Source: YouTube

Ever since actress Gabrielle Union announced that she splits bills
50/50 with her husband, retired NBA star Dwayne Howard, social media has been debating their arrangement. The vast majority of comments actually criticized their arrangement stating that Dwayne should pay all of the bills, since he is the husband and wealthy. Of course it was mentioned that men who are husbands are supposed to be providers for the family. Many of Dwayne’s critics questioned his “manhood” stating that a “real man would handle everything”! I have to admit that I don’t share that philosophy, and it’s in part to the way I was raised by my parents, especially my Mother.

My Mother was once a stay at home mother and wife, at my fathers
request. My Mom grew tired of staying home with kids all day, and
longed for her own identity outside of the role as Mother and Wife. My
Mother also felt that by having additional income coming into the
house, that everyone would benefit. She also longed for having greater
independence and not having to consult with my Dad over purchases she made. He never controlled the money, however one salary only went so far for a family of five and all purchases were reviewed and discussed before they happened.

My mother would always emphasize to my sisters, how important it was for them to have an education, a career, and equally as important, money of their own. Though my father is the kindest man I’ve ever met, she warned my sisters that some men are controlling when they are the only ones in the house working. Some women begin to lose their sense of independence and ultimately begin relying solely on a man for everything. My Mother also shared stories with my sisters of friends and family members who were homemakers, who suddenly lost their husbands (whether it was due to death or even infidelity) and they were lost without them. They didn’t have the skills needed to take
care of themselves solely, let alone their children if they had any.

My mother instilled in me that women who don’t want to work or
contribute were lazy and overall a liability. She joked that if I fell
on hard times by no choice of my own… the last thing I needed was an
able bodied adult not contributing to the household, looking at me
exclusively to save the household. Though my father didn’t need or my
mother to work, my mom was proud that she could “hold things down” in the event he was no longer in our lives. She knew how to earn money and be responsible with it, as well as the importance of paying bills on time and saving for a rainy day too. She often said , “if your mom can get up and work in a factory at General Motors 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, with three kids and a husband, so can any women interested in being with her son.”

Admittedly, I’m different than most of my boys and male counterparts.
I am not intimated by an educated, hard working woman. I respect it
and the dedication it took for her to reach her achievements. I
celebrate her successes instead of being intimidated by her accolades.
A lot of men still want women to be completely dependent on them, in
order for them to feel like a real man. I prefer for my lady to know that she can count on me and depend on me versus her needing me in order to survive. In my opinion, you never know if they want you for you or what you can do for them.

I also laugh when people attempt to call me “less than a real man”
because of my views. I’m a strong, secure Black man who was raised by
a secure Black man who was, and still is, in the same household as his
wife; my Mother. Also, one thing stood out about the Gabby/Dwayne
living arrangement is that people overlook that Gabby says she wanted
to split the bills 50/50. This happened after Dwayne told her they
were living in his house that he paid the bills for. There are still
some people that feel that paying all the bills, gives them the only
and final say so in matters. I personally can understand wanting to
contribute to avoid scenarios like I just mentioned. I’m not a female,
but I’d rather contribute like Gabby does than to be made to feel like
I’m not a valued partner in the marriage.