I have been married for nearly 20 years and I have been the one carrying my family. Any money I make, I put back into the family but my husband on the other hand makes money for himself. Whatever he makes he puts into his business ideas and all seem to flop. He does not remember that bills have to be paid.
I am sick and tired of being the breadwinner. The worst part is that he does not even appreciate me at all and just takes it for granted that it is my job to take care of the home and children. I am tired of it and I feel resentment about my entire marriage. I just want to get out. My children are grown except for the one who is a teenager. Please help me before I go crazy.
This is becoming a growing trend in many African marriages and I do not condone it. Our men seem to be in direct dereliction of their duties and leaving it to the female, yet they demand respect and authority. Let me be the first to say to African men: traditionally your role is to be the head of household. Once you fail in your duties and allow your woman to become the head, be prepared to accept whatever she dishes out to you. Women can become disrespectful, power conscious and power driven when you make them the head of household and at the end you will have yourself to blame.
I feel sorry for you for carrying the burden of raising a family by yourself as though you are a single parent, yet you have a man that demands to be called head of household. I feel sad that I have spoken to many women who confess that they are the flag bearers of their home and that the husbands still treat them with ignominy. It is a shame. Now I am not saying that a woman should not contribute to the household, hardly. A woman is a partner and supporter in the union called marriage. Her role is to augment the man. A woman if employed might even spend all her salary making sure that her children lack nothing. She will find places that sell inexpensive but decent clothing, shoes and bags. She will find a tutor who will help her children to excel in school. She will make the house a home and cook and clean and though exhausted after her day’s chores will perform her wifely duties in the bedroom without complaining. But when she is ignored, disrespected and treated with disdain she finds it resentful and would soon revolt.
Nonye, I hear you. Your case needs special counseling. Please find a marriage counselor in your area to talk to both of you. It seems that your husband has forgotten the marriage vows he took when he married you. You must first confront him with the situation. Let him know that henceforth the bills must be shared in the home. Present to him a compiled list of household bills including the upkeep of your teenage daughter. Let him choose which bills he will attend to from the next month. Also insist on him providing an allowance for all the other expenses incurred in the home. You may go further to set up a common account from which all bills will be paid. All your husband needs to do is to transfer an agreed amount into the account. You can also insist on operating the account to ensure that all your bills are paid as at and when due. The managing of the home still lies within the portfolio of the woman as the chief organizing officer (COO) of the home. I hope that you will prepare the accounts as stated here to present to him. Follow it up with the appointment with the marriage counselor and then be firm about what you will tolerate and what you will not tolerate. Be clear and concise when speaking to him. Make all your demands known during your meeting with the counselor. Let me let you in on one secret: men hate for their household dirty laundry to be aired in public. He will agree to your demands provided you do not bring him back to the counselor to discuss his irresponsible money mismanagement.
Hang in there and keep me posted.
ν Dr. NJ