…a healthy marriage is not one with all the money in the world, but one with two forgiving partners; two transparent partners; two people with self control; two reasonable partners; and two partners that are first in love with Christ before they fell in love with each other.
Recently, I drew a list of the 12 important principles, among others, that have helped me in my marriage. These principles were published in a major Nigerian Newspaper. Consequently, I have been getting feedbacks from different people across Nigeria. One gentle man wrote me and said, “I agree with everything you’ve said, but on the matters of allowing your spouse access to your finance, I disagree with you”. He went further to tell me about his wife’s excesses with money and the consequences of these on his marriage. I replied by reminding him that I made it clear in my article that I am not the standard to be followed, and that he was at liberty to do whatever he thinks was right in his own eyes.
Though, I am a mentor to many people, I never ever allowed people to look up to me as a standard. I detest affirmation and accolades. I am extremely careful about this, which explains the reason I always point people back to the Bible and to Christ whenever I get accolades and commendations. But here is the simple truth. Like all of us, I still make mistakes in my marriage. Though, God has helped me to develop some strong values, I am still not a saint. Myself and my wife still disagree and quarrel. But with a lot of prayers, patience and the application of some of the biblical principles I have shared, I have been able to manage our challenges to a very minimal level.
But here is my point.
Financial transparency is one of the critical pillars of a healthy marriage. Sadly, not many marriages practice this, given the unique attributes of each couple that interplay in a marriage institution. I understand that those who will be reading this message belong to two generic categories, married couples and singles. If you have married a very greedy and dishonest man or woman, it will very difficult to expect an overnight solution to this problem. Also, there will be singles, who to me, are much easier to mentor. If you are a single, you must not go into marriage with a “closed system” mindset. We use the closed system analogy in systems engineering to represent systems that are not transparent to other systems, no one knows what is going on in their world. This is not the model for marriage. Both parties must be naked to each other in their finances. Let your spouse know your financial worth as well as the sources of your finance. It builds trust; makes you less prone to unnecessary pressure from your spouse; engenders unity of purpose and helps to prevent extra-marital affairs. It is much easier to spend money on a strange woman if your wife does not know how much money you’ve got.
For the married, who have already married partners who are spendthrifts or resource wasters, a lot of financial re-orientation with a lot of constructive fights in an environment of patience will be needed. Your spouse will not change overnight. Also, the male and female genders differ appreciably in many ways. Men are less emotional than women. Men are deep thinkers, and are often more future oriented and calculative in their thoughts and plans. Conversely, women are more sensitive to solving immediate problems that men may likely overlook. Women can easily detect present problems and looming dangers that may take men ten years to detect. Thus, the women’s immediate problem solving approach often clashes with men’s futuristic approach. Both approaches have merits and demerits. This is the purpose of dialogue and compromise in marriage.
Also, in the world of men, the usual perception is that women have greater tendencies to be over-demanding, and even in many cases, men perceive women as resource wasters. Consequently, most men would tend towards hiding their finances from their wives. But this cannot be generalized for all women in all climes. Culture plays a role here. Family background plays a role here. Personal development and career status play strong roles here. Not all women waste money and expend resources on irrelevant things. I cannot say that my wife is perfect, but she is an exemplary woman with the management of resources. She can give out her eyes to people in need, but will never waste money on clothes or shoes or parties or whatever. She would always look for things in the cheapest places they can be bought. Some of our quarrels had to do with her telling me not to spend money on expensive things for the children. You will never see my wife wasting money on clothes, though she is very fashionable. She would dig out the cheapest brands of the same high quality material. How she does it still amazes me. The quality will be great, but the price will be low. She would always want to conserve resources for more important issues of life.
That said, I would still not recommend a one-cap fits all strategy for all marriages. If your spouse can finish your salary in one day, then you will need to devise a means that works for your home, while maintaining some descent levels of transparency. I would still advise that certain descent levels of financial transparency must be instituted in all marriages, particularly in Christian marriages. The benefits far outweigh the negative consequences that men are running away from. A lot of men who hide their finances and resources from their wives have died unexpectedly and have lost their resources to extended family members and business partners, leaving their own families in peril and poverty.
In conclusion, a healthy marriage is not one with all the money in the world, but one with two forgiving partners; two transparent partners; two people with self control; two reasonable partners; and two partners that are first in love with Christ before they fell in love with each other.It is that love for God that will set boundaries for both couples in their manners and behavior towards each other. And no one can be genuinely in love with Jesus and be inflicting pains on the partner or be working against the interest of the spouse.
Ayo Akerele, a leadership and system development strategist, and minister of the word, writes from Canada and can be reached through email@example.com.
Support PREMIUM TIMES’ journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: Call Willie – +2348098788999