We need money for all our needs, especially in our relationships which are the most important human investment. The Akan axiom, ‘Sika ye mogya’, meaning ‘money is blood’ of life shows how important we see money.
Unfortunately, love for money has been a major source of conflicts in our relationships. Dayton, an American finance expert, asserts that 48 per cent of the most serious marital problems are financial. The situation could be worse in Ghana where money is the leading cause of breakdown of relationships.
People fight no matter their income. Most of the time, our fights are not about lack of money but our wrong attitude and improper management of money.
Why do we fight about money?
Our problems start even before we get into relationships. Most parents don’t teach their children how to handle finances. We, therefore, grow up with wrong attitudes about money. It is also known that lovers don’t discuss money before marriage. They find it unimportant and unromantic.
It is also obvious that men and women coming from different backgrounds have different views, values, spending habits and life goals. Some are savers, others big spenders.
Some see money as a medium for freedom, some power, some security and others, adventure. Lovers may have parallel goals.
Many lovers are secretive about their money. Studies in some countries indicate that 30 per cent of spouses are secretive about their finances. This ruins transparency and trust.
Again, secrecy could be worse in Ghana. Many don’t know how much their lovers earn, spend and save. A woman complained that her husband locks her out before giving her money!
Some lovers are selfish and greedy even to the point of using their spouses for ‘Sika aduro’, an occultic power for instant riches. They want total control of all family earnings even when they lack responsibility and discipline on financial management.
Some go into marriage with a different agenda to acquire wealth for their extended family members. They are ignorant that marrying someone for his money is the hardest way to get money.
Some couples borrow money for expensive weddings, with no working plans for repayment. Some have unrealistic expectations in hoping their marriages will remove all their insecurity and poverty.
Some are envious of their spouse’s progress and enter into unnecessary competition with their lovers. This is common where the woman earns more than the man. It is also known that most couples don’t plan their finances.
We mix up our wants and needs. People convince us to keep buying, making us spend more than we earn. We are poor financial managers.
It is natural that lovers may disagree and fight over how monies are spent. It is, however, important that we don’t fight for our personal gain. We should fight for each other and for the enhancement of our relationship. It is also advisable to talk about money in good time.
Sit down, talk in humility about money and nothing else. Arguments over money could easily attract other issues in the relationship. It is also advisable not to fight over something else when money is the underlining issue.
We must discuss our issues long before we get upset or angry and as far as possible, we must agree on shared goals and values.
Money management is a vital skill we need to acquire. Marriage experts advise that families can avoid financial problems by drawing a budget monthly. This helps us to control our spending. We can tell where our money goes instead of figuring out where it went.
The bottom line in planning our finances is to live within our income and make every effort to save and meet our future goals. We can increase our earnings with skill training.
We can cut our expenditure by buying only what is necessary and by avoiding accumulating personal items. We can adopt saving measures by buying in bulk, preparing soups and stews to last for a few days.
We must avoid wasting water and electricity. At the end of the day, it is not how much we earn but what we do with our income.
Studies show that it takes only one of you to manage the money side of the relationship marriage. Experts also tell us that women are better at money management. Men must, therefore, feel confident and trust their women to handle home finances.
Is money building or destroying your relationship?
Money is a tool to accomplishing life goals. However, it cannot take care of itself. It needs constant attention because it could be a good friend or enemy, source of security or anxiety, power or impotence, freedom or yoke, servant or master.
If you ignore money, it grows into a ruthless enemy and dictator that drags your relationship to destruction.
Therefore, depending on your attitude and management, money could be a builder or destroyer of your relationship. Use money wisely in your relationship.
Make it a good servant to help you build and achieve true love and realistic life goals in your relationship.