Help for Dual Income Couples

"The home is the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose, and that is to support the ultimate career." - C.S. Lewis

Approximately 80 percent of all U.S. marriages, both partners work outside the home. This is dubbed, "Dual-income."

Old Times Past

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It used to be that only one person was needed to "bring home the bacon" and the home was solace of joy and peace, a virtual escape haven from the rat race of life.

In a large, growing number of marriages, this almost seems to have flip-flopped the complete opposite direction. And it has generated countless failed marriages, broken homes, and children without both father and mother; all for the cause of either desiring and coveting wealth, riches, earthly possessions, or even the simple endurance of making ends meet just trying to stay above water.

Many psychologists say that money is a root of divorces. We disagree. It is not money or income... it is the heart and where priorities lie. It is the "love of money" that's the root of evil, not "money" itself.

Things Have Changed

While it's certainly possible to make ends meet on only one income, this is not the norm anymore. With our economy the way it is, prices the way they are, and the increasingly higher demand of expenses in our lives, it is almost necessary for there to be multiple incomes just to sustain our lives and make ends meet.

Squeezing Out Our Faith

One danger of both partners in a marriage working is that what little time and energy that is left, is usually lastly spent on faith-building activities. This can include church, personal prayer and worship, reading Scripture, and other activities that strengthen us.

Mark 4:19 could not have been more clear in Jesus' parable of the sower, "...And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful."

It's not wrong or even sinful to desire good things. Even Jesus Himself said in Matthew 7:11, " much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"

What is not only sinful, but devastating to the marriage relationship, is when money, riches and success become the objects of our desire, when it should be our spouse.

Countless high-profile pastors, ministers and recording artists have snubbed their own marriages to put wealth and riches on a higher pedestal.

We personally know one renowned Christian recording artist that had stated without a second thought that nobody, including their own spouse will stand in their way of being successful and rich. Their spouse would simply be "cut out" of the picture if they stood in between them and success.

Is this really what God intends for our lives? Absolutely not!

At the same time, we must also shed the old fashioned theology of having to be "poor" to be "pious." We can be humble, thankful and on-fire for God being wealthy as well as being poor. It's about balancing our heart and life.

It's a High-wire Balancing Act

According to,

Preparation, intentionality and joint decision-making are the key to creating and maintaining the right family-work balance for you. Many couples experience extremely strong forces pulling them away from the priority that they would like their family to have. If you don’t aggressively plan your balance, these other forces will prevail...

They also expressed a study that says...

According to a recent study (Zimmerman, et al, 2003) of dual-earning (both partners full-time employed) middle-class and professional couples with children that perceive themselves as successful in balancing family and work, these couples strive for marital partnership to support balance by:

Sharing housework (negotiating equal division of labor) 
• Mutual, active involvement in child care (wives resist monopolizing and controlling, make room for equal contribution by husband) 
• Joint decision-making (free expression of needs, negotiation and compromise wife perceived to have slightly more influence) 
• Equal financial influence and access based on joint decision-making, planning 
• Valuing both partners’ work and life goals (husband’s careers somewhat more prioritized, support for separate, individual time and activities) 
• Sharing emotional work (primacy of marital relationship, time alone together

These couples (Haddock, et al, 2001) also employ adaptive strategies, including:

• Valuing family as the highest priority over professional responsibilities and advancement
• Deriving enjoyment and purpose from work
• Actively setting limits on work by separating family and work and negotiating with employers
• Focusing at work they experience limits as making them more productive at work
• Prioritizing family play and fun
• Taking pride in dual earning
• Living simply, giving up some material amenities in order to reduce financial pressures and work hours
• Proactive decision-making: “If you just define success as what you do at work, then that is all you will do. Whereas, if you define success as having a happy family and a happy marriage and [being] happy at work, then you make all those things happen.”
• Recognizing the value of and protecting time for family, being present oriented"

Here are some helpful tips to stay close and avoid the dangers of separation and divorce when in a dual-income situation:

1. Manage your time around your marriage.
It is not up to God to somehow miraculously sprinkle fairy dust on our lives and work everything out. It is in our own hands to determine our destiny and our responsibility to manage our marriage.

It is vital to keep your proper priority a... well, a priority. That's your marriage. If your work, job, or goals are making your marriage suffer, change something. Switch a goal, transfer or change jobs, or lessen your expectations to level out your marriage in becoming a priority once more. When your marriage begins to suffer, nothing else will matter.

2. Avoid tempting situations.
This is a whole article in of itself. We cannot stress the importance of this. The amount of unfaithfulness and infidelity due to overworking couples are staggering.

It is when each partner works outside the home with others, all day, for large amounts of hours, when the susceptibility of adultery is no longer a far away concern; rather it subtly befriends you during the long working hours and grows from coworker status to friend to emotional and physical affairs.

As they say, "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Well, in our flesh and weak state of a pre-raptured body, we simply are not able to take that kind of heat without burning. So, stay out of the kitchen and those situations that lend itself to destroying your marriage and your own soul.

3. Laugh... a lot.
Statistics actually state that couples that have fun and laugh a great deal, last up to 10 times longer than other couples in their marriage and have a much more rich, fulfilling marriage.

Some say "Couples that pray together stay together." We add, "Couples that PLAY together, stay together."

4. Make a date night every week if possible.
One key to this being successful is to make sure that there are zero distractions. This includes children no matter how well behaved they are. A married couple needs time to be alone.

It is said that healthy marriages require at least 15 hours a week of interactive time together. This is actually a lot when compared to how busy our lives are. So, make it a goal to spend as much time as you can.

5. Make sure you're together on all your goals.
Again, another full segment; a book even, but if your goals are not the same, than it's only a matter of time before you will drift apart and the distance may not be reversible.

Deuteronomy 32:30 tells us that one can put 1,000 to flight; but two can put 10,000 to flight. It's not double it's a quantum leap of high proportions. from 1 to 10 times.

Don't be a married person living a single life. Don't live separate. Be together. As Jesus commanded... the two shall become "one."

When both partners are together in their direction, that forward momentum no matter how fast or how slow is virtually unstoppable. And, you get to share the victory together.

Remember, your journey will determine your destination.

When the two of you learn how to enjoy the ride together, you'll find rewards in and during your journey that you simply won't find even if reaching your end destination. In fact, it is during those times that we actually learn to be closer, more trusting and stronger.

Then, when you have grown closer and stronger in your journey, you can both appreciate and cherish those moments of satisfaction on the arrival of your destination... together.

Mike and Trisha Fox are Christian marriage coaches and authors of Marriage For Today: A Practical Guide for Couples. To find out more visit:

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