The Sunday Mail
My father was a clever man. He never earned much but he used to give my mother all his salary. She would do all the budget and was the one who would go to buy everything that was needed in the house.
If there was some change, she would give my father a few dollars to buy beer, here and there.
I didn’t understand why he would give all his salary to my mother yet he was the one working. I only understood his strategy the day he was counselling a couple that was on the verge of divorce.
Their story was like this: the wife was demanding more yet the husband was earning little. She didn’t know how much he was earning. She just assumed he had money. He would give her some money but she would squander all of it thinking “he still had some more”. When, in fact, what he gave her was all he had.
The man was accusing his wife of being a bad steward whilst she was accusing him of not disclosing his whole salary; she thought he was giving her change whilst keeping the rest for other women.
My father said as he was counselling them: “the reason why I stopped fighting with my wife about finances was the day I gave her my payslip and the money I earned. My wife stopped asking me for things for she knew how much I earned and she was the one who kept all the money.
“I became the one demanding money and she would tell me that our budget didn’t allow that. If your wife suspects that you have more than what you actually have, you will always be fighting. She will misuse money thinking you are spending your money with other women.
“So why should I be responsible with the little you are giving me, she might be thinking. With this approach you will always fight and you will have no tangible things in your relationship”.
I listened to his wisdom, no longer wondering why my parents never fought.
Someone might say, “I can’t give her money for she is wasteful.” Don’t use her being wasteful as an excuse to be unaccountable. If she is really wasteful, she still deserves to know how you, “the good steward” is using the money.
Do the budget together, let her know what you did with the money and if possible show her the evidence. This way might even make her a responsible person as she will be coping accountability from you.
The issue of finance is taken lightly in many relationships. If this issue is not handled wisely, many couples face hard times. No-one must marry a career woman, who has her own income then ask her to quit her job whilst failing to provide for her needs.
All women love the idea of taking care of their families. Every woman would want to take care of her parents. What causes some conflicts is the husband stopping his wife from working and after that, refusing to take care of her parents.
First, the man would have killed his wife’s career. No-one would want to go to school and acquire all those diplomas and degrees, only to be asked to stay home.
My father never wanted my mother to work, he stopped her from pursuing her career in nursing. My mother kept talking about that. Whenever she saw a nurse walking or whenever she was frustrated, she would bring that up.
Any woman who feels like she has potential but is suppressed will always fight. Imagine hearing a married woman saying to her husband: “if I was working we wouldn’t be eating this junk food, if you didn’t stop me from working we wouldn’t be staying in this dilapidated house or our children would be going to a better school than this”.
As she says this, her husband would be frustrated. He will feel like she isn’t appreciating him. This will cause fights and might lead to problems in the family set-up.
If you think you can make your wife stay at home, you better be extremely rich. Otherwise they won’t be peace in that home. If she was supposed to be a teacher, make sure you give her a budget that is better than what was supposed to be her net worth or salary.
In life we all want something better. No one would settle for less, so why force your wife to settle for less when she can earn more money?
So, how do we handle cases where couples earn similar amounts of money but the man is the only one covering all the expenses? Or situations where the wife doesn’t want to contribute a single cent? How do we handle a case where a woman earns more or she is the only one earning in that household? What should be done?
We will cover all these scenarios in upcoming articles.
Brian Matsaira is a love and relationships coach and can be contacted on [email protected]