*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member, who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
When my cousin got married, she and her husband both had full-time jobs. She promptly quit her job to take care of the kids after the wedding; the only problem was that they didn't have any.
My cousin demanded her husband's entire paycheck every week while she stayed home and took care of the household and paid the bills with the money he earned. She said she wanted to raise a family with him, but she resisted the idea that both of them could work until they actually had children.
Some members of the family felt she was using him for his money, not that there was much of it to go around after paying the bills and buying groceries. She just insisted she was a stay-at-home mom and housewife despite that little detail of not being a mom.
Of course, whether she had kids would have been irrelevant if she and her husband had come to an agreement over being a single income household, which they hadn't. In fact, no one was more surprised than my cousin's husband when he learned she had quit her job and he would be the sole breadwinner.
It took less than a year for my cousin's husband to become fed up with the arrangement. He stopped bringing home his uncashed paycheck and handing it over to his wife. Instead, he cashed the check at the local bank and brought home less and less of it for her to pay their bills.
My cousin was furious. When she had collected his entire paycheck in full, she had been able to pay their bills while keeping a little spending money for herself for tanning, manicures, and yoga classes. Now that he was skimming the spending money off the top, she was left without a penny to spare.
She demanded to know why he was keeping money from her. She accused him of cheating and not wanting to provide for his family. It quickly became a screaming match that ended with my cousin's husband leaving the house and vowing never to return until she got a job.
A year later, my cousin is still unemployed and living at home with her parents. She does not know how she's going to pay her own way in life, but she's determined to keep living the lifestyle she's become accustomed to.
It's a sad story, but it just goes to show that two incomes are better than one. If my cousin had been more realistic about her expectations and her husband's ability to provide for her, they might still be together today. As it is, they're both struggling to make ends meet, and neither one of them is happy.
Having a job isn't just about earning money. It's also about having a sense of purpose and contributing to something bigger than yourself. If you're not doing that, then you're not really living. You're just existing. And that's no way to go through life.