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Husband Won't Let His Wife Be a SAHM—Say What?

When I was pregnant with our first daughter, my husband and I never really sat down to hash out what would happen after she was born.

Maybe it was the ignorance of being young parents or maybe it was because we both knew that we would be equal partners in this journey, but we kind of just assumed it would all work itself out.

Which it did.

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We took turns finishing up our degrees, staying home and working. I started as a full-time nurse and ended up in the arrangement we had been aiming for all along: me working from home with our eventual four children while my husband provided the insurance and steady income in his role as a teacher.

And while neither of us ever really discussed the logistics of what would happen, we both kind of knew that for us, the ideal family situation meant that I would be the primary at-home parent because that's my preference, even though we would need a little extra income. But one thing I never would have thought to do in our childcare and family arrangement was to ask my husband's permission to stay home with our kids.

But according to one husband, his wife did just that—and he told her no.

Shouldn't this husband be giving his wife the courtesy to believe that she knows what's best for her, not him?

"Yes, being a stay-at-home mom has many benefits for the entire family," Sean Dunbar, a 32-year-old father of two and former Marine explained. "But I want better for my wife."

We'll just skip over the obvious negative jab he just gave stay-at-home moms everywhere with the fact that he thinks working outside of the home is somehow universally "better" and focus on the really strange piece of this story, which is that his wife actually expressed a desire to stay home—but he claims he won't let her quit.

"She started asking me whether she could quit her job and stay home with the kids. I danced around the issue, telling her things would get better," he says. "I do wonder a lot whether I'm a bad man for pushing her to do so even though she says she wants to stay home with the kids."

Um, you think?

I totally get where a husband could encourage his wife to keep working because he knows that she really does want to, despite the overwhelming amount of modern-day "mom guilt" that can accompany the decision (when it's a true choice) to work outside of the home, but to say that he won't let her quit because he's "terrified" she will lose her drive (no, really, he said that) or because having a wife that works keeps "a husband on his toes" is really doing a disservice to women everywhere.

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Call me crazy, but shouldn't this husband be giving his wife the courtesy to believe that she knows what's best for her, not him? And isn't the definition of marriage supporting your spouse wholeheartedly, not limiting him or her to what you think should happen?

I get that a mother's decision to work or stay home obviously affects the whole family, but still, I think it should be ultimately her decision.

What do you think? How much say should a partner have in the decision to work or stay home?

Image via USAToday/Asbury Park

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