My boyfriend and I are contemplating getting married in April, this year. Although we have tried to discuss some issues that might cause disagreement in our marriage, like that of sharing a room as well as that of our mothers, we are yet to agree on one vital aspect-having a joint account.
While he insists we have a joint account, I don’t want one. I believe we won’t be able to manage the attendant issues very well. Having dated him for four years before getting to this point, I know he lacks discipline when it comes to money management. I, on the other hand, am very prudent with money.
In our four years of courtship, we have quarreled more on his inability to manage money than on any other issue. He can empty his bank account on the spur of the moment. The worst part is, he may end up spending the money on frivolities like his appearance, phones, jewelries and expensive wines. He keeps borrowing money from me, which he never bothers to refund.
This attitude is the reason, I don’t want a joint bank account, but he is insisting on it which has led to a major disagreement between us. I’m scared. If I keep insisting on having my way, I might lose him to one particular lady who he once had an affair with and who is still very much in his life. She is the kind who would do anything to have him. For instance, I know he goes to her to borrow money on days I don’t have to give him.
I don’t want to lose the number of years I have spent on building this relationship and I also love him too much. I’m equally hoping he would change when we start having a family of our own as he won’t expect me to shoulder all the responsibilities of looking after the home and children alone.
I’m 32 years of age; being a woman yourself, you know how difficult it is for me at this age to compete with younger girls for the attention of single men.
Agatha, please help me. I don’t know if I should give in to his request or not. I have already informed my family and friends of the April date.
From the tone of your letter, are you sure you really want me to counsel you? Will you be sincere enough to listen and take a right decision, given the reasons you are already touting as being responsible for your actions and inactions?
To help you understand the issues involved, I will begin by explaining the institution of marriage, just in-case you haven’t given a deeper besides that of age being your enemy or the issue of owning a joint account.
Believe me, these aren’t the challenges of this relationship. The salient problem; is your own understanding of what a marriage is all about. There are times when love isn’t enough to keep a marriage going. The fundamentals of a successful marriage do not disqualify self-happiness. You have to be happy to make your marriage work.
Marriage is a journey of eternal commitment to another person. Because it is expected to last for life, anybody going into it must be ready to confront and accept everything it throws up. At times, it would be good, but most times the challenges are very daunting. The complexity of marriage comes from living with someone from a different background entirely.
For it to last and become enjoyable, an intending couple must strive to delete as many garbage as possible from the onset of their relationship. Going into a marriage with these excesses means the couple is setting their union up for failure.
Yes, there will always be differences of opinion and attitude but the beauty of marriage is the ability of the couple to work through these grey areas with the same passion that brought them together. No marriage succeeds when one party is obstinate and the other always at the receiving end. No matter how the one at the receiving end tries to make things work, he or she will eventually become very frustrated and wouldn’t mind what would happen to the marriage eventually.
This brings me to this question: how long can you tolerate the situation of him wasting your hard earned money on massaging his ego and expensive taste? You need to be very honest here. It is alright to think you can change him or that his attitude towards money will change. But what happens if he refuses to change and continues to be himself? What would happen to you and the family you intend to start when you need money to care for them and your husband has used up what you have in the bank for his own excesses? Would you still love and condone his behavior?
People who want to change their partners begin the process before the wedding date, not after. Your boyfriend, from all that you have said isn’t ready to change. He wants your money and that is all that concerns him. Should you agree to his term, be prepared to be the one providing most of the family’s needs, because he isn’t ambiguous or pretentious about his way of life. He has made it clear through his choices what to expect from him as a man and father. You are the one who has to make a decision as to whether you can cope with his kind of person.
Regard his insistence as a clarion call for you to sit down and think clearly about your happiness. Frankly, your boyfriend hasn’t demonstrated the concomitant commitment to you or this relationship. Chances are he may indeed not go ahead with the wedding if you fail to concede to his demand. But isn’t that a better option than the one you are about to make? Have you thought of the possibility of you losing your job and needing to depend on him to care for the family? What do you think would happen to your union?
This is the junction of honesty and prayers. When God makes manifest certain things in our life, it is for us to apply caution, wisdom and pray to Him for clarity. Age is a disposition to life. You can elect to be old at 20 and young at 40 years of age. It shouldn’t be the reason for you to hasten into a situation that will certainly hurt and haunt you for life. Can you implicitly trust a man who has no qualms going to the previous woman he had an affair with for money to finance his frivolities? Be fair to yourself. Marriage isn’t to be endured, it is to be enjoyed.
Having a joint account works for couples who have the financial discipline to stick to their agreement, not for couples who have different views on the essence of money. From what you have said, it won’t work for both of you, due to his attitude towards money.
But then, if you must go ahead because of the years you say you have invested into the relationship as well as the invitations that have already gone out, insist on a ratio of your income you can do without every month. Take an average of how much he borrows from you and never returns; let that be the exact amount of your contribution to the joint account. This way, you won’t be losing much since you appear able to manage without that amount.