“I’m still going to ask Ezike for money for my wedding dress; he doesn’t need to know I got it for free.” That’s what my former coworker, Shade, said after she won a free Pnina Tornai wedding dress from a bridal boutique. I responded with a full expression of disbelief all over my face. “You have got to be kidding! What do you plan to do with the money since you already have a dress? Save it for your new home?” “New home ko, new mansion ni. Of course it will be my personal spending money,” she said.
I have heard this said too many times by my fellow naija sisters – “It doesn’t matter how much I make or how much he makes; my money is my money, and his money is our money.” Let me call a spade a spade – it is selfish.
About Shade I wondered, “who did you call when you got the news that you won the wedding dress? Shouldn’t Ezike have been the first to know? Shouldn’t your joy be his joy and your savings, his savings?” Why place such a heavy burden on your husband to solely provide for your home like we are in 1912? What if he loses his job and is unemployed for several months? What happens then? Your money still remains yours?
Here are two implications of this way of thinking.
Implication #1. It puts a lot of pressure on men to fill the “provider” role, and because they don’t want to dent their ego, they don’t share their financial struggles with you. They pretend to you as though all is well, while they go out borrowing money to fund home necessities. All this happens while you spend “your” money wastefully because you know, “your money is your money”. Do you see how ridiculous this is? Later you complain that he doesn’t have much regard for you.
Aunty, wake up! You both are partners. Partners work together, share information, strategize together, share their highs and lows together, and share their “haves” together. Bia, think about it. Wouldn’t it even bring you pride if you contributed towards things in your home, like buying your kids’ school uniforms, or paying for the groceries? No? Not really? Ok, never mind.
Implication #2. It often gives men a false sense of superiority. Because you are expecting him to provide for the home, he most likely will expect you to be responsible for all the domestic chores. Before nko? I’m talking breakfast, lunch, and dinner prepared by you his cook; laundry, groceries, and cleaning done by who? You of course, his maid. Bathing the kids, chauffeuring them to and from their activities, and assisting with their homework will be done by none other than….yep, you guessed right…you, their nanny, AKA madam “my money is my money”. And don’t you dare complain that he doesn’t help out. Just sit there quietly and enjoy your money to yourself.
Now before you start implying things I didn’t say, this post is targeted towards couples where both parties work, as against full time stay at home moms or dads, who by the way are the real MVPs. This post is also not intended in any way to diminish the man’s role as the head of the home.
I’d like to suggest an alternative approach to this method of thinking. What if you both shared what you have and agreed on a budget that outlines exactly how you would spend it? If you really care to have this so-called “personal” money, then write it into the budget. What is most important is that you are both on the same page, instead of hiding money in places unknown. When you hoard or hide things from each other, you miss out on the opportunity to maximize the enjoyment in your relationship.
I personally don’t care to have a rack of money that excludes my husband. I want to enjoy living life with him, I want to save with him and invest with him for our future. I am happy when I buy things for him, because his joy is my joy; and he is happy when I buy things for myself because my joy is also his joy. So let’s correct the statement – my money is our money and his money is our money.
I know couples have so many different approaches to handling their finances. Please share your thoughts on this, and if you are enjoying my blog so far, kindly consider subscribing (scroll down to see the field to enter your email).