So one morning Aisha who has been married for 2 years now, sent me a message after I wrote something on my whatsApp status about not hardening your heart because its not healthy and this is what she said ” dear friend, please consider writing a story on the difficult parts of marriage…it will be a blessing to us ”. I must admit I was surprised by the request, not because I never experience challenges in marriage. I just have a different perspective on things. I am a glass half full kinder person, I don’t dwell  on the missing half but on the half that is there. So it is not that I don’t write about challenges I just put forward a different view. So here is what I do, I intentionally appreciate the good so much so it appreciates, that way it makes the missing half insignificant. (Magnify Go(o)d then the enemy becomes even smaller). I recently learned through Rick Warren’s teaching that this is a good way to nurture any relationship, he says “don’t tell people what to do or not do but instead affirm the positive alternative”. That being said, I do understand that some problems can be overwhelming and even lead to divorce. One of the reasons I do not only focus on  challenges in marriage is because I strongly believe there is enough of that doing the rounds, my gap is in the positive affirmation where I feel there isn’t enough people talking about how wonderful marriage is and can be.

So I have considered Aisha’s request and I decided that for our 6th anniversary I will write about something that I believe has the potential to wrack havoc in any marriage.

Finances /Moola/ machankura

This one has claimed many marriages and continues to do so 🙁 whether you have been married for 20 years or 20 months money can rattle your love boat. Ecclesiastes 10 :19  puts it like this “A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things”. I think we can all agree Solomon was a wise man and if he says money is the answer, there must something to it right? So if a feast can make you happy and when you add wine to the mix the happiness is doubled, try money he says lol. Yes that’s how I choose to interpret this verse, another way to look at it is that a meal will satisfy you now and there will be laughter in the house but when you have money, many of your troubles will be solved. There is no denying the importance of money in marriage  and in life. A friend once said “if  I am in a worse state of affairs with him in my life than I was when I was single, is it worth it? I  thought  two was supposed to be better than one?” I couldn’t answer her then. The thing about money is that most of us were never taught how to handle it, we were never taught to give, invest and save. We are only learning these things in the marriage.

Most of the time both partners have a relationship with money that is a direct opposite of their partners, one will be a spender and another a saver. The beauty about marriage is that one can learn from the other and somehow come to a reasonable compromise. Another big challenge is that we marry ” in community of debt” yep I said debt because most of us don’t have property but we have debt student loans, Foschini or Markham account you got because they said you needed a credit record. Most of us never take the time to look at our bank statement and see where our rands and cents are going. The Bible says where your treasure  is, there your heart will be also Matthew 6 verse 21. The truth is sometimes you will not like the things your love chooses to spend his or her money on, as the verse suggests where he or she spends money is where their love is. This explains why many husbands or wives feel betrayed when the other spouse’s  heart is invested in anything other than their family. I know of a couple that could not buy a house because one partner was indebted and the other was already bonded. Their hearts were torn in different directions. Truth is it takes two people with one heart to build a happy home, when one partner’s heart/treasure is pulling in a different direction there is bound to be conflict. Some couples get into debt in preparation of the wedding. This can lead to unnecessary resentment and anger when one partner had to take a loan for the celebrartion and then the reality of his/her in their new role comes to overwhelms them.

Bazalwane (saints) it’s okay not to have a fancy wedding but have a wonderful marriage, I think it is a small price to pay for peace. As Nelia once said ”no one cares how expensive your wedding was, the only thing that matters is that you are Mrs now”. Adjusting to your new life has its own challenges no one should have to worry about basic provision as well, marriage is meant to be a blessing not a burden. I never liked debt but I went into debt when the family was going through a financial challenge. So you might be going through a financial challenge because you married in ”community of debt”, one of you was retrenched, business is not good or your partner is a reckless spender. Okasalayo (what remains ) is you are indebted and shamina sha wena (what’s mine is yours) whether we like it or not  your spouse’s  money woes will have an impact on your marriage. It will affect the house you will buy, the education you can afford your children, the quality of life you can give them, the holiday experiences you will have and ultimately what you leave for your children.

When we were going through our financial challenges I discovered Dave Ramsey (please check his teachings on finances), I was desperate for solutions and I wanted to empower myself. He says he has never seen any verse that says there is good debt, but he knows one that says “owe no man nothing but love” Romans 13 verse 8-10. I know that sounds impossible but I believe it is. We are not debt free yet, but we are working on it. I appreciate this season of our lives because it taught both of us to trust God for our provision, we realised that there was no way we were going to get out of the pit we dug for ourselves without commitment from both of us. I also learnt I do not have to have every pair of shoes I like, I don’t have to attend  every baby/bridal  shower, sometimes its cheaper to buy a gift than to attend. Last but not least we realised who are the people we can rely on regardless of our  financial situation.

So there is an up sight to the dry season, it also has the potential to draw you closer to each other because you realise that we are in this thing for the long haul. The truth is we can’t live on love alone, a piece of chicken  and a full tank also helps make a happy home lol. Sometimes it is not that your partner is not supportive they are just frustrated. No one gets married to be miserable. If you don’t come up with a plan to address financial challenges they can tear you apart. There will be days where you are tempted to blame and point fingers, don’t. Chances are your spouse is already doing enough guilt tripping of their own. You will doubt their ability to change or get you out of the challenge but what you should be doing is convincing them that they can. The world is already harsh and unforgiving resist the temptation to make your home a cold place to.

My advise for couples currently going through this I say; be honest with each other, budget together, communicate if you don’t like that one person keeps buying lunch while you are in debt instead of carrying a lunch box. Do not judge but support one another. Have a strategy for paying off your debt together, if means no eating out for the next six months let it be. When you are paying off the debt slowly start saving don’t wait for when you have enough that day will never come, it is a not about how much you are saving but the principle and it will grow as pay off those accounts. Don’t forget to put God first, that means acknowledging him with your substance and he will ensure that what you have suffices. Remember nothing lasts forever, this too shall pass and you will both come out of it as better versions of yourselves. I promise to write another post on finances soon.

Love Ms Dzo

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Tumi Tjale

Oh Prudence ! You have such great insight to things. We thank God for you. Keep writing Ms Dzo, keep writing. My personal experience with finances and marriage is that, I was blessed to have a husband that I have. I call him the finance manager of the house. We both like nice things (expensive) things but he’s very principled. If we don’t have the actual cash for it, we wait. And waiting means, really waiting. It can take months or even years while waiting. I was so indebted when I met him. His approach was so simple, save every… Read more »