Akans say sika ye mogya or money is the blood of life. This is because money is essential in all areas of life, especially in marriage which is the most important human investment.
You need money for health, shelter and food. With money, you buy goods and services. Money also gives you stability, security and positive self-esteem. Your money also spills over to your children and society.
One interesting thing about money is that it is never enough. Rich people worry about how to keep what they have, the possibility of losing what they have and how to earn more. The poor feel that if only they could have more money their lives will greatly improve and they would be happy.
We all worry about money and most couples fight over money no matter how much they earn. In fact in Ghana money is the leading cause of all conflicts, separation and divorce. The good news is that the problems about money is not about its absence of excess but on our attitude and management of it.
A couple of weeks ago, a marriage counsellor said on radio that the moment a husband asks a wife to pay for utility bill, she must know she is no longer in marriage but in business. This comment has generated a great debate and we ask; must a wife contribute financially to the upkeep of the home?
There are some women who think it is the man’s responsibility to cater for everything in the home. This mindset is rooted in past traditional beliefs when men were the bread winners and the women were the home keepers.
Among the Akans for example, children are the focus in marriage and they belong to the woman’s extended family. Any property the woman acquires goes to the extended family but any liability incurred by the woman goes to the man! This ideology is fast fading but some women still hold on the old tradition.
Imagine a couple who are both civil servants and earn similar salaries. The man complains the woman keeps her income a secret and expects the man to foot all bills in the home.
He says even when the toothpaste is finished and he is away, his wife will wait as many days as it takes for him to come and replace it before she brushes her teeth!
Yes, she must contribute
Today, most women have acquired skills, work and earn good incomes. At the same time, cost of living has gone up sharply and this makes it hard for a husband to meet the needs in the home.
At no time has fighting economic battles demanded joint effort of husband and wife as today. Therefore, no matter how small your income, you must contribute to the upkeep of the home.
A husband who does not feel supported may stay away from home to work harder and longer hours at the cost of your marriage. Again, a man who meets all your needs may not respect you and leave you when his finances go down.
What to do
Depending on your attitude and management, money could be a servant or bad master. You must ,therefore, take control of your finances and never allow money to run your marriage. Plan and work together as a couple because you are one flesh.
Discuss the options for contributing to the home and choose what you are both comfortable with and be flexible with your contributions to the home. If a man is expected to pay utility bill but he is unable to meet his expected income, there is nothing wrong with a woman coming in to help out.
Draw a budget
Work hard and gain money, honestly save and invest carefully. Money is a reflection of your values in your marriage because where your treasure is there, your heart will be. Be content with what you have and live a life of sharing.
If you have to contribute all you have just to keep your marriage happy and strong, do not miss a thing because whatever you invest in your marriage will come back to you flowing over.
Use money as a servant to fulfill the dreams in your marriage.