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When she earns more...

06 July 2015, 14:34 Shakila Alivitsa

Nairobi - No matter how many times you go around it or urge any number of couples to talk about it, they will still dodge. It is a taboo topic for most when it comes to relationships. Also a lot of women are under the misapprehension that anything to do with money, ‘her money is her money and his money is our money!’ Meaning that he is the one that is meant to take care of all the responsibilities in the house. They can discuss his money but her money is not up for discussion.

When one partner earns more

Before when the man was the breadwinner, this was not such an issue. But in today’s relationships, both partners are earners within the relationship. At times, responsibilities are split and in other times, the man just subconsciously takes care of everything. And in most cases, it is a tag of war.

It is a sort of an unwritten rule, especially in African households that it is the man’s duty to know how to handle everything that pertains to money issues in the relationship. A man who cannot is ‘not man enough’ that is why a lot of men are allergic to the word househusband!

When we say one partner earns more, we will assume it becomes a big problem when it is a woman. It has never been a problem when it was the men. The problems that usually arose are if he is a miser, a spendthrift especially on inconsequential things or a dead beat that runs the opposing direction of his responsibilities. A relationship can easily be ruined when a woman is earning more because his respect as a man undergoes a shift. It becomes diminished.

 The following scenarios can play out. If she is earning more, does not want to discuss her money and the man is meant to take care of all the responsibilities in the house. Even the bulky ones. He says he is the man so he better not contradict himself by doing anything that goes against him being the head of the house.

If she takes over the bulky or majority of the expenses, the usual scenario is she loses respect for the man. This is when the man in Swahili terms,’ atakuwa amekaliwa.’ He is not allowed to have any ideas, have a roar that is louder than hers, ever tell her what to do as the ‘man’ of the house, or ever mention anything close to him being the head of the house. Why is he the head when he cannot take care of the family?

If they discuss money, they are drawing the budget. The money they are usually discuss is his. If he is speaking, chances are he is not aware of his wife’s income and even if he does, he better not have any ideas as to how her money should be spent. She is the one that will decide if she feel like stepping forward or not. On her own, he is never meant to probe because that then creates friction.

When we talk about submissiveness in relationships we are not necessarily talking about any person’s feet when they get home but this is one of the areas that it applies. I am not saying that you be stupid and enable a schemer, a dishonest boyfriend/ husband who does not have your interests at heart. Those women who give money blindly to a man while he uses them. That is not submissiveness but stupidity.

The submissiveness that applies here is when both of you can easily sit down together as a couple and even if you earn the biggest share within the relationship, you do not treat him with disrespect. Both of you can easily talk without him being worried that you will scream his head off, insult him and be vain about it. You will do the relationship a great justice if you and your partner can easily sit down and justly decide how to properly apportion responsibilities in the household.

Not everyone is comfortable with their partner knowing what they earn. Keep your secrets but be fair in the relationship when it comes to handling your money issues. Do not let the other partner carry the most of it when your partner knows you can do more.

Do not let the way you budget your relationship dictate the level of respect you give your partner.

If as the woman you handle the bigger tasks because you can and he cannot due to salary differences, the above applies to you.

To the men, the above applies to your stay at home wife. She did not arrive to that decision on her own chances are you encouraged her. So do not start insulting her later for what you asked her to do. If you knew you did not want that, you should have spoken up when she suggested it. If the economy has not turned out the way you wanted and you are now being strained then this is when you sit her down and tell her it is time she stopped staying at home and help out. It will not be simple but the best relationships thrive on such honesty. She might not like it, but when some things getting cut off-some luxuries- at least you warned her. This scenario does not apply to the men that get a second wife or the side chick. You got yourself in that situation, it is not your wife’s duty to handle that burden. This is when you are told to man up because you got yourself there. Do not have four wives if your paycheck has space for only one household!

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- MyNews24

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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