Chop My Money Part 3 – For Richer, For Poorer

I think it would helpful to read Part 1 and Part 2 of Chop My Money for some context. Enjoy!
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Despite his negative response, NaijaWife continued.

But isn’t his money for our family and my money is mine?mm01082011

The pastor just shook his head. Less sure of herself, she finally plunked back into her seat.

God is the great provider…” He began, but at that NaijaWife scoffed and raised her hand again

Obviously God is the great provider. But that doesn’t mean a Husband shouldn’t provide for his family!” She retorted.

Unfazed by her interruption, he continued. “…I’m going to tell you something you probably haven’t heard before, but I hope you’ll listen closely.

What he said next was a complete mind blow for the two of us. I’ll sum it up as follows:

  1. Stop thinking of your money as “your” / “his”/ “her” money.  It’s first and foremost, God’s money.  Yes it’s easy to think that the money we have belongs to us because well…we worked hard for it right? We slaved away at a hard job, day and night to earn that cash! We delight ourselves in seeing it grow in our bank accounts. And when we don’t have any cash, we look at others who do in envy, thinking “If only I had more money” all the time.
  2. But what you have, came to you from God. Any job your husband has, smart and capable as he might be, was through God.  Same way, any job that your wife has, brilliant and accomplished as she might be, is through God. The society we live in tells us that anything we have, we got because we deserved it. We’re the best. We’re the smartest. But truth is, plenty of people are “better” or “smarter” than you. Are you patting yourself on the back thinking you’re so talented that everything good that has happened to you is because you deserved it? Wrong.
  3. Do you know what a Trustee does? They hold the money given to them and spend it according to the instructions of their “head boss” – the actual owner of the money. When a Trustee starts to think the money he owns belongs to him, that’s when disaster ensues. Same thing with corrupt government officials who are entrusted with the people’s money but spend it on themselves at will. Same thing with parents who abuse the children God gave them. You don’t own a child. You’re their custodian, tasked with raising them correctly.
  4. Your marriage is a form of trusteeship where God will entrust you both with money. You are to use the money to care for your needs but first and cash-n-carryforemost you are to use it according to God’s instructions. Sometimes God asks us to do things with the money he has given us that we never “planned” for.  You might be asked to forgo your vacation and support a charity instead.  You might be asked to sponsor a child that isn’t your own through school. You might be asked to invest it wisely or to pay for someone’s much needed surgery. If you keep thinking it only belongs to you, then you’ll always find it hard to do what God asks you to do with it. “Why do you think the Bible says the “Love of money is the root of all kinds of evil?”  But by first submitting to the fact that all your money came to you from God, he in turn provides for your needs and your family’s needs. By resisting and thinking selfishly about money, you’ll only bring disaster down on your household.
  5. Despite what you’ve been taught, to place the financial burdens of your family solely on the man is not a sign of “respect” for his manhood.  The same way the man expecting her to do all the cooking, cleaning and washing for ever “because she is the woman” would be contemptuous.  A wife who contributes towards your family “only if the need arises”, is actually nothing like the Proverbs 31 woman, who is industrious by nature and helps provide for her family every day.  Contribution is a symbol. A way of saying “I’m in this with you” and “I’m a part of this family as well”.
  6. So rather than point fingers at each other when financial issues hit, come together and pray about it. Instead of barking at each other and defining your masculinity by the size of your pockets or defining your femininity by how dependent you are on a man, look first to the Great Provider.

His last and most final point was:

In order to become one, you have to really “become one”. To lose a sense of “mine and yours” and start thinking of yourselves as “we” and your belongings as “ours”.   When “two become one”, then so do your incomes.  Do you trust each other? If you don’t, don’t get married. Turn around before it’s too late.  But if you know you trust each other, put it into practice.  Try opening a joint account and set up a plan for how you will both contribute towards it.  Work out a percentage of your incomes that should go in that makes sense for your circumstances, and not according to cultural dictates.  Lastly, give each other the access pins to your accounts. That not only shows trust, but also forces you to be responsible in how you spend.

Well the smile went back up on NaijaWife’s face at his remarks concerning passwords, because she had long tortured forced  blackmailed gotten me to share my passwords with her. Still though, his speech questioned everything else we had been taught.

So on our own, outside of the class, we spent more time in thought, study and prayer.  We thought about the common situations we’d seen with our friends and family where the wife is constantly placed in the position to ask for money, and the man becomes controlling, abusive and domineering.  We also thought about friends of ours who had married for money, seeing the way to financial security as only being possible through a rich husband.

A friend of NaijaWife who we shared our story with would frequently pray:”Lord! My future husband must always make more money than me oooo!”  and when NaijaWife advised her against that prayer, she didn’t quite understand. Well, explained NaijaWife, “If he ever loses his job or gets demoted, you would automatically have to lose yours too, just to keep in line with what you always prayed. Better for you to pray that he will always do well and be successful.

If for some reason she lost her job and had to depend on me, should I start seeing her as a leech or a burden on my neck? What if I was incapacitated or lost my job, should NaijaWife now see me as a useless husband unable to provide forMRMRS-1ST-FEB his family? Should we immediately divorce because society now sees us as being in an “Abuja marriage” (still not sure what that means)? Should I sit at home lamenting, stewing in resentment at my inability to provide financially (as though that were all ‘provision’ meant) for my loved ones and eventually take out that resentment on my wife? I’d probably start saying things to her like “Do you think you’re better than me because you earn more?!” “Do you think you now wear the pants in this house?!”

It’s a common scene in Nigeria (or most countries for that matter)…accusing our wives of failing to respect us because they keep asking for money, or of failing to respect us because they earn more than us. As if women themselves don’t also need respect. Why do we do this? I think its mostly because our culture and society mandates that we tie our notions of respect to the money we have. In our world, the one with the most money is the one in control…the one who deserves your respect….the “pant wearer”.

Well, we’ve broken free of that.  The more we learned about marital finances, the more I realized that I’d been looking at her debt situation all wrong.  I’d approached it thinking “But this is MY money. Why should I have to send it towards loans she took out before she even met me? Why should she get to chop my hard earned money?” “Was it me who wanted to have a fancy American education?!”  When really, I should have turned to the woman I loved and told her, “Your debt is my debt …so God help us both.”

Like I said before, marriage isn’t a 50-50 partnership. It’s 100-100%. Put your chips on the table, because you’re “all in or nothing”. So we needed to create a system that would prevent me from developing an inflated ego for having more money, or from treating her like a trophy wife, as well as a system that would prevent NaijaWife from feeling contempt for me or feeling like she was just a bystander in our family.

Eventually, I showed her the excel I’d drawn the night she told me about her debt.  Then we created a new one together, for our family budget.

You want a budget for Brazilian weaves? Hahahah! Good one!

We deliberated over the columns for months on end in the lead up to our marriage. We pooled our funds into a joint account from which we pay all household expenses and maintain a savings account. But we also gave ourselves allowances that we use to do the things we love to do separately. In her case, she might blow through it freely on a girl’s night out or on new hair nets and fried chicken to munch on.  In my case … well I usually just end up handing mine over to her when she’s run through hers.

So far, it’s worked. In no time at all, despite the school debt, we’d amassed a savings that neither of us could have achieved on our own. How? Because we decided to trust each other, put aside our cultural biases, the echoing doubt of our previous life experiences, and most of all, trusted God to provide.

Best part? Less arguments. The way we spend our money is so automatic neither of us has to think  much about it. Having a head for figures, I set up the accounts and make sure the inputs and outputs are moving correctly, but not once do I have to have a “stern” talk with my wife about her spending habits and not once does she need to grab me by the neck, panicking that our bills won’t be paid.

Testimony aside.. while things are good now.  We are not naive and we know things can go sour at any second, any day. Either one of us could lose our income, fall ill or whatever.  And just as I’ve typed this post describing the financial blessings our marriage saw early on, years from now I may come back on here with a different story. I don’t know the future, but if it could happen to Job…it could happen to any of us. Sometimes our faith just has to be tested.  But because we’ve already established an open method towards approaching our finances, we believe we will be able to weather the storms that come our way.

What system do you and your spouse use?

NaijaHusband

Welcome to the musings of the “not so typical” Naijahusband and his lovely Naijawife. Follow us on Twitter: NaijaHusband and NaijaWife

64 Comments

  1. Aww I LOVE this piece, it sounds like you have been watching/reading/studying DAVE RAMSEY’S financial peace university! It just makes a lot of sense to go through marriage together rather than separately. A timely message for everyone- not yet born, born, single or married. Keep it up folks!

  2. Wow!!! I loved this. Thank you for staying up to write and put up this post. God bless that pastor and thanks for sharing this. Brought an entirely new perspective to my thinking. If it’s God’s money first, that changes everything. Love you guys still. I’ve always been a proponent for ‘one pocket’ but this was value adding for me. Will definitely be making some changes to my thinking. God bless your home abundantly. Amen!

  3. hmmmmmmm….I’m so blessed!!!!!!!! I like the way you both decided to handle ur finances as “God’s”. Makes things easier. You both are blessed to have each other and I pray for more understanding…
    Another part dat touched me was when you said “In my case … well I usually just end up handing mine over to her when she’s run through hers”. Selfless Sacrifice…God bless u

  4. The Part 3 was totally worth the wait. So insightful it almost brought tears to my eyes. You cannot have understanding like this and have issues with your spouse. Marriage is so beautiful! It’s the people in it that make it seem hard. My friend said the best part of being married is ‘sharing’. All that is mine is yours and vice versa. I totally agree.

  5. My partner and I are not married, yet we use this system (and its easier cuz we live together). We have a concise grocery list where we have a budget, if he decides to buy extra stuff (like chutney because he loves to make bakedbeans hash), then he throws in extra change from his spending money. We have a fixed amount that MUST NOT be touched except in case of emergencies and for house rent, before we set aside “personal monies”. Since he’s more of a spender, usually he hands all his monies to me and i make deductions and handle banking and bills.
    We learnt this system this year and realized we have had no reason to EVER argue about money. It WORKS!

  6. WOW is an understatement! I need to print this and read it through slowly with Cakes. We both have different attitudes towards money (both sides have flaws) but this seems like a good step in the right direction!

    Okay, I know you’re remaining anonymous and stuffs, but you and Naija Wife should totally have dinner/drinks with Cakes and I, cos I feel like we could learn a lot!!!

    Hugs to you guys!!!

  7. This article is soo deep and instructive. Every single person should read it.dating,engaged and married people too. I learnt a lot and I’m about to begin a process of discarding the thoughts I had on marital finance prior to reading this.
    God bless you both,big time. May your light continue to shine as you impact lives through this blog. Whenever darkness falls,may God be your covering.

    • Sommie, you don reach here too? Lolzz. That part about giving NaijaWife his own part of the spending money after she has run through hers had me tearing up.I wish for a marriage even better than yours. God bless you guys real good

      • Spicee lady,I’ve been addicted to this blog for about two months now o. Its good to meet you here too.

  8. first, i hope I’m beating my dearly Eloxie to this comment( or others as the case may be)
    … (thats by the way… winks)
    most importantly I’ve gleaned encouragement from this post; and I am happy that I can atleast share my comments( bb frustrated my comments showing on other posts… sigh)

    first, its God’s money, and he’s the provider and dictates how the money should be used
    second, marriage , 100%, all your chips on the table- mmmmmmm
    then, the ever humourous way of speaking the truth that i love

    erm, no spouse yet, so no husband/wife financial dealings method

    I’d continue with my ‘pestering’ naijawife on twitter
    love you loads
    #rocking couple

  9. Wow.. Am so happy for you guys. You’ve put a system in place that will last. I pray for God to keep increasing you and wish you a happy, long lasting, wealthy and blessed union. God will not give you any problems you can’t overcome together. Keep the Love alive :d

  10. In my case … Well I usually just end up handing mine over to her when she’s run through hers. I like! God bless your marriage

  11. First of all…. I LOVE YOU BOTH!
    You guys make me itchy to get married! hehehe…this is exactly what i had in mind for my future finances with the future hubby! but you guys have thrown a whole new light on it! Thank you for this!

  12. This is great advice, and it transcends whether you are single or married. I especially like the part about seeing your income as God’s and not yours. Means you don’t spend without checking with your heart to make sure this is how God wants you to spend it. I only do that when I’m trying to determine how much ‘offering’ I should give in church (LOL), but I’m going to start practicing this with all my spending (yikes for all my future shoes!). Thank you for this post. I adore the writing style on the blog, by the way. Instantly subscribed 🙂 xox

  13. Oh wooooow, I wasn’t expecting that answer, and my hand would have gone up a second time just like Naija Wife’s did! Loooool! This is one piece I’ll have to read over and over. Why? I believe God is teaching me something. Just last week hubby and I were discussing Financial Stewardship, and how the money God gives us is really His, not ours. I’ll see how I can get him to read this, and then we’ll have that talk again, this time, with more practical steps! Thanks guys, you rock big time! 😀

  14. Wow…everytime I read a post on here, I feel enlightened as to how to make a relationship work…and then your method of delivery…presenting the basic concepts so that it can be “customised” by whoever chooses.
    I read somewhere that the meaning of life is finding your gift and the purpose of life is giving it away. I think this is your gift and thank you both for sharing with us 🙂

  15. God bless you both for this post. Many homes are going through unnecessary suffering simply baecause they didn’t take out time to plan their finance. Marriage is indeed 100-100% and that remains true even if one (or both) spouse lose their job. I have always believed that we need to break free of traditional (mis)concepts where the man is the breadwinner and the woman is the homemaker. Both should be in it together.

  16. This changed my mentality towards finances in marriage. Wish everyone can read this. Understand its God that gave you the money, TRUST yourselves and everything will fall in place. God bless you Naija husband and wife.

  17. Tnx NH. I bookmarked this page on my Lappy. no need to start searching for it when the need arises. Thanks.

    God Bless your marriage. By the way, nothing shall happen to you or NW or your jobs. Your report will always be success.

  18. Sometimes, you guys sound too good to be true. May your light never dim. *sigh*. The idea of this posyt will take me a while to fully comprehend, but I am definitely. Going to try.

  19. Kudos! You people already know I adore your posts. So insightful and all of that. I feel like @Naijawife and I are kindred spirits. A lot of her shenanigans are familiar…. I know you people have a happy marriage and I know that even when things are not as happy as now, you will pull through. Disagreements will come but you guys WILL pull through!

  20. Oh wow, I never quite saw it that way, especially as one hears so many tales of the problems money causes in many homes.
    So many precepts I have to work on changing.

    Thank you very plenty for sharing this

  21. If I remember correctly, you say you haven’t been married that long? But then wisdom really is not a function of age (Job 32:8). This last post was inspired.

  22. Amazing post, extremely insightful, had me creasing with laughter and brought a tear to my eye. May God bless your marriage and make mine even more perfect than yours.

  23. All in all, it boils down to God the major provider. Dis is soo, wise and it beats reality dat a thing like dis can amicably be settled between couples in dis part of the country… Irespect una oo.. Power couples

  24. Loved this!!! Your pastor’s advice is so profound! That’s definitely the best way to look at your finances. Can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to take on her debt. Wow.

  25. What a beautiful post about responsibility. However, I have my reservations about “single & dating” folks using this technique when they’re not even past the engagement stage. Not saying it’s totally wrong, but I guess this is where sound judgement comes into play (still strictly against it for singles). Awesome post! 🙂

  26. If there was a ‘love’ button(like the ‘like’ button) it wuld av been more appropriate for me. Absolutely love this piece. Tanx for sharing and God bless

  27. Fantastic piece…pray for his success instead of him having more money than you! Thank u NC

  28. This was an amazing post. Great thing about this blog is that I learn a lot from every post.. God bless You two and the day I discovered this Awesome blog. 😉

  29. I am a little late to this party, but better late than never.

    Inspiring posts. A lotta lessons learnt and to be learnt from you guys..

    God bless ya.

  30. Woooowwww!!! U guys are just breathtakingly amazing! I LOVE that you have a heart to follow God’s way. Apart from it being the best, it’s inspiring to see u guys showing how marriage is meant to be… BIBLICAL! I mean, it was God’s idea after all. Meanwhile the advice is just fantastic. And it’ll help in ur relations with others as well, not just each other. I don’t know how I’ve never prayed for u guys?!? *puts u on mental prayer list* *chuckles at the thought of saying ‘God bless Naijahusband and Naijawife* #Issorai #It’sTheThoughtThatCounts. LOL!! Keep being awesome, and if those storms ever come, May God grant u awesome grace to overcome. Have a nice day!! 😀

  31. Thank you for this. I’m going to bookmark this for my future husband and we will read it together. Not only did you change my perspective about finances in marriage but you changed my approach to money completely.

  32. This is one great post that people intending to spend the rest of their lives together or even already married couples can/should learn from. Very inspiring.

  33. Awwwww You guys are such an inspiration. I hope when I get married my relationship with my husband is this transparent. You guys trust each other sooooo much it’s awesome!

  34. where did you guys resurrect from??? i have been following your blog with proclivity but this is the first time i am actually dropping a comment. i am sooo in love with all your write ups.you guys are amazing! NaijaHusband, are there really guys out there that think like you or are you just showing off that you’re a rare specie? NaijaWife, you are one lucky lady.

  35. I love love love this. I’ve always wanted a joint account, cause my parents have always had one and I’ve seen it work…yes there were few disagreements, but it works 30+ years later. Trust, is all it takes.

  36. Wow! I’m blown away…just reading through Parts 1-3! You both are indeed a real, inspiring and very blessed couple. GOD is clearly in the matter, I’m happy!

    My spouse and I, well, haven’t done any structured financial plan like you have explained (honestly, I don’t think I can survive the details of that) but the open method has just perfectly worked. From the day we got married and we were told a story of how our Officiating Minister (he who joined us) and his wife dealt with finances; they’d earn money and put it on top of their cupboard. Anytime someone needed money, he/she would go, reach up and take out of the joint ‘savings’. The day you get there and there’s no money, ehen, money don finish be dat! Lol!

    ‘Twas funny but I guess it taught us a very good lesson about “your money vs. My money”. So this open and sharing attitute even flowed down to our other personal belongings…but that’s another story. These life lessons indeed get better with every challenge. And thanks to the Great Provider, we have learnt to abound and very humbly…abase! 😀

    Thanks for this post, very inspiring and worth a share. I’ve gone through many of your posts today as I just recently discovered your blog; but this one…! Keep being a blessing to young (I believe you guys are young in marriage right? Lol) marriages out there. As for me and my house, we are “in this to win it”. GOD bless you 🙂

    • Thanks Chiwi. We think that whatever method a couple uses will work out if its based on openness, communication and a willingness to share.
      With that said. I don’t think I would leave cash out on any cupboard for NW…not while there’s a chance she’ll spend it on a new hair item!

  37. Wow! Im so grateful to a friend who introduced me to ‘naijahusband.com’ just yesterday. He said ‘Hey B, I know you love to read amazing things…here’s one (posted the link to the ‘natural hair’ post)’. I should say I read that one and curious/satisfied me wanted more!

    This particular post about finances is really insightful and inspiring knowing how agreement in finances is key to ones home.

    I can now say that naijawife and naijahusband are now one of my favorite couples time over. I’m blessed reading these, a lot of my ideals are echoed with the articles. I love the real, simple, comic-nature of the articles.

    Naijawife (the wife) seems so expressive, that’s very very encouraging for people like me who love to say it as it is especially to the ones I cherish.

    And yes, one can still boldly say that you can have a very good home when couples deliberately understand each other.
    Again, im glad i got to know this site. Im super excited about it.

    More grace people!!!

  38. I Love the way you guys have planned this out …. true partnership is the only way a marriage will work and this exemplifies it! o husband where art thou ? ; ) I have a question though if one person is into business and the inflow is not regular how do you handle the regular monthly bills without too much pressure on the other person ?

  39. Hmmm. I am impressed.

    One thing I like about your stories ( which actually have one or two lessons embedded therein) is the fact that they are practicable. No short cuts rather incisive, factual and thoughtful.

    I am printing this right away.

    Gracias!

  40. God bless you both. My hubby and I just had a huge fight about money. It didn’t end well. I was stubborn and besides, I want him to beg. On a serious note, I believe God led me here and I pray for wisdom for us both to find a system that works. Def, giving him this article.

  41. Wow wow wow…this is too loadedly loaded! This beats most of what I know about family finances. Sir I ask for your permission to repost this on my blog. I’ll give you full credits and it will not be adulterated in any form. Thank you sir. Do keep up the great work!

  42. Thank you for this post. I’m about to get into a ‘serious’ relationship and reading through your posts is giving me more confidence. Thanks for sharing

  43. Hi, Naija husband, (and if she reads this too,) Naija wife. I’m a young blogger who’s just read this post and I loved it. It was inspirational and thought provoking. I’m nowhere close to being married yet but I’ve learned from this. I would like to either post this or the link to this on my blog. I must admit that I wholly agree with the counselling advice. Marriage makes you one. And you guys are one of the few couples that understand this. I wish you both a happy married life. God bless you.
    Ps.. Can I put the link on FB? I solemnly promise not to plagiarize.

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