The roles of husbands in the household have evolved over the past few decades. As recently reported in a significant survey released by Pew Research, nearly half of all U.S. marriages, both the husband and wife, have similar levels of education and earnings.
Our role as husbands and fathers is as essential today as it has ever been. It’s just changing.
We understand how the role of husbands in households is evolving to support our working wives. Many of us no longer shoulder most of the responsibility to financially support a family, which means women should no longer shoulder most of the duties needed to manage money and the household.
It’s up to us to work together as teammates with our spouses to figure out our roles in providing and protecting our families and managing our homes.
I’ve learned some of these lessons through experts and others the hard way. As an avid sports fan, I find using these five metaphorical tips easier for husbands who want to be good teammates.
#1 Be a financial teammate
Winning teams practice and plan for tough games, expecting things to be tough. Good teams don’t yell at each other in tight, challenging games; they lift each other and fight together.
Only expect to manage money well with your partner if you talk regularly (practice) and plan for tough times. And don’t be that selfish teammate who yells and blames everyone else when money problems arise.
The stakes are high for financial teammates. Not being on the same page as your partner about financial risks is the strongest predictor of divorce.
At Modern Husbands, we share evidence-based strategies to help couples work together. Doing so is an ongoing process that changes as circumstances change. Investing time to understand how to manage money together is one of the best investments couples can make in their relationships.
#2 We are coaches
Winning teams have coaches who educate themselves, prioritize time honing their craft, and work in tandem with other coaches. The environment and development of the players is the most critical job.
We do not limit ourselves to stepping in to be with our children when our spouses are busy. We are proud parents who make the most of our moments with our kids. Great evidence of this can be found each week on the Company of Dads podcast and website.
We are fathers who take pride in shaping who our children become, and according to the Association for Psychological Science, men who spend quality time with their children are happier.
#3 Be a thoughtful teammate
Thoughtful teammates spend time away from the team thinking about their roles and understanding what is needed of them. They don’t walk into practices and games and ask for help. They walk in motivated to play hard, understanding what it takes from them to be successful.
The importance of teammates at home doing the same is significant. Sharing household chores ranks as the third-highest issue associated with a successful marriage.
Couples are happier when they establish systems to empower each other to own specific tasks to better distribute the cognitive load of home management and reduce the risk of miscommunication. An example is a spouse taking on the cooking, which means that the spouse also does the grocery shopping and meal planning.
#4 Great teammates are personally responsible
I’m the treasurer of our fantasy football league, so I’m responsible for collecting league fees to begin each season. Inevitably, there are a few stragglers I have to bug for league dues, making it miserable for me. It takes some of the fun out of playing fantasy football.
Similarly, my wife has had to bug me to do my fair share of chores at home. I’m embarrassed that I thought she was the pest then, but it was me, and I was the straggler, forcing her to bug me. Looking back at it, I feel horrible because I created misery.
Ironically, Cambridge University found that men, not women, benefited from a less traditional gender role divide in household chores.
#5 Celebrate each other’s success
There have been some great championship duos in my lifetime. Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce stand out.
In their prime, these duos showed each other the humility to partner and win championships. They shared a common goal that took precedence over their successes.
Spouses do the same. Perhaps one spouse is crushing it at work, and the other at home. Regardless of how the roles are worked through in the relationship, great teammates celebrate each other’s successes and work together toward common goals.