Husband Who Won’t Let His Wife Quit to Be a SAHM Sounds Awfully Bossy

working momFormer U.S. Marine and Navy Reservist Sean Dunbar makes enough money to support his family of two kids. But he won't let his wife quit her job -- and he wants us all to understand why. It's definitely not about the extra income.


As Dunbar writes in his essay, he simply wants better for his wife.

Theirs is an incredible story. They met and married in college. She was pregnant by 20. Dunbar dropped out of college to work a night job and two part-time day jobs, plus joined the Navy Reserves. His wife worked at a full-time job while attending school full time to complete her degree.

Dunbar is incredibly proud of his wife's accomplishments. "I watched what that struggle made my wife," he writes. "She holds her head high and tells people how hard she work for her diploma." As they both began new careers he noticed her confidence and sense of self-worth.

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But then she became pregnant with their second child and things changed. Her sexist boss passed her over for promotions because all he could see was the impending maternity leave. Dunbar's wife, once a rising star who couldn't be stopped, lost her confidence and drive.

That's when she asked if she could quit and stay home full time. They talked it over, but ultimately they found a solution: She got a job with earlier hours, so she can be with their kids in the afternoon and evenings. So it's all good, right? She keeps her career -- and her confidence and self worth. But she also has time with the kids. 

And she should be grateful to have a husband who pushes her to reach her full potential. Because he knows what's best for her, even if she doesn't.

Wait ... but what does Dunbar's wife think of this situation?

Her voice is missing from this story. But we do hear a lot about Dunbar's fears:

"I was so afraid of my wife becoming stagnant."

"I'm just terrified she'll lose her drive."

"I don't want her to look back and say, 'I could have done 'this' with my degree.'"

"I worry if something were to happen to me, she'd have to start over at a much older age."

"I'm scared my wife will feel inferior to me — and resent me."

"I don't want to pay for our daughter's college tuition, just to see her walk away and let a man take care of her."

"A self-sufficient, independent professional also keeps a husband on his toes."

Dunbar has a lot of worries. And I can relate to his opinions. He sounds like such a big hero -- I won't let you quit! But was this even a joint decision? He respects his wife as a professional, but does he respect her as an equal partner in their marriage? Is he interested in her dreams and worries? What are they? What else is he doing to support her career -- how much housework does he do, for example? Does enable her time off to relax?

For all we know, this could have been more of a mutual decision than it appears. But the way Dunbar omits details about his wife's thoughts, fears, dreams, wishes -- her voice -- it really makes me wonder.

We all want a partner who challenges us to be our best selves. But there's a difference between challenging, urging, encouraging -- and pushing. For all Dunbar's talk about his wife's independence and confidence he seems to undermine the one thing independence and confidence hinge on: Choice. How much does a husband respect his wife, really, if he denies her that?

What do you think -- is Dunbar a great husband for pushing his wife to work full time?


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