The Economy of Gratitude
The interplay between a man’s gender ideology and a womans implies a deeper interplay between his gratitude toward her, and hers toward hiln. For how a person wants to identify himself or herself influences what, in the back and forth of a marriage, will seem like a gift and what will not. If a man doesn’t think it fits the kind of “man” he wants to be to have his wife earn more than he, it may become his “gift” to her to “bear it” anyway. But a man may also feel like the husband I interviewed, who said, “When my wife began earning more than me I thought I’d struck gold!” In this case his wife’s salary is the gift, not his capacity to accept it “anyway.” When couples struggle, it is seldom simply over who does what. Far more often, it is over the giving and receiving of gratitude.