Joint Account

Amara

Amara

Two different souls in most cases start up as friends and by the time you know what  is happening, they are joined together in holy matrimony. One of the first money  questions that come up when singles eventually become couples is, “do we pool our  finances or keep them separate?”

I am going to make some bold statements in this article, but I will stand by them.  It was not my intention to offend you but I hope this gets you thinking about your  current financial set-up with your spouse.

Some people write telling me how much of a feminist I am in my articles. Guys,  please read my Tuesday column before judging me. Friday is strictly for men just as  Tuesday is for women.

Some of you also feel my articles are for self appraisal. Sorry, I can’t help it  because I went through whatever I went through in life for such a time as this. I  don’t like hiding things; I would rather use myself as an example for people to be  blessed. I believe God had to put me through it all for me to be able to touch lives  and that is what I am doing.

Whether you are newly married or you have been in it for 20 years, the issue of  joint versus separate bank accounts is a hot topic among couples. I had the  privilege of having a long debate with some other guests’ weeks back when I visited  a friend. My friend, who is working on her new book on relationships, was trying to  get our opinions on some trivial issues.

I was surprised seeing the mood of people, who sounded loving and caring, change the  moment my friend raised this issue of joint account for couples. According to her,  Nigerian marriages are totally out of God’s design for marriage. There is so much  deceit and dishonesty in our relationships. People go to the altar and make their  professions of love, exchange marital vows but the question is, “how many people  really understand the meaning of the vow: “…to have and to hold, in sicknesses and  in health, in wealth and in poverty, for better for worse …”

How many Nigerians can say for sure that they are one with their partners. So many  of us pretend to be so much in love with our partners. We let people see only what  we want them to see. But I want to ask you this question: In the presence of your  maker, are you really one?

So many men have come up with very wonderful and humanly acceptable reasons for not  having a joint account with their wives. Below are some of the reasons:

SHE SPENDS TOO MUCH:

I agree with you. There are some women who lack self-control when it comes to money.  I see women who should be thinking of saving for the future of their kids go about  looking for how to spend the money. You could have this kind of woman in your house  or you are probably relating with her based on the experience of your friends and  colleagues.

The answer to this problem is communication and/or marriage counselling, definitely  not separate bank accounts. If your wife refuses to change her spending habits, then  you don’t have a financial problem, you have a marriage problem. You need to find a  common ground and help her out of this problem rather than shout at her and keep  secrets from her. If you really love her, you can get her to that point where she  becomes a better manager of your resources.

There are also women who are not trustworthy, no doubt. The moment she notices you  with some money, she comes up with a long list of items needed in the home. This has  made so many men begin to hide their financial status from their wives. But guys,  don’t you think this is not what and how it should be? The mind of God for your home  is for your wife to know everything, I mean, everything about you. For the  Christians, remember the story of Adam and Eve at creation,…they were naked before  each other and they were not ashamed. Marriage should make us to be naked before  each other.

You are not supposed to decide on the things to tell your wife and those she should  be in the dark about. Yes, you are trying to protect yourself and pride, but if that  woman is not going to accept you the way you are, she doesn’t love you. Likewise, if  you cannot accept your wife with her past and mistakes, then you don’t love her. I  still remember my mum’s words whenever as children, we try to criticize people —no  matter how insane a woman is, there is someone out there who is in love with her  insanity.

Most women are not honest with their men when it comes to finances. This is due to  societal influence of parents and friends. Some mothers make demands that are out of  this world from their daughters; some of them even use blackmail to get things from  their daughters. Friends are not left out as they feed the woman with so many  negatives even before she moves into your house.

All these leave the woman thinking she has to protect her future with you. This she  goes about by way of stealing and lying to get money from you. But like I always  say, no matter how tough a woman is, there is a man out there who can make her weak  and get her totally dependent on him.

Sir, you cannot achieve this by shouting at her; you cannot achieve much by hiding  things from her. You can only change a woman by having a heart-to-heart talk with  her in a very romantic atmosphere. Talk to her and make her begin to see you as one  with her. Remember, this is the 21st century, every wise woman will respect and  honour her man, but don’t ever try to compare your wife’s attitude with that of your  mother.

Some men claim their wives came into the marriage with so much debt and baggage. I  hear people say it that their wives brought debt into the marriage and she should  pay it. This makes me cringe each time I hear it. When you get married, you become  one body, one flesh. You work as a team and help each other no matter what. If your  wife brings her debts into your marriage, you have an obligation as a marriage  partner to share that debt.

You can also have a budget of how to spend your money each month. This will make her  avoid unnecessary demands from you. As a co-signatory to my husband’s account with  the right to sign alone, I never at any time removed money or make unnecessary  demands from him. This he can bear witness to. People saw me as a big fool, but I  chose to live with a conscience that is free of guilt. I was honoured the day he  told me that he tried me severally to know how honest I am with money before he  could allow me access to his account.

When you said “I do” at the altar, you made a commitment to become one cohesive  unit. You should begin to act as one with your wife. When you choose not to share  your finances, you are choosing not to share one of the most important aspects of  your life.

Some guys will come up with the excuse that their wife earns money and keeps it to  herself and that is his reason for keeping his. It is your duty as the head of the  house to provide and take care of your wife. She shouldn’t be forced to handle some  expenditure at the home front because you were the one who went to take her from her  parent’s house, so, you should take care of her. Women being what we are, you will  be surprised how much she will start spending from her salary to keep you happy.

My younger sister is married to a fellow banker who has never bothered about her  salary. He knows she earns quite a lot, but at the beginning of every month, they  plan their budget based on his own income. My sister has access to his account. Few  weeks back, during our discussion, my sister was so grateful to God for such a man.  That is a man who understands marriage and knows that it is not the duty of a woman  to feed the home. There are cases where you as the husband lose your job or find  yourself bankrupt, your wife can only help wholeheartedly if during your good times,  you showed her that she is indeed one with you.

Another good reason why a joint account is good is that it makes your wife trust you  more. She believes you when you say you can’t afford certain things because she  knows you all round. Haven’t you noticed some women make silly comments about their  husband in his down time. This is because in his time of plenty, he didn’t let her  into his world.

Like I said previously, this is not an attack on your current opinion, but it is yet  another article for a change. I know there are people out there with separate bank  accounts, but it is the minority. So many Nigerian marriages are far from being  enjoyed, people just live and go through this life in pain, all in the name of  marriage. This still takes us back to the same question my friend asked: Do we  really have marriages in Nigeria or just two people acting and deceiving each other  for the society to be happy?

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