Last week’s Wednesday marked the day I fell in love with my wife 9 years ago. Back then we were both students, often struggling regarding finances, yet filled with dreams. Our problems were mere annoyances such as “Why didn’t you text me that you are going out with your friends?” Or “Why are you yelling at the football match in the midst of conservation with me?” Then, almost a decade later, we are happily married, and while things that annoy us have changed, I have come to see the ridiculous things in society underlying these annoyances. This essay is regarding a major absurdity with Myanmar society.
Upon graduating we both began to work, (big surprise!), and she joined corporate world and I joined non-profit. Now she’s in consulting sector and I am at UN. The problem in the eyes of most of my conservative (which makes up the majority of population in the country) friends is that she’s earning more money than I am. I have no issue with that and I never had one since I was young. My take, even before I became aware of issues such as gender-equality and women-empowerment, was that whether she is doing well or I am doing well, what’s important for the family is the sum. Another thing often subjected to ridicule is that I am doing some of the house chores. I am an economist at heart and I believe in division of labour. Even without going deeper into gender issues, it makes sense that I do some of the chores to function the place we both live in so that the process is more efficient. But I found out that male-pride (often accepted by women themselves) deems such division of labour pitiful.
Since I joined non-profit I had already known my future earning potential (it would be super funny albeit sarcastically if I could end up being super-rich by combating poverty), while I am earning a decent salary, anyone can imagine it is nowhere near a consulting job; I joined this field knowingly and have no regret over this. However, I find it weird that people measure a happy and successful marriage as where the husband is earning more highly than the wife, although those people find my views equally weird at best and more often as being defensive on the “shame.”
It would be super funny albeit sarcastically if I could end up being super-rich by combating poverty
The funny thing is that people deem my job as being okay until they found out that I am earning less compared to my wife, a point that I see no need to be hidden when being asked. And in our country, how much a person earn is not an uncommon question among friends. We really are living in an absurd world, then again I know a guy who eventually divorced his wife because she was constantly yapping about being a doctor. The man himself has respectable career in his own right; he is earning a huge amount of money and he is the main breadwinner of the family. Yet he only got a B.A degree and couldn’t stand his wife being a doctor. So, at least in the foreseeable future, I will still have to face a lot of skepticism on how am I living with “THIS”.