Most men are typically the breadwinner in a family. They make more money and that is a realty of cultural attitudes, discrimination, and the media, among other things. Often, if the roles are reversed, and the woman is the breadwinner in a family, the man feels emasculated, and feels insecure in the second placed role. When the husband is no longer the "master of the universe" the marriage is also stressed.
But what is it about money that makes things so volatile? I can tell you from personal experience that once being the major contributor and provider to my family was a cherished position, making me feel like a "real man" and I was proud of such an accomplishment. When times were rough, and money and my job no longer provided as I expected or wanted, the pressure was on..and everyone suffered. Yes, there were sacrifices to be made, and they weren't easy.
My wife has a small part-time job in the neighborhood. It's a "job" she loves. I tell her that when you come home everyday humming and you are able to appreciate the blue sky and beautiful birds, that you probably can't categorize what you do as a "job". Jobs have bad days. Work is hard. Labor is intense - not wonderful. She doesn't have those pressures or issues.
Having gone through such a rough financial period and recovered, I can tell you that I haven't felt like beating my chest and giving my Tarzan yell now that we are back to being "upper middle class." My once financial immortality has changed into financial resentment. Instead of the "master" I'm now feeling burdened with the responsibilities of being the breadwinner. When my wife "needs" something that I find financially inappropriate, I retort with "Sure, you can have it, if you buy it with your own money." That usually ends the discussion.
What happened to my masculinity? What happened to my generosity? What happened to sharing my money with my wife as equals? Why do I think that I'm deserving of having my own "reserve fund?" I don't want to feel like an accounting department, issuing approvals of expenditures, but I also don't want to open the floodgates of financial oblivion.
Money is the root of all evil -especially in a marriage.