My dear Jil,
One thing you can expect from me always is candour – honesty and truth. No syrup, no cream… just candour!
You asked if money matters in a relationship. My unequivocal answer is, yes! Especially if the two of you intend to progress your relationship to marriage. Then money matters even more! (Just being honest and laying it straight). Lack of money puts enormous strain on a relationship. The idealism of a closeted university relationship has nothing on the real world I assure you. What you call “fine boy” on campus is a suave physically chiselled adonis adept at the lyrical rhapsody of Babyface. When he says “Baby, baby…” in octaves and falsetto, your heart is enraptured, transported to a world beyond this plane!
In the real world, a lack of money brings you down to earth. A “fine boy” outside campus perimeters is a man who can take care of his woman and take care of his responsibilities. A real world fine man works hard to provide security for his woman and a woman wants security.
Money means a lot to you. You just don’t realise it yet. Wait until things get strained. You won’t believe yourself when you’re tired of sacrificing and hoping and believing! You don’t know your frustrated self! I assume you want a nice car, and you want to live in a less densely populated neighbourhood. You want to travel and you want designer labels. There’s nothing wrong with these desires. But Virgin Atlantic tickets can’t be bought with groundnuts. And Prada bags are not corporate social responsibility giveaways! Means your boyfriend has to work hard doesn’t it? If he’s to give you the life you want he has work to do.
Am I saying he must be a millionaire? Heavens no! (Though it’ll help if he becomes one. I’m sure you won’t mind!) But he must have a financial vision. He must have drive! He must have ambition! He must have a dream of taking care of you. HE MUST HAVE A JOB! He must also have capacity for elevation to be considered fit for promotion, or he’ll mortgage your future! Where you start from won’t matter if these traits are present. In a matter of time God will promote him. But even God can’t help a lazy man. And I have a feeling he has a special disdain for the lazy smooth talker! If he’s full of excuses and thinks in probabilities, beware. He won’t go to work ’cause there may be a lion down the road! He’ll explain why others are succeeding and he not. He’ll itemise millitating circumstances with copious analyses.
In African culture, people rally round a young man to make his marriage feasible. Friends and family contribute means and resources to help the young man realise his matrimonial dream. But if you’ve been observant, after a certain age a man is disqualified from being a community project! No one for example, contributes towards the marriage of a mature man who is considered long overdue for marriage. He has to finance his wedding solo. A man has to get his act together before a certain age, or he becomes a parable! He’s got to sort out his hustle.
Your father took care of your needs from childhood to adulthood. You are lucky. You never had to worry about school fees for example. Not everyone is this fortunate. Some women have to take care of themselves, and then others. They put their siblings through school. They became responsible too early in life. “Responsible” is all they’ve been in life. It’s all they know. They’re used to it! Yet the refrain I hear from even these women is that they’re tired of taking care of themselves. They want someone else to take care of them! They want a man to assume responsibility for them. In other words, even strong women desire to be taken care of. With a few exceptions that’s a woman’s natural desire.
I’m not talking about living off a man. Chip in to help, contribute; but the man must assume his responsibility. And you can’t want to be like the Jones’ at your boyfriend’s expense. Don’t turn him to Tom Jones! “Wanting to belong” puts enormous pressure on a young man, and it’s foolish! It’s a false assumption of masculinity. Fingers aren’t equal, backgrounds are different. We start at different levels, going to different places. If he’s lacking in backbone, he’ll do something stupid, or criminal, just to please you. And then you’ll leave him!
Desire can easily spill into covetousness, and greed. A woman must learn contentment. The bags will never be enough. Fashion is fickle. There will always be new trends. And you don’t want to be Imelda Marcos!
Money reduces pressure on a relationship, but you must avoid putting undue pressure on a young man. Even if he can meet your needs, a relationship built on money will eventually falter. The only substance is credit card.
A man must be responsible. And if you can discuss number of babies with your boyfriend you can discuss house rent too! Living in his family house with his mother is a no, no! A woman needs her own home, her wardrobe and her kitchen. Even if his mother is an angel, you still need space to solidify your marriage. A marriage must not be cramped. And if she’s a monster-in-law, she’ll selfishly drive a wedge between you to keep her son.
I hope this helps.
Your mentor, LA!
©Leke Alder 2013