Fitzgerald Davis, 43, explains how flipping the script in his relationship has helped his marriage thrive
Back in college, I played football for the University of Miami. My sophomore year, we had one of those glorious seasons in which we made it all the way to the championships and won--and I have the ring to prove it. But when people see my championship ring, they don't ask me about which position I played or whether or not I scored. They just point and ask, "You were on that team?" They want to hear that I was a part of a group of guys who went all the way.
When I look at my wedding ring, I think about things the same way. I want to be on a winning team. I don't care what position I play. So if my wife is the primary breadwinner and I need to be the one who takes our kids to their doctors' appointments, that's fine. It's that flexibility of roles that has helped things run so smoothly in my marriage.
Why should the man always have to manage the money? In our house, it's my wife who handles the bills. And she's great at it. In fact, after she took over handling our finances, my credit score went up 150 points because she sends bills in early. Why should the woman always have to be the one who cooks dinner? Don't get me wrong, my wife can bake a mean German chocolate cake, but I'm a better cook. When we were dating, I have a feeling that my panfried chicken with sautéed spinach and mushrooms helped win her over. I cook the meals because I know if our work schedules were flipped, she'd do the same for me.
As an engineer for a motor company, my wife, Alicia, is on a faster career path than I am, and she makes more money than I do in telecommunications. For the record, though, I took a 40 percent pay cut so that she could pursue her career and I could be around more to help out with our kids. I did it because I believed it would help us be successful as a family. After she received a promotion last year, she thanked me for taking a bullet for the team. That told me that everything I had been doing was appreciated. "When you know, as a man, that you're being appreciated, there's no wall you won't run through for your wife or kids."
I know guys who would be intimidated by a wife who was doing more careerwise. In fact, 15 years ago I was one of those guys. I wanted to feel needed and was in relationships in which my woman needed me to make the money. One thing I like about my wife is that she doesn't need me. She wants me, but doesn't need me. In relationships where that's not the case, it can be a pitfall.
In the end, I may give the kids their baths and she may negotiate the terms of our mortgage, but we're both just doing what's best for the team. And I know that while she may get to score the touchdowns, we both still get the ring.
Photo Credit: Mitch Ranger