When she earns more...
06 July 2015, 14:34
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
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
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
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