By Yetunde Arebi
Last week’s topic of discourse generated a bit of controversy. I received a few mails and text messages, some of which I want to share with you quickly today. I promise to publish some more very soon. Please, feel free to add your views to this or any other issues we have discussed in this column. Remember that your identity will be protected. Our address remains as above. Cheers!
I read the above captioned article with great delight because it identified with what is going on in many homes, mine too. But when one critically analyses this issue, I want to conclude that it is probably due to the fact that almost everything in our society has been turned around. Men and women no longer play their statutory roles in society even as allotted by God. If we as women are more interested in being seen as equal to men, then there should be no grumbling if we are made to take up certain responsibilities.
Pilfering from one’s spouse can be examined in three categories. It is left for one to decide which is good or bad. As I have stated, there are traditional roles for each of the sexes but certain factors have rendered these roles impossible to perform to the letter, so there is need for moderation and readjustment here and there. In one group is the man that performs his duty and responsibility to the family. Whether it is adequate or not is another matter. In fact, most times the feeding allowances are not enough and the woman has to look for money to supplement. In this situation, some women may not want to use their money but steal the extra from the man. That in my view is bad and wicked because the man has given what he has or can afford.
The other group is the men who have money but do not want to perform their duties for reasons best known to them. If such a man leaves his money carelessly, I will take my share from it and nothing will happen. After all, the children I am spending it on don’t bear my father’s name but his. There are also cases where the man would want to play his statutory roles but he would not be able to, due to lack of funds and we all know the economic situation of the country. In this case, the women must come in to assist where they can. If the woman doesn’t have the means, that is another matter. But where she has, she must run the home. This does not mean that she has taken up the role of the man but she is only helping out because of the situation.
The problem here is that a lot of men have taken this concession for granted so much that even when they have the money they divert it to other unnecessary projects rather than spend it on their primary responsibility. Some men who know that their wives’ income should be enough to take care of the family’s welfare like to shy away from their responsibilities. This is what many women have realised and so do not trust their men when they say they don’t have money. So, anytime they see them with money, they take it. Now that everyone is going cashless, I think things are being better managed. There is less to steal. That is not to say that if a woman thinks you have money hidden somewhere she cannot get it from you.
My husband works from home and this means we have to do a lot of entertainment almost on a daily basis. However, it is his habit not to give extra allowances for these entertainments. So, what I do is to ensure that he gives me the feeding allowance, two or three times a month. If he does not, his visitors will suffer for it. There was a particular month that he did not give me money when I demanded.
I simply washed all the pots and cleared the kitchen. I fed the children early and sent them to bed. When he arrived and saw the state of the kitchen, I just told him to check the Calendar. Early the next morning, I saw the money on the bed side table and knew he was annoyed. So, I decided to play the angry wife too. I didn’t touch the money and when he came back and met the kitchen in the same condition, he asked if I didn’t see the money. I said no and that even if I did, I wouldn’t know if it was for our feeding allowance since he never used to keep it on the table but give it to me.
I asked if it is the table that will go to the market and cook for him. You see, if a woman is not careful, when these men have money, they will just rubbish one. I know my husband has this money and I have perfected how to get it from him. I can’t say that I have stolen his money before, neither can I deny not stealing it. It depends on the circumstances surrounding a particular incident. In conclusion, I don’t think it is a big deal because the money belongs to the two of them.
Agnes (By e-mail)
With regards to the topic, this is my view. I hope my piece will help to repair all wounded souls as things have really fallen apart in our society right now. I will identify the biggest problem facing human race as lack of contentment. There is also laziness. A person who is not content with what he or she has will rob and never see anything wrong in such an act. Excessive demand for material wealth, pick pocket, armed robbery, diversion of family resources or public funds and many others, are devices employed by humans to exploit each other. All these are bad habits facing our families. There is hardly any family studied without elements or traces of such practices in at least one.
If we are not satisfied with what we have, it will be impossible to acknowledge the givers. Based on my study I would recommend that couples own joint bank accounts so that approval to withdraw lies on the husband but the responsibility for spending rests with the woman. When a husband needs extra money for his private or personal pocket money, he requests for cash from the wife and she submissively releases any amount demanded.
This way, there will be checks and balances without excessive tendencies. In marriage, there must be cohesiveness of spending where the husband agrees with his wife in trust and rely on her actions as binding on the two. This will confirm the position of husband and wife being one. There should be no reason the style, principles and ideological differences as regards incurring expenditure, to the extent that one has to witch hunt the other.
This is not good for a healthy family. I believe husband and wife should have the same purse. To have hidden agenda is a problem but we pretend and cover up with affection and care. We forget that the relationship that binds husband and wife is opening up on everything. We only fail to accept this. One of the tempting, complex and complicated issues to cope with in the family is management of money. All needs, aspirations and pursuing of ideas are done through money. A family that can maintain one account will surely enjoy unity of purpose and goal.
A woman who searches and picks money out of her husband’s pocket will never have reasons to curb or caution her child if such a child brings home an object that does not belong to the child. Husbands should avoid taking their wives money too. We should try to be sincere, honest and loyal to each other. We know all these are not easily achievable, but with determination all things are possible. As you continue to take your husband’s money, it will only harden his heart and create avenue to plan more dangerous things that will affect you and the children.
Fehintola (By e-mail)
Thank you for these wonderful articles. I find them very interesting because they are different from many of the usual topics we often read about. I want to comment on the above mentioned topic. I believe that no two relationships are the same and one cannot say that what will work in couple A’s house will also work in couple B’s house.
A woman can take her husband’s money without his consent for various reasons and be justified. If a woman feels that the man’s attitude towards their finances is likely to run them into trouble, why not? After all, when the chips are down, she will be the one to pick up the broken pieces after him. Also, it depends on the amount of money. A few thousands cannot be considered as stealing. In fact, depending on the financial status of the man, N50,000 may not be stealing. Mind you, some women don’t steal but cook up all sorts of stories as excuses to extort more money from their unsuspecting husbands. There was a case one of my husband’s young friends brought to us recently. He accused his wife of taking almost 70,000 from his wardrobe.
The lady confessed to us in private that she took the money but would not give him. Her excuse was that her husband brought home the money, but surprisingly kept it in the wardrobe and would take from it every time he went out. Then someone came to tell her that they always saw him at a pepper soup joint where he seemed to be spending the day. Before confronting him, she decided to remove the rest of the money because she smelt trouble brewing.
And she was right. It was during the intervention that the husband revealed that he’d been sacked from his job. Someone had promised to assist him get a second hand bike for N60,000 which was what the rest of the money was for. Until then, she did not know he had been sacked. If he was not stopped, how are we sure he would buy the bike? How are we sure that the woman he was meeting at the joint had not charmed him and would have taken all the money from him?
Yetunde, everyone knows stealing is bad. But between a man and his wife, we can’t just make blanket judgements. May God direct us on the right path. Thank you.
Joycelyn (By e-mail)
Do have a wonderful weekend!!