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Tuesday, 19 March 2019

The Joint Account Issue

We had our second marriage workshop tagged “Couple’s Clinic” a few days ago and it was fantastic. One of the issues discussed that raised a lot of questions bothers on finances. We tried to look at the most common issues in marriage that bring about disagreements between couples and I am sure you will be surprised if money didn’t feature on that list. And the issue of couples having a joint account came up. In order to have more people benefit from this discussion, I have decided to write a post on it.
There are no clear instructions on this when we search the Bible, but we can apply godly wisdom in dealing with this kind of issue. The first thing that I will advise couples already married and those intending to marry is that whatever you can’t finish or better still whatever you can’t sustain in your marriage it is better you do not start it. And I say this with money as a focus.
There is absolutely nothing wrong in couples having a joint bank account, but when it gives the devil an avenue to attack your marriage then it’s important that you avoid it. Having a joint account or not does not in any way affect the issue of trust in marriage. If as a wife you don’t trust your husband, sharing a joint bank account with him will still not make you trust him. And likewise, for the husband, having a joint bank account will not in any way result in trust in the marriage.
Quite a lot of couples share the same bank accounts and they are good for it and a handful of couples share the same bank account and they feel choked by it. The truth of the matter is that masculine material priority differs totally from a feminine material priority. A wife may want to buy a skirt or a wig, or a hair extension and as far as the husband is concerned those a trash. And in the same vain a husband might want to buy an expensive wrist band and the wife sees it as absorb and a waste. And there the trouble begins. What men need money for are most of the time totally different from what women need money for. But that is not to say that I condemn having a joint bank account, but if it has to be done, then it should be done with a level of wisdom such that it doesn’t give room for any marital crisis in the future.  
It is a nice thing if both couples have separate means of income. If for any reason there is the desire to save between couples, they can decide to have a joint account whereby they both maintain a certain level of contribution periodically for the family. And if both couples are working and doing this, then it’s very okay.
But in a scenario whereby both the wife and husband are working and earning a salary and have decided that they put all of their salaries in one joint bank account, I fear that might be a time bomb waiting to explode. This has absolutely nothing to do with trust but the fact that the wife who might most likely feel choked from this arrangement after a while, will need to always seek her husband’s approval for every spend in her life even though she is working and earning income. And the same goes for the husband. Invariably, one of the parties will start to hold back some of his/her income to meet personal needs and this will, in turn, break down trust and openness in the marriage. 
A typical example of this was shared at the just concluded marriage gist and what I advised such a wife to do is to begin to look for what she can do that will fetch for her a second source of income whereby she get money to do what she wants to do without having to feel choked seeking husband’s approval to meet her needs.
Another possible way was for her to speak with her husband and gently and lovingly explain to her husband that the arrangement is not working well for her and as such she will need to be allowed to retain a fraction of her income in her personal account to cater for her personal needs.
Not having a joint bank account does not in any way reduce or improve the level of trust and openness in marriage. I don’t share the same bank account with my husband, but if I need to save money such that I won’t have any reason to touch it, I give it to my husband for safe keeping and he returns my money to me when I demand it. But not that I condemn the act of couples having a joint bank account in any way. I will say this to couples, never rush into any decision making out of momentary emotion that you feel, it is important that you consider the long-term effect of your decisions. Any decision or agreement that has the potential of dividing you or causing disaffection between you two in the long-run, then it’s important you don’t enter into such agreement.
Love and trust in marriage are not subject to a joint bank account.   

Friday, 8 March 2019

What Do You Do With the Flower of Love?

I was listening to a song titled “No Pain No Gain” by Betty Wright, you know those R&B/Songs of the 1980s. And in that song, Betty Wright defined love in a way that I really love to relate with. In the song, she said love was like a beautiful flower, but that flowers need water and sun to grow. And that has struck a nerve in my thought, we lay so much emphasis on love in marriage that we forget that without the proper enabling environment love withers and dies. And we have so many dead marriages who have anchored their existence on love without wanting to make the sacrifices that give love the room to grow and blossom.
I will never stop preaching the fact that marriage is an investment, and what you put in it determines what you get from it. I dare to say that there is no such thing as bad marriage when a couple without any force, choose to marry each other. If you were not forced to marry your spouse and then the marriage goes bad, it's not because the marriage in itself is bad, its because you and your spouse mismanaged the marriage.
If you have a business venture and you mismanage it, it will collapse with time and the same goes for marriage. It is a fact that if you run a business with emotions and not being alert and wise to the needs of the business, it might not survive. In the same way, if you handle your marriage solely on emotions and not with wisdom, then the chances of survival are very slim.
What we now understand love to be, is that emotion that gives and just keeps giving. But we forget that if the source of this emotion is not replenished, it runs out after some time. And so, the love that we should now run with is such that we give into it and then take from it. So, in order to always have a constant supply of love we need to care for its source. The love that sustains is the one that gives and takes.
A lot of married couples have defined love in marriage as a 50-50 thing. So, it is expected that the husband gives 50% and the wife gives 50%. Two things are wrong with this love methodology. The first is when you give 50% of your love and commitment into your marriage that means you are giving just half of yourself into that marriage. If you are just giving half of your love and commitment into your marriage, then you should not expect your spouse to give more than just half of himself or herself into the marriage or else you will be cheating him or her and asking for too much. Remember the level of your investment determines the level of yield you will get from it.
And then what are you going to be doing with the remaining 50% of your love and commitment? If you are not investing it in the marriage, then you are not being loyal to your marriage. If the marriage goes down, you will be the architect of that.
And then secondly, let’s do a little arithmetic, if you give 50% of you into your marriage and your spouse gives 50% of himself or herself into a marriage, you will both arrive at a 100% which is good, but far from being good enough. If you invest all of your emotions and commitment into your marriage, that means you are giving your 100%. If on the other hand, your spouse is giving his/her 100% love and commitment, what you will arrive at is 200%. That is twice what you will have if you were just giving half of yourself into your marriage, so why settle for less?
Love is good and beautiful and highly needed in the survival of any marriage, but that love needs to be kept alive or else it will be totally worthless. For love to thrive, it needs all that sacrificial watering and sunning you can give to it. Without your sacrificial watering and painful sunning, it will die fast. Make it a point of responsibility to water and sun your love in marriage to keep it alive and beautiful. You know what to do, so kill that which prevents you from enjoying your marriage and groom the beautiful flower of love that adds color to your marriage. 

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Dealing With a Temperamental Husband

First, I want to wish us a prosperous month of March. I pray we will enjoy the full measure of God in our lives this month in Jesus name.
Yesterday I was chatting with a friend in a troubled marriage, she had gotten divorced from her husband on the grounds that he was abusive. In the course of our chat, I mentioned to her that most men who behave badly in marriage do so due to peer influence. Men discuss issues with their friends a lot and quietly implement that which they learn from those friends. But she debunked my claim concerning her own situation and told me categorically that her husband’s parents were like that in their marriage. Her husband’s father used to beat his mother, and even though he (her husband) had vowed never to go that route in his marriage, he finds out that he can’t control his temper and gets to beat his wife even though he never wants to do so.
To the glory of God, she told me that after reading one of my blog write-ups in the past, she realized that getting a divorce wouldn’t solve the problem and so they reunited, but still live apart, but that they are building a house together and once done, they will be moving back in together.
With her permission, I am sharing her story so that a lot of women can learn from it. Looking at an issue like this, there are many things to note, first is that the abusing husband is by himself not abusive at heart. He finds himself doing the exact opposite of what he wants to do. He wants to love his wife but does the exact opposite, probably because growing up he has seen so much of abuse in the marriage of his parents that it seems to be the norm to him. So as far as he knows, the only way to make his wife do his bidding is to beat sense into her. And this might be the same issue with quite a handful of abuse in marriages.
In as much as I don’t want to make a case for abuse in marriage or excuse it in any way or tolerate it in any form, it’s important that we look at this problem from another dimension. In a case where a husband grew up in a dysfunctional home with very wrong values inherited from his parents, it will help to understand that the husband is as much a victim of the problem as much as the wife. He does what he hates to do because that is what he has seen his parents do, and now he needs to learn new values of life for an effective and happy marriage. He needs to be taught that in order to make his wife do his bidding, he can always love her into it.
I have always shared in my blog articles that emotions alone are not strong enough to sustain a marriage. Wisdom and in fact divine wisdom is the important ingredient to make marriage a success. If as a wife you are married to a husband with character flaws and deficiency, condemning such a man or running away from such a man does not get the problem solved and does not make you an exceptional wife that is the pride of a man. But helping your husband become better than how you met him singles you out as a hero. If in your lifetime, your husband is the only person you have helped become a better person as your contribution to the service of God and humanity, you have done fantastically well. If no one recognizes you for your labor, heaven does and will reward you bountifully and your husband will be grateful that he met you in his lifetime. You will become to him a high priced, valued and cherished tool in his life.
Dealing with a man who has grown up with very wrong moral values requires wisdom, patience and the ability to absorb shock. All these are made available from the throne of God through prayers and the will to be obedient to God. When you have a temperamental husband, the last thing you should be doing is to provoke him to anger. You cannot correct your husband like you would your child whether he is temperamental or not. The man is the head of the wife and not otherwise. If you know there is anything that can possibly upset him then it is just simple wisdom that you avoid those things. You speak to your husband more with your attitude than with your words. You should deal with your own character as a wife such that what he sees in you will create an impression in him that brings about the changes you desire in him far more than the words you say to him. Our action speaks volumes and far more than we know, our husbands read and study our actions. We need to deliberately possess character values that make our husbands sit down and have a rethink about their own lives.
When the Lord began to train me on submission, initially it was tough, but little did I know that it was that submission that will change my husband and make him a better person that he is today. I have so mastered submission that its beginning to yield huge positive results for me. Even when I know that the instructions my husband is giving aren’t going to get the job done or get us the result we want, rather than do things the way I feel is right, I follow my husband’s route. It might sound foolish, but it has saved me a lot of headaches and heartaches in my marriage. If eventually we are unable to arrive at the desired result and he complains, I will point it to him gently that I did it just the way he wanted it done, so if there is an error then it is not my fault but his. It is only then will I point to him that, well, there is another way we can do it to get a better result because I know that at that moment he is ready to listen to me. But never will I force my opinion on him, and I have made that very clear to him. After several mistakes and instances like that, we now dialog more than him issuing instructions.   
Many mistakes like this have helped my marriage a great deal. In what felt like foolishness, I have been able to make a great impact in the life of my husband. He is also learning to be patient with me and listen to me more. We agree on the approach and then execute. He is limiting his “I gave you an instruction” approach and adopting the “let’s discuss” approach.
But I can’t remove God from my achievements in marriage. All the success I have recorded as a wife to a temperamental husband was because I prayed, and God answered. He led me through it, and I obeyed Him (God) foolishly. I didn’t try to rationalize God or try to understand His dealings, just that as I sense Him leading, I followed. Many people tell me I am enjoying God’s grace in abundance and I can’t deny that in my life. But that much grace as it is available for me is also available for all. God’s grace is like a flowing river that never runs dry. When you go to the river to fetch water, the container you go with determines the quantity of water you will take from the river, if you go with a 35cl glass cup, the water you can take will only be what that 35cl glass cup can carry. And if you go with a 1000ltr water tank, you get the quantity of water that your tank can carry. So, when you go to God for grace, your container determines the quantity of grace that you can carry from God. If you go to God with a small container, you get small grace and if you go with a large container, you get large grace. It’s all about you.
Before you condemn your husband as a never do well, are you willing to be the change agent in his life? Are you available to God to use to correct all the foundational problems that he has grown up with despite the fact that he hurts you so bad? Interestingly, he is as much a victim of his problems as you are. Fighting him will only amount to him fighting two enemies (you and his problems). But understanding his situation and helping him fight his demons will mean you two joining forces to fight a common enemy. You can be sure that with God on your side the victory is sure. I am happy now and I know you too will be happy if you fight the real enemy of your joy and happiness. That real enemy is not your husband. He does not possess flesh and blood.