What does Jay-Z offer Beyoncé that men can offer the women they hope to marry?
One of my best friends and I both got engaged this year. We were talking about money recently. Men buy engagement rings, and then help pay for weddings. That’s traditional. What’s new is that we are marrying women who have the same discretionary income as we do: in fact, some of them are positioned to out-earn us in a lifetime. For some of us whose mothers earned only a fraction of their fathers’ incomes, it raises a question.
What can men offer women today to enhance their financial futures? If it’s not money any more, perhaps it’s autonomy.
Consider Jay-Z and Beyoncé. Beyoncé was a big star when she met Jay-Z, and often earns more than he does (based on published data). If you factor in Jay-Z’s income from his many business ventures, you still can’t deny that she earns more than enough for herself. So why would she want to marry someone because of his/her money?
Here’s an idea. What if now that women earn lots of money, they need the same thing that our mothers provided for our fathers so long ago? Stay-at-home wives (common in the past) have tremendous autonomy. They cook when they want, clean when they want, and can train their children into whatever routines they choose. Maybe today’s men should start early to build that kind of autonomy from their careers.
Jay-Z probably never has to spend a dime personally on Beyoncé. But her career sure benefits from his ability to fly accross the world to visit her when she’s on a global tour. Think about it—even if she paid for the private jet every time, he still has to get permission from his boss to telecommute or reschedule meetings. Oh—wait, he is his own boss.
Women’s careers are often at risk after they have children, because they are the primary caregivers in their families. What if their husbands could help? We already know many women don’t want stay-at-home dads so the man has to be secure enough in a position that he can sometimes be late because the babysitter called in sick. It can’t just be her…not every single time.
Maybe men and women should consider that the way careers work, autonomy is worth more than money. As long as one person has autonomy, the other person can achieve without leaving family behind. Women used to do this for men by staying at home, and today men can do it for women without staying at home. What do you think?