Just as the impromptu meeting Bolu had in his office with IT team was about to end, his phone rang unexpectedly. Everyone kept quiet for the head to attend to his call. He stretched his hand, picked up the handset and looked at the screen. Instantly, his facial expression changed as the warm smile that adorned his face as he joked with colleagues during the meeting, which was spiced with snacks, vanished. He managed to hide his feeling, but Tony, his supervisor sensed the call was from his wife of many years and kept mum as well. Bolu took the call, but the tone of his responses was not friendly as he listened to the caller, who reeled out a list of what he should buy for the home on his way back from work. Angrily, he dropped the iPhone on the table and muttered: “She is fond of this every day; must she distract me with her several calls to tell me what to bring home from work. Has my office become the market? I mean she has a flourishing fashion business and can comfortably take care of these things for which she disturbs me with demands to buy them.
Well, when witty Pa Eseoghene, a retired civil servant, once joked that women’s money does not see the light of the day, it was dismissed as one of those cranky jokes of old people, but in the real sense, women and the idea of hiding money is a story for another day. But the old man’s an ally in Aleshinloye, a Barrister, who kept wondering why women hide money from their husbands. He revealed that at no time would his wife ever agree she has money despite the fact that she works with a transport company and earns salary. “I began to fear my wife when she lost her car in a careless inferno. The next day she replaced that car from her bank account. It was a relief for me though, but most surprised me was the fact that my wife had saved upto six-figures, unknown to me. When I confronted her, she simply said it was her money.”
The Bible enjoins a man in Malachi 4:33, to provide for his family and even stresses that a man “who does not provide for his family is worse that an infidel.” Women have taken to always quoting this Scripture whenever they want to harass their husbands with their financial demands. Granted that it is the duty of the man to do the needful, but should women, including working class ladies earning good income, unduly squeeze their husbands to pick every bill? Some women find it so easy to pay tithe, give offering and bless their pastors at will, but their husbands bear all the financial burdens at home. Is this right, just and fair? Is it really righteous? I am not here to admonish women to hand over their earnings to their husbands. My point is that they should do the little they can. Yes, the little they can should be done knowing the home belongs to both of them. Therefore, they should join hands in all efforts, including the financial aspect of running the home. Know it from today that as the women dislike indolent men, so also do men dislike similar women. No matter how much a husband provides to cover most family needs, there is nothing wrong if the woman and mother of the children supports her man even in finances. It is not only in the other room that two become one. But they should also be one in funding the family. Take the case of Enobong, 38, a photographer who asked her husband to buy football for their young sons that were in primary school at the time, to keep them busy during the long vacation. Nkere, her husband asked her, what will happen if you buy the football for your sons? Are you not also their mother? Who says mothers cannot buy football for their sons and he left her.
It was this very issue of women hiding money that compelled Chuks, a distant relative, to draw up a financial responsibility list for himself and his wife, Ada, a banker. Chuks said to her: “After 18 years of our marriage, I have single handedly shouldered every financial responsibility in this house from paying rent, to building our home and even replacing the bottle of the water dispenser. Henceforth, I have drawn a list which is contestable between us in our bedroom.” Ada’s list included taking care of everything about feeding; all the children’s clothing needs, toiletries, all care for the girls, herself and her parents. Chuks took care of school fees, healthcare, changing and maintenance of cars, etc. He added if any of the children should travel outside the country for further studies, he would pay the foreign school fees while the wife would buy the air ticket. Then he threw for good measure: ‘In fact, you know what should be in a woman’s list, take care of them all. You have been working in the bank for 10 years; your money is not seen or felt in this home. We cannot continue like this.”
Ada’s first response was: “You did not send me to school, even though I agree you have done well, but do not forget that I also service the spiritual aspect of our living and being as a family which also costs money.” She cited examples of taking up financial responsibilities in the church. I know how much I pledged and paid when the church building project was ongoing; I did not ask you for money but paid on our behalf from my pocket. I have also empowered five widows in our kindred without involving you financially.” Well-done good wife, but let your earning also speak in your home, massively. Let your children feel their mother’s quality time and money; it is their right, not a favour. Ada actually had plans of buying a small building for her widowed mother, but her husband has given a final verdict which must be obeyed because things are okay in their own union.
To this end, I must raise the flag for women who pick up bills in various homes and sustain peace in the home. I pray the good Lord keep such women, to reap the fruit of their labour.
Amazingly, few, wise and courageous women support their husbands while a lot of the foolish ones do castigate their men who fail in fulfilling financial obligations.
Harriet, a nurse in the United Kingdom has a different opinion about marriage bond. “In the country where we live, women are not exempted from paying bills and that has been the standard practice ever since I have lived in UK.” She stood by her husband and never allowed her family to ridicule him when he lost his job. Even Harriet’s mother chose her words carefully when talking to her son-in-law, otherwise she would get a stern look from her daughter immediately. Other member of her family took a clue from that not to insult the man because he became financially low due to the loss of his job.
Women who sit back and watch their husbands bear every financial burden for the upkeep of the family alone should realise that one day, they will pay a heavy price for such uncaring attitude. A day will come when the scorecard of such will show their folly. Know it from today that a woman is described as a home’, whatever it means; but it does not show any form of derogation, rather a universally accepted upward progress that is worthy of emulation. Some women think that having children for a man is all they need to stamp their signature in a relationship and marriage. Mariam Notue from Bayelsa State would send her children to make the request on her behalf knowing her husband would not turn the children down, but rather provide all they need. When asked why, she said: “Instead of spending the money on side-chicks, we will make demands and get at least 80 per cent of his daily spending.
Dear women, most of you might have your reasons and grievances why you don’t spend your money in your home, but you can use it at home responsibly. There is no man who would not appreciate a woman whose language is ‘do not bother to pay this bill, I have taken care of it.’ You are the home, and the home is you as a woman.