Men often tell stories of wives who take off at the first sign of financial trouble. PHOTO/FILE
It is always such a pleasure to hear from readers. Some give me a perspective of life that I might never have envisioned. A few have (politely) told me off, but majority cheer me on.
Since this column started, I have received a couple of similar emails from different readers, emails which touch on money within marriage.
The men who read my column, (and they are many!) often tell stories of wives who take off at the first sign of financial trouble.
The women however, write about husbands who disappear when they start making good money. In both cases, I always wonder whether it is an issue of perception or whether this is a reality.
One reader, a man I will call Isaiah, gave me the go ahead to retell his story. His wife of seven years packed and left him when he lost his job, leaving their children behind, even though she later came back for them. She even moved to another town.
“Before I lost my job, we were happy, and she was loving and humble. I paid all the bills, even though she had a job - I did not even know how much she earned,” he wrote, and added,
“Once I lost my job, our marriage became intolerable - my wife became extremely disrespectful to me; it was as if I had become useless to her.”
What perturbed Isaiah about this sudden change in his wife was that early on in their marriage, his wife did not have a job.
He had encouraged her to go back to school so that she could qualify for a good job – he even went ahead and paid for her college education, and when she graduated, she got a job.
“She seemed to have forgotten this, and when I was down and broke, she took our kids and left me when I needed her most.”
Of course, I only have his side of the story, which clearly shows that financial strain is a major source of conflict in marriage, but so is financial gain, as an email from a reader I will call Cathy, demonstrates.
Her email read;
“For the last 12 years, we have had a wonderful marriage. My husband was loving and available for me and our three children. In fact, he never stayed out late even when he met friends after work. As I write this, it has been four months since I moved out of our matrimonial home. He is no longer the man I knew.”
Cathy explains that her husband started changing when a business he put up begun to do well. He quit his job and decided to concentrate on the business, which flourished even more.
Within a short time, she says, her husband became too busy, distracted and impatient with her and the children.
“I though his business was taking too much of his time, but when I did some digging, I found out that he was seeing other women.”
When Cathy confronted her husband, he admitted that he was cheating on her, and worse, he was not apologetic. He became rude, disrespectful and arrogant, and finally, the insults degenerated to beatings. That is when she walked out.
In our marriage, my husband is the bold investor, and I, the risk averse, the saver. We fight about our different ways of handling money.
I wish I had paid a little more attention to my psychology lecturer, because I might be in a better position to decipher why money distabilises so many relationships.
Could it be that underneath the money wars are bigger, unresolved issues in such marriages, and that the pressure of too little or too much money is what acts as a catalyst for the volcanic eruption?
Or is it that we give the pursuit of money prominence over investing in our relationships?
Is money a curse or a blessing?