Friday, August 2, 2013

Let's talk about Finances

Ok, I’m gonna really try so this isn’t a long post; help me Jesus, work this miracle J

‘Money isn’t everything but make sure you make enough before you can say that’. Those are the words captioned in a picture on my phone. Surely, with the present economy and demands of day-to-day living, I do not need to qualify the importance of financial stability and buoyancy. The business of living cannot be achieved without meeting some needs, and even the basic ones require a medium of exchange which is mostly money. So, while money may not be ‘everything’ and we shouldn’t be controlled by it; living without money can be a herculean task.

I can get the figures and statistics but all you have to do is take a closer look around you and you will find that finances is a major score to settle in marriages. Responsibilities abound and if they are not met, frustration and conflict tend to set in. Praise George said, ‘poverty will frustrate love until it fades away’ and I am inclined to agree with him. In the span of two weeks, some of the occurrences I have experienced reinforce the importance of Financial Agreement in a marriage and there was no way I was gonna rest until I shared it on here, so let’s muse together shall we?

I still cannot find the answer to this question a lady asked on a group I belong to on Facebook: why do most men get offended when their wives ask about how they spend money? Apparently, some men believe that if they make the money, they have a right to spend it as they please and are not to be held accountable to their spouse nor God. That kind of brother shouldn’t have bothered to get married. In marriage, I believe the ‘my’ is traded for the ‘our’; it’s no more ‘my money’ but ‘our money’ because how money is spent affects the entire family. Can two walk together except they agree? It’s not a cliché, agreement and compatibility in finances is imperative. This is an area that should be thoroughly addressed BEFORE saying ‘I do’.

Where there is unity and agreement, there is progress. This is not about financial affluence or lack but about compatibility and met expectations. Who is gonna pay which bill? Who is responsible for what? What amount of money do we spend on feeding and monthly groceries? What standard of living do we want? How often do we go on vacations? Do we run a joint account or contribute a certain percentage of our incomes monthly? What percentage of our incomes goes to what? Who does what? Talk about it and settle it before signing the certificate. There is no one size that fits all and it really depends on the two individuals involved but there is a predestined way that God has ordained things and if you want His blessings and a marriage like he created it to be, you best be doing it His way. Please click here

In view of the post provided through the link, the importance of a woman’s role in a marriage is in no way undermined, Proverbs 31 y’all! Both man and woman have significant roles to play in the success of a marriage but where finances are concerned, the man’s role is more prominent and this is why the focus is on the men. Nowadays, a lot of marriages have mixed up these God ordained roles and responsibilities. The woman plays the husband’s role while the man becomes the wife and we wonder why the divorce rate is competing favourably with Mount Everest.

Having established the importance of finances in a marriage and the responsibility of the man to provide for his home, the onus lies of the two individuals coming together as man and wife to set the pace they want. Financial Compatibility, Financial Intelligence/Wisdom, Financial Accountability, value for money, attitude towards money, background, standard of living are some of the factors to be considered. A lady from a wealthy home may marry a guy from an average background if they have an agreement. Can the guy meet up to the standard the lady is accustomed to or is the lady willing to sacrifice and learn to live in a more meager way? In my experience, people are usually aiming for financial increase and not decrease but where there is an agreement, things tend to run better.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman shouldering the family finances when situations arise and the man cannot, this is why she is a helpmeet BUT it is NOT the woman’s responsibility to provide for the home and such a situation shouldn’t be for too long. I am an advocate of a professional career woman who earns an income and contributes to the family finances, what I however do not subscribe to is a situation where this is considered her responsibility. No one wants to marry a liability and it is advisable for women to also earn and contribute to the finances in the home; this not only boosts the purse of the family but also provides an enabling and supportive environment. The clause is when the man becomes comfortable with the woman taking care of all the financial responsibility in the home. I have seen and heard enough to know that NO WOMAN is happy carrying the financial responsibility in the home but if you know one who is, I am willing to meet her. A man is naturally a provider and takes pride in his ability to cater for his home; it is the way it is.

The clause here is compatibility; don’t be unequally yoked with someone who doesn’t share your orientation about money and finances: someone who considers taking vacations a waste of money while you think otherwise, someone who doesn’t have financial intelligence but wants to control the money, and someone who gambles and invests on whims, the list is endless. Money can be the root of evil only when we allow it to be. Money shouldn’t control a man and so it is important that we understand its workings and do the needful to avoid financial conflicts in marriage. I am not saying there won’t be money issues in marriage but it shouldn’t threaten it. If you are in doubt about how money can indeed end a marriage, I leave you with this real occurrence Praise George shared:

Jide and Sharon (not real names) were in love and set to marry each other. Jide was an upcoming artist who was finding his feet and thus didn’t have a regular income flow while Sharon who is from a wealthy home had a fabulous job with a fabulous income. They sought counsel from him and he advised Jide to wait till he had a regular source of income before marrying Sharon who was accustomed to having the fine things of life, so he could provide them for her. They allayed his concerns explaining that Sharon’s income was enough to take care of their financial needs until Jide found his feet. Two years into marriage, they divorced. Jide’s business did not boom and Sharon got tired of ‘wearing the pants’ in the home, she felt she even did better as a single than when married. Need I say more? Nah #nuff said!

Mo’ Omoregee 2013
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