out of their lives. In their cases, if the particular husbands decided to show some supportiveness, that way they may actually be exercising a greater trait of leadership. And if the wives were able to consider the various potential unspoken fears of their husbands that I’ve thrown out in this article, knowing them may be catalyst for growth and conflict resolution in your marriage relationship.

I believe, that the home life and the business life are synergetic. Glaring weaknesses in one will hold back the other, so care needs to build a good foundation in both.

If you’ve received any value from this article, please like share and comment.

I’ll see you.. on the next page
(This was a very tough one for a daily post! If you’ve gotten this far, congratulations, hope you got something).

Challen Yee

Challen Yee

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