“For more than sixty-five years, I have listened to the problems that people face in in their marriages and families. I have discovered that all marital problems center around four things namely: 1. Religion 2. Sex 3. Money and 4. Children.” – Kenneth E. Hagin.
Finance is a major issue in marriages simply because finance is a major issue of life. How can two different people who have different philosophy to money, different earning capacity, different level of income, different spending habits, different interests and wants fuse their financial lives together, take decisions together regarding their income and expenditure in a manner that even in their finances, they’ll be no longer two but one?
Several people will like to pursue oneness with their spouses in every other area but the area of finances. It’s a very sensitive area. It requires a lot of trust and humility to give someone else access into the private details of your earning and allow them have a say into how to use your own money. Yet, some people have abused such access. They begin to make unreasonable demands. There will always be an endless list of those trumped up needs that must be financed. The bigger challenge is the fact you have to submit the decision over your own money to the approval of someone who may not even yet share your vision as deeply as it may be embedded in your own heart.
But despite how tough it is for a couple to achieve financial oneness, it is a must if they’ll truly be one. Oneness between a couple that excludes financial oneness is an artificial oneness. Our money always flows in the direction of our heart. If we cannot therefore agree together with our spouses regarding the direction of our money, then we cannot agree together concerning the direction of our hearts. In no time, we will be perfect strangers to each other’s heartbeat, projects, visions, aspirations and therefore perfect strangers to each other. How then do we build this important trust and humility that can help us to unite even in our finances?
Several people believe that if there is a lot of money in the hands of a couple, there will be a lot of peace in a relationship. They can take care of their needs as they arise. Lack exerts a lot of pressure on life. Pressure that can bring out character you’ll never believe people possess. We live in a material world. There is hardly anything you can do without this bill of exchange to which everything in the material world has been tied.
So no doubt, if money is available, all of those touchiness and irritability as a result of lack would be missed. The usual pent up anger that women always possess when they believe their man is not rising to the occasion as he ought to will also be a nonexistent phenomenon.
Then, romance. Romance requires money. Not to say there aren’t romantic stunts that can be pulled without money but romance in a sustained and creative manner is capital intensive. Everyone knows that it’s more romantic to drive your babe in a Mercedes 4matic Jeep, leather seat, Full AC with Nathaniel Bassey’s trumpet blaring in the background than to hound her into a rickety Nissan Micra (the popular taxi in Ibadan) where you’ll be sweating like Christmas goat inside the hot sun.
The reality however is that most of us won’t have a lot of money when we get married. What constitutes a lot of money on its own is relative. In economic sense, resources is always limited compared to wants no matter how much you earn. It’s why both the guy who earns #250K and the one who earns #1M monthly salary gets broke before the end of the month. The simple explanation is that your expenses will always rise to the same level of your income except you protest otherwise. The two guys will still tell you they look forward to when they’ll have a lot of money. They two can still have financial problems in their marriage because money is not enough and their wives are nagging.
So therefore, it will be critical for us to interrogate the question, “how do we build a loving, peaceful and romantic marriage despite the fact we don’t “have a lot of money?””
I must quickly add however that the proposition that the presence of a lot of money in marriage precipitates peace is itself flawed. It can precipitate peace if all other things are equal. Generally, both lack and abundance can threaten a relationship. You sometimes never know what some people are capable of doing for instance until money enters their hand.
There are sins that a poor man cannot afford even if he’s interested in them. When money comes, pride can get inflated; when money comes, even an ugly man looks very attractive to the most beautiful girl around and so they’ll chase him. There are several wives of very rich and powerful men who lost their marriages to the “prosperity” of their spouses and vice versa. So we need to learn how to handle both lack and abundance without a scratch on the love we share with our partners.
Then there is the issue of gender roles regarding marital finance. Whose responsibility is it to provide what? Is the man really the provider? If yes, what’s the woman supposed to use her own money for in a marriage? Then, is the submission of a woman a response to the financial leadership of a man so that whenever the man fails to provide, submission is withdrawn? As a man, how do you handle a situation where your spouse earns more than you? Is that supposed to threaten your sense of being in charge?
What do you do as a woman when your husband’s finances suddenly dwindles and his esteem disappears alongside? Can you still submit to a financially inferior man as a wife if you discover his finances for years refused to improve?
In the first place, is the esteem of a man supposed to be tied to his capacity to supply money?
These and many more are what we’ll interrogate in details in the coming weeks. This will be an interesting and life changing series for many. I hope you won’t miss any. See you next week as we interrogate the question, IS MAN THE PROVIDER?
Peniela Eniayo Akintujoye.
©Peniela Eniayo, Akintujoye| email@example.com