“Babe, I think that time we talked about has come.”
“Okay.” I said. “Wait, which one of them?” I asked, trying to keep the alarm I suddenly felt out of my voice.”
“Go jor,” she waved away my fears. “I think we should start seriously thinking of moving house.” She said.
One of the things we agreed on before getting married was that we would move to a bigger place in a better neighbourhood than our current one, and I think she felt a baby on the way was leverage. Or not.
It didn’t matter because I had been giving it some thought as well with only one thing stopping me from raising it earlier.
“Can we afford it right now?”
We both understood that finances were important to make a marriage –or any relationship – work and we were upfront about it. From the moment we started getting serious, we discussed how finances would be handled.
I do not believe I am financially reckless, but I would be the first to admit I am financially irresponsible. That there may be biblical/faith reasons behind it didn’t make it any less irresponsible.
As a person my needs were minimal, yet I hardly had anything put aside at the end of each month. I would give the shirt off my back if I felt the person standing in front of me needed it. I loved to give, and felt a little bad if someone asked me for something and I didn’t have it to give to them. Back in school, semester after semester, I would give people my transport fare home, and then borrow money to go home – sometimes spending an extra day or two while I waited for the loan to come through. I did not have a lot of sense then; I don’t have that much more sense now.
After I told my family I finally proposed, after the congratulatory messages, my mother called and asked to see me. Alone.
She talked to me about financial responsibility especially now that I was bringing “someone’s daughter” into my life.
My sisters talked to me about it as well at different times. I knew a family meeting must have been called when my 21-year-old niece sent me a Whatsapp message to say how “happy I am for you Unc, and while you want to take care of everybody you have a new responsibility now. It’s Auntie.”
These days I have a sign just above my work station with the message:
Dear Bobo, you are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.
I hope to someday imbibe this wisdom.
Cynthia was better with money, and we agreed, that if hunger would not kill
her us, she should handle the family finances.
The same Bible that talked about being my brother’s keeper had something to say about a man who could not provide for his family: is that one husband?
We would both keep our personal accounts for personal spending monies – I couldn’t ask her, after the independence that came from years of working and earning a salary, to come asking my permission each time she saw something she fancied – but we would also have other accounts jointly: an upkeep account for groceries, fuel, day to day running of the house; a project account for rent, school fees, car maintenance; Cynthia also managed our investments.
I once joked that if she were to ever leave me I’d be financially ruined. She laughed a little too loudly at that.
“Yes babe, we should be able to pull it off.” She replied. “But we would then have to do some serious saving over the next six months, you know…” she rubbed her belly.
“No worries then,” I said. “We’ll be fine.”
“God’s got us,” she said.
“God’s got us,” I repeated. “I love you.”
“I love you more.”
“So you say.”