Dealing With Wealth in Marriage

Many a time, couples get into a marriage without a clue on how to do couple “things”. They stagger through it. They sometimes make mistakes, which may make or mar the marriage.

You have your parents’ marriage (if they were still together as at the time you want to get married), marriages of family/friends, social media, TV, books, to look up to as models of what to expect, but the truth is that no 2 marriages are the same. It’s amazing but true!

In Nigeria, culture plays a very big role in shaping the expectations, attitudes and behaviour of couples. For instance, it is the expectation of the Bride-to-be that the husband, is to be richer than she is. It is her expectation that he will take care of all or most of the bills. It is also her expectation that over a short period of time they will have enough money to at least “look rich’, have a car or cars, etc.

For the Husband-to-be, culture may shape his thinking to be that his wife-to-be will take care of anything and everything relating to housekeeping, children & family. She is to be quiet most of the time and not have a dissenting voice. He should be greeted at the door and waited on, hand and foot. His wife can have money, but not as much as him. She would be expected to treat his family well and if possible better than her own. She would be expected not to voice her urges but wait for him to beckon to her.

There are so many combinations –while many of us feel that we are too modern to think or be like that,we find that some ofthese things are lurking in our very core,controlling the things we do and want unconsciously.

How does a wife deal with a wealthy husband who is audacious, mouthy and arrogant? How does she consistently convince her husband that she is not in the marriage for money sake? Hmm..Not such an easy task. She can only try or give up and be herself!

How does a Husband deal with a wealthy wife? Tough! It can swing two ways. If she became wealthy after the marriage depending on how the wife handles things, she may be accused of having “changed’ she is said to be ‘feeling big” and trying to be controlling her husband or she may feel a nagging sense of guilt to socially “elevate “him. Giving him the remote control of her finances so to speak, so everyone else thinks the wealth is coming from him.

How uncomfortable things can be in a marriage with no money and plenty love. Again how uncomfortable things can get with too much money and no love. Women have the arduous job of looking for balance in the home. Does being married to a wealthy man mean a wife shouldn’t ask for what she needs? Must she pretend not to like the wealth? Or must she keep her wealth to herself and spend it secretly so as not to rock the boat? If one person makes all the money and the other spends it, how do you guard against dissatisfaction at some point (except where that other person is disadvantaged by health, level of education, etc.)

Must couples decide together how each other person’s money should be spent on the household or other project? Must the woman give any money other than to take care of specific things like food, some of the children’s bills, gifts to family? Must the husband spend a dime, if his wife can afford to take on all the responsibility? If couples remain passive about wealth or money at that, they risk a growth in the spirit of “assumption” which if not checked transforms to discontent.

Couples must face all of this! Discuss money. Give allowances to each other. Respect the wishes of your Spouse. Lay down your rules and expectations about each other’s money even if the rules are that there are no rules. Work together. If it helps, do things in turns. Find out what makes you both happy.

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I envision Hilda’s Shoulder to be a relationship park-a place you go to learn, vent and share. I have another understanding of the word relationship -I don’t think it is for people dating only. A marriage is a relationship too, and one which needs great rela- tions in the SHIP called home!
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