I want a financially stable guy. How many times have you said that? How many girls have you heard say that? Is it wrong to have such a desire? After all, it’s your dream. And to quote Lupita Nyong’o, your dreams are valid.
Financial stability is and has been a key consideration for many when it comes to choosing someone to settle down with. There are indeed those who look for financial security for a lifetime, while for the men, they look at being financially secure before they settle down.
Growing up, we would often hear that it is a man’s responsibility to provide and a woman’s role is to take care of the home. We saw our fathers leaving their homes early to fend for their families, even if it didn’t matter whether the job would cause one to be away for long periods. That was the job, it had to be done. Needs of the family were catered for. Women would stay back to take care of the homes and the children. Many didn’t have any other source of income, therefore they lived within the limits of the resources availed to them by their husbands.
Fast forward to today.
Men still desire to provide for their families. Having cash is a mark of financial security. Cash is king, my husband likes to say. Financial security gives men a sense of self worth. Women, on the other hand, do not want to worry about finances. They would instead like to have choices and not have to be at home full-time. It therefore is usually a great plus if the husband can provide.
When my husband and I got married, we were full of life and hopes for the future. We had not, however, anticipated how soon we would have to go through a major test in our relationship. Barely two weeks after our wedding, my husband’s employer had to release employees and he was affected.
This is never an easy space to find yourself in. However, one can find comfort in the knowledge that they are not alone since their spouse hopefully has some income. Nevertheless, the loss of an income generating activity can bite quite hard. Such a loss, if not handled properly, can lead to major issues in the family.
I had good intentions, good hopes, for my husband and would look out for opportunities for him to consider. Without realizing it, I had become a pain especially when I felt like he wasn’t doing enough to look for those opportunities ‘out there’. Then we started fighting.
At some point, I felt I needed to control the funds that we had so that we wouldn’t squander. Clearly I didn’t handle that part with wisdom. The challenge I received from my older friends was whether I was allowing my husband to still be the head of the family even when he was struggling to bring in some income.
Here’s the thing. Financial issues are a leading cause of divorce. Why? Is it our expectations around money? Is it our handling of money? Have we made money to become the main focus of our lives? Is it the lack of money? The reality still remains; we need money to make ends meet but it takes much more than just having it to survive well.
Some argue that it is prudent for women to seek spouses who are financially stable in order to weather the storm. Why? Because finances play a key role in marriages and one’s needs would definitely be met, providing for a good living. Women want a man with a plan, and largely a financial plan. Does this mean they are gold diggers? No, not necessarily.
You see, a good woman hopes that the man she loves has an idea of how the future looks like and is doing something to head towards that horizon. A hard-working man is attractive. We cannot ignore the fact that there are women who don’t mind to be kept by men. This is why the men are commonly known as ‘sponsors’. This has significantly shifted the marriage scene with some women opting for this avenue because it doesn’t come with emotional connection.
But what happens when financial stability or security comes tumbling down? What happens if this was the foundation of your relationship?
There are some who say that you can’t feast on love, it won’t put food on the table. Then there are those who say love should conquer everything, which reminds me of a song by Blackstreet Boys that we sang so passionately in the days of our youth:
You say you don’t want no diamond rings
And I’ll be satisfied
Tell me if you want these kind of things
That money just can’t buy
I may not have a lot to give
But what I gotta give to you
I said, I don’t care too much for money
‘Cause money can’t buy me love
Is this a reality? The challenge is this, it depends on what you are looking for. Money or Love. And looking around, we live in a materialistic world where people are opting for material stuff.
If you sought to get financial security from a financially stable partner, what happens when this part of his or her life is shaken and shaken really hard? Will you jump ship? Will you hold on tight and trust that opportunities will open up? Will you encourage your partner along the dreaded path of lack? Or opt for greener pastures?
We should not assume, however, that women only desire to get financially stable spouses. The empowerment of the girl child has created opportunities for the women to penetrate in the job market and build careers for themselves.
As a result, women do not have to wait for their spouses to provide but are able to make a decent living for themselves. Quite a number are even making more than their spouses. It is therefore not surprising to see marriages ranking behind careers in terms of priorities. This is becoming a real game changer and changing the landscape of marriage.
Some of you recall Destiny’s Child Independent Women song. The push for women to become independent and depend on themselves is real. In such a situation, would the woman be willing to support the husband where he’s unable to bring in the bacon? Also, would the man be willing to be supported? Many are known to stress their wives because things aren’t working out financially.
The reality is that at some point in life, all will not be rosy. But when the rubber hits the road, will couples survive?
I believe survival is largely dependent on reliance upon God’s guidance. It is also important to appreciate that our identity is not defined by what lies in our accounts; it can only be found in God.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
“My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches and glory” Phillippians 4:19