Health & Fitness

Money is just but a means to many ends


Every end year, we go through this cycle of dipping into the savings to make our children and relatives happy. This affects January and February. I have tried to save every year, but my husband is a spender and does not plan so he ends up asking me for cash. How do I end this annoying cycle without compromising my marriage?

It is clear that you have a number of problems, and it might be helpful for you to seek a solution of each of them in turn.

Your last question holds the key to one of the problems you have. You state “How do I end this annoying cycle without compromising my marriage?” It is possible that in this scenario, you cannot have your cake and eat it. You may have to consider the possibility that you cannot have both. Therefore, you might have to live with the annoying habit, or you might choose to compromise your marriage, whatever choice you might decide to live with, in your context.

The other problem that you seem to have, is that you and your husband are at different levels when it comes to priority setting. You tell us he is a spender, and it is possible that he sees you as a miser who hoards money for no reason. It might be possible that what you see in him as a big spender can be seen as a big investor in relationships!

Another serious problem you seem to have is the equation you seem to have between money and happiness for the children and relatives. This particular assumption is a good starting point even as we seek to understand the other issues that are raised in your question.

To paraphrase your assumption, you are telling us that both your children and relatives become happy when you dip into your savings. Put another way, they would be unhappy if you did not spend huge amounts of money at the end of the year.

If spending a lot money at the end of the year was mandatory for people to be happy, then you and I know very many poor people who should be very sad! The other side of the same coin tells us that those who have lots of money to spend at the end of the year should be very happy. Again, you and I know lots of very rich people, who are very sad at the end of the year, and indeed at most times.

It stands to reason, therefore, that spending money at the end of the year to make children and relatives happy is at best a poor choice. It does not lead to happiness in the real world.

The Holy Bible in the book of Luke 12:13-21 tells the story of the rich fool. In this parable, Jesus tells the story of the man who had (like you perhaps) lots of money. When the man had kept all his harvest in the new barn that he had built to accommodate all the produce of his land, he, as we read stated.

“I will say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” God had other plans for the man. We read, but God said to him, “You foolish one, tonight your soul is required of you. The things you have prepared, whose will they be?”

A leading cardiologist in Nairobi explains this parable by stating that the rich fool died of a heart attack. He ate so much food, drunk so much alcohol and did not exercise or go for medical checkups. He thought that money had become the security that he needed. In your case, it is possible that your husband is telling you that money is not an end but a means to a destination, which fact you seem unaware of!

This now brings us to the next challenge in your question, which is to do with your communication style in the marriage.

It is clear that you and your husband have failed to understand one another in terms of how best to spend your money. You call him a spender, he calls you mean. What else are you not agreed about? We saw a lady recently who had become depressed because of the way her husband was treating her.

When she went shopping, she would get to the till, have the items she had picked charged by the cashier and her husband would send the money by M-Pesa directly to the supermarket. She was not allowed any contact with money because she (unlike you) tended to waste money and spend beyond the family budget!

In therapy, it turned out that this was but a tip of a very deep iceberg. She was being punished (and degraded) for an affair she had had with the pastor two years earlier! Her husband had forgiven her but not forgotten!

In this case, money (or the withholding of) was the tool of revenge. Before we condemn your husband, let us see if there are deeper issues.

In the same vein, and in answer to your real question, be ready to fight for your marriage but be prepared for the possibility that your differences are so fundamental that you might lose either the marriage or the savings! In some cases, both!