Love builds solid marriages

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By Abel Kabiru

Money and love are perhaps the major reasons why most people get into and out of relationships. Either of these two can build or destroy a marriage and family. Today, it is not uncommon to see young men postponing marriage hoping to ‘first make money’. Similarly, many women shun men who are not financially stable.

Marital counsellors say that courtship should not end after the wedding but be extended into the marriage. It should be continuous and ever-present. Indeed for many couples, love is strongest in the first years. But for some people, love tends to wane as the days go by for many reasons — chief among them is money.

How can a young family cushion itself against the vagaries, ills and tensions wrought by money? How can they ensure that they remain in love in scarcity and plenty, in times of financial misadventures and good fortunes?

Married for love

First, some introspection is in order. Why did you get married? What was the motivating factor? If you were driven by money, should that money run out, so will your love. But if you got married for love, it will remain whether there is money or not.

It may sound simplistic, and a tad patronising, but the foundation of your marriage determines its strength, weakness or even how long it lasts.

Most marriages break up because of money — its earning, allocation or misuse. But the cause for the break-up is not money per se, rather, the failure to communicate. Men and women have different perceptions about the best way to spend money.

However, in most cases, one partner excludes the other in key decision-making and the slighted party retaliates in another form. What ensues is a financial ‘cold-war’ in the house, which later degenerates into big, albeit preventable fights.

Talk about money

Talk about money regularly. Make house rules that both of you abide by. Agree on what one can or cannot do with their money or family savings. Encourage transparency on income and expenditure. Set a limit on unplanned spending and always check with each other before incurring liabilities.

It beats logic why one would give their all to their partner, get married and have children together, yet when it comes to the issue of money, they want to hold back. Try to be on the same page. Understand their reasoning and seek to be understood. From that individual output, compromise and come up with a family position on money.

Agree on financial issues especially when the marriage is still young. This will see you through the rough times ahead when you start or expand your family and when unavoidable liabilities that require personal sacrifices occur. There is nothing as liberating and mentally comforting as knowing your spouse’s position on money, acquisition of wealth and expenditure.

Money doesn’t buy love

On a lighter side, it is true that money cannot buy love, but it buys a lot of things that buttress love. Next Saturday is Valentine’s Day and many young men are wondering how to impress their spouses. Sometimes, men spend a lot of money to show their women that they love them. Be innovative. After all what matters is the quality of love, not the cost. Unlike in manufacturing, quality costs nothing in love.

If you are broke, take heart. A shopping spree, expensive dinner, flowers and gifts will get you the same appreciation as staying home next weekend and helping out in the kitchen!

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