Money has no gender. We live in a society that expects a man to have more money than his wife and we discourage successful women from marrying men with no money.
As we do this, we are creating problems that are likely to cause crises ahead. Anyone can make money. We have so many men that don’t have the talent or skills to make money but can make a good husband. Yet the general expectation is that a man should provide financially and on the other hand we have women that earn more money than men.
My grandmother raised almost everyone from her clan and from the clan of my grandfather. She knew how to make money yet my grandfather wasn’t gifted in the area of making money but he had wisdom, he had love and he encouraged her with his ideas to make even more money. Their marriage was very solid and unshakeable.
It was not a secret that the money that was being used to buy their assets was my grandmother’s money. Some people are of the belief that if a woman has more money, the relationship will likely fail because she will not have respect for her husband.
Whilst this might be true in some instances, as I look at the marriage of my grandparents, I can conclude they loved each other and they were only separated by death.
The problem we might have today is that we want to give money gender. Women have always been making money yet today we want to make it an issue. The generation of my grandmother was the generation that pioneered the idea of going to South Africa to trade. Those women made a lot of money and were able to still remain submissive to their husbands.
There is no such thing as “wife’s money” or “husband’s money”. It should be “our money”. This is what brought success in my grandparents’ marriage.
My friend’s marriage collapsed because they built it on “my money, your money” foundation. Her parents, especially her mother, controlled her daughter’s salary. She never wanted my friend to touch even a cent of her daughter’s salary.
In other words, the wife came from a family where women were taught “your money is your money, don’t let a man touch your money. A man must take care of you that is his duty and you do whatever you want with your money”.
His wife had secret accounts, secret investments and she always gave excuses about her money to make sure it was never used in the house. She never wanted to be transparent from day one.
The problem came when the husband lost his job. Since his wife was never transparent with her money she refused to chip in. She would complain whenever she bought anything in the house. She talked about how expensive things were, she even complained when she bought bread.
He had to sell his car in order to pay rentals yet his wife earned more than him before he got fired. Then one day he overheard his mother-in-law asking to his wife, “why are you keeping a lazy man in this house? He looks relaxed, don’t let him eat your money”.
The mother-in-law became a frequent visitor and could not greet him other times, looking frustrated many times. On the other hand, the wife became so moody and very sensitive, and thus began the breakdown of their marriage.
We have so many marriages like these. Unlike my grandmother, who never felt like she was being used, her marriage lasted for 40 solid years and in the last 15 years of their marriage, my grandfather was now practically taking care of my grandmother for she had a health condition.
My friend’s marriage couldn’t last beyond one year of his unemployment even though he loved his wife. He almost killed himself when his wife left, had it not been counselling that saved him.
People who love each other can still live peacefully even though the wife is the one earning more. We have to revisit our culture and start teaching people that money has no gender. A wife can be the one earning more and that marriage can still flourish.
Today we have successful women and some of them are struggling to get married just because our society doesn’t know how to deal with them. Our men were raised to take care of women so when they see women who are better than them, they get confused.
Successful women also don’t know how to submit to men that earn less than them. They can’t imagine a marriage where they are the ones providing. They were not raised that way. So we have to revisit our culture. Money has no gender and love has no salary.
Brian Matsaira is a love and relationships coach and can be contacted on [email protected]