Finances are critical to the survival of a marriage, say Lynette and Tom Lichuma.
The Lichumas are marriage
In the case of Elizabeth and Daniel, the two grew distant after he lost his job.
“I was frustrated at work. I was even more critical if I came home from work and found him in the house,” Elizabeth says.
“The job I held was stressful. I would be like, ‘You are the one who is supposed to be working so that I can leave this stressful job.’”
When Daniel moved to Nairobi, leaving his wife and son in Kisii, he was running away from the hurt caused by the acerbic words his wife directed towards him.
“I felt like my wife did not love me,” he says.
What could Elizabeth have done to make Daniel feel loved?
“The basics: appreciate even the little I am bringing home. It may have been peanuts but I had worked hard for it and not stolen,” Daniel says.
According to Tom, Elizabeth could have felt the way she did because societal norms are such that the man is the breadwinner.
“Couples should talk about finances before getting married. Find out if both of you would be holding jobs and how you would use the money,” Lynette says.
Ideally, Lynette says, money earned by a husband and a wife should all be pooled into one basket that belongs to the family.
“It should not matter who brings home the money as long as the family’s needs are attended to,” Lynette says.
But even when financial challenges arise, couples should be ready to talk and address the way forward, says Tom.
“And if possible, define the roles for the money that each person brings home,” he adds.
When a family loses a source of income, Lynette notes, readjusting becomes difficult if they were used to a certain lifestyle.
“It is important that couples live below their means. This way adjusting when one source of income is lost becomes easier and the stress it has on marriage is less,” Lynette says.
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