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Read Letter

Money Matters 2

My dear Jack, if you don’t want the truth don’t ask me for advice. I’ve told you money is important in marriage. A lack of money can break a marriage. And where it doesn’t it can do irreparable damage. It will reconfigure the relationship between you and your wife. It’s why I tell young men not to go into marriage without a job. You’re going to put enormous strain on the marriage. No matter how much you love each other, when there’s no money the union will be pressured.And when a marriage is under financial strain, men and women exhibit strange characters. You’ll be shocked what that goody goody girlfriend of yours will do under financially induced marital strain. Even you will change under pressure. And financial pressure can be particularly hard on young men. Linked to self-esteem.

Life demands of young men they substantiate their affection with means. And because men define themselves by attainment, a lack of money greatly affects social status. When there’s financial pressure, the more your wife tries to console and comfort you the more you’ll snap. The brunt of financial pressure is borne by those in close proximity. And so both of you will turn on each other. Then the illogical begins to happen. You’ll grow superstitious, wondering if marrying the young woman was the incipience of a regime of lack… Wondering whether the woman is a harbinger of bad fortune you shouldn’t have married. That’s what lack of money can do in a marriage. It breeds fear and turns you into a spiritual analyst. And so the woman becomes the enemy, a suspect, not an ally. And things spiral down from there. Controlled by superstition and fear, you’ll refuse to eat her food. Maybe she “spiked” it. Soon your mother-in-law will become a witch. Along with her daughters, they’re a coven of witches. Why won’t you just spare yourself arrant and suspicious spirituality and just go and get yourself a job?

I have said it before: there’s the sentimentality of love. But there’s also the dutifulness of love. Love portends responsibility. Love has a disciplinary component. Love is patient, love is kind, love is not envious, love is not boastful or proud… Love doesn’t demand its own way, love hardly notices when the other does it wrong… Those definitions of love are beyond sentimentalism. They bespeak restraint, discipline and responsibility. Love is responsible and disciplined.

Now I don’t know the philosophy you subscribe to as per marriage…(Every marriage is guided by a philosophy of life)… But where I’m coming from, a man must be responsible for his wife and kids. He must provide for them. And your financial responsibility is independent of the income of your wife, though you can create a combine. But if you subscribe to the notion of being a house-husband, all well and good. It’s your choice and I respect that. It’s a new sociology, but don’t complain you’re not accorded respect. If you want respect as man- and respect means a lot to us men, be financially responsible in your marriage. As a man there are things you must do. I’m sure you have expectations of your wife too. But something tells me, deep down no one wants to marry a liability. Everyone wants an asset. And no one wants to marry a depreciating asset either, or redundant asset. Redundancy has carrying cost.

And it’s not just about you. You want your son to be proud of you as a father. You want him to emulate you. You want to be a worthy example to your son, to be a living example. It may be tough paying those school fees at times but all the young man wants to know is, “Daddy is trying!” Have you ever wondered why the children of drunks hate their father? Think about it. It’s not just that he’s raucous and uncontrollable and a social disgrace. There’s also the issue of him debilitating the only productive asset in the home- their mother. In principle, an irresponsible father is no different from that drunk. Irresponsibility is a common factor. Get a job. It might not be the ideal job you want but your wife knows you’re doing something. And your little son knows Daddy is working hard, struggling. He will pray for you. And you pass on to your son the values of work ethic, honesty, discipline, self-worth. If your son doesn’t imbibe those values your old age may not be pleasant.

The woman has to handle the social disgrace of no money in marriage. She has to buy goods on credit. And she has friends. She either has to keep lying (and they know she’s lying) or relate in shame. That’s not saying you should be like the Joneses. Much of the avowed prosperity of the Joneses is a mirage. You never know the true story about the Joneses. And your name is not Tom Jones. So there’s the contentment side to manliness, being proud of what you’ve achieved so far, hoping for the best. No, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about laboring with your own hands and looking out for opportunities. And when opportunities come, grabbing them with both hands… Being diligent in the pursuit of the future. But if you start making excuses for non-achievement, you’re going to turn it into a philosophy.

And please don’t hate what you desire. Stop hating the successful. Not every successful person is crooked. I’m just saying the pressure won’t stop on your marriage until you sort out the money angle. Get a job! You start somewhere and you progress. The longer you put off getting into employment the more you defer the future. Don’t allow life overtake you. And you know that’s happening when your colleagues are zooming past you. And that’s my ounce of advice. What you do with it is really up to you.

Your mentor, LA.

© Leke Alder

Tags : Love, Life, Marriage, Money

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