Dealing with money matters in marriage often, many couples find out early in marriage that issues of money can make many loving moments turn sour. Sometimes such issues build up into real problems that eventually threaten the success of that marriage. Money is not seen as the commodity that it should be. Its fraught with layers and layers of meaning. Respondents in a study aid they fought most often about debt, spousal spending and then their own purchases.
Some of the common issues bother on: Managing available funds with the needs of the family: This is a situation whereby the man who is primarily the breadwinner and head of the home cannot sufficiently accommodate the needs of a wife who is completely dependent on him (i.e. she is not working); new baby; accommodation problems among other things. Difference in attitudes towards money: whereby one spouse is a spendthrift and the other is miserly; misplacement of financial priorities. It’s common in many relationships for one partner to be a "spender" while the other is a "saver, "Much of the conflict arises as a result of this.
Responsibility and resource sharing in the home: This is when both parties are working and there is no clear rules on who does what, which then leads to one party feeling cheated and used or the other demanding rights whether the spouse is capable or not. When the husband insists that a wife doesn’t earn an income but does not provide for her sufficiently: And then the wife is forced to live below the standard she is used to or at least aspires to when a working wife earns more than the husband: And refuses to live according to her husband’s means; insists on spending her money as she pleases.
When the man has to strike a balance between what to spend: On the wife and children and what to spend on his parents and siblings; and/or when the wife uses the resources provided by her husband meant for her and the children for her own family and friends. When the husband does not provide at all: and the woman has to fend for herself and the children Keeping up with the Jones: living by other peoples lifestyle and thus getting into debts. Dealing with unexpected expenses like illnesses and sudden losses The key issues that underline these problems are; attitudes; aspirations; correct understanding of rights versus practicalities; sense of fairness and fair play; Allaah - consciousness, sincerity of intentions and actions. How to make your money work for your love and not, against it! Attitude is key in virtually all human endeavour and money matters in a marriage is no exception.
Ensure that all necessary financial needs have been taken care of before excess money is spent. Household expenses must be covered after which either party can spend from any leftover with discretion. A word of caution here! It is haraam to either be spendthrift or to be a miser. The two habits are unlawful unlawful in Islaam and should be kicked for better spending habits. The Holy Quraan and the Ahadeeth of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) are replete with consequences of these behaviours.
Planning is so fundamental that a lack of it can lead to avoidable and serious consequences. Planning must be done before getting married, through having some savings and striving for a measure of sufficiency in income that can care for a wife. Unlike the Western culture of waiting to have children, the expectation in most African cultures is that after marriage, a baby comes next.
And so this too should be considered while planning. All these efforts should be discussed by both parties such that the wife too can begin to tailor her expectations along the lines of what her husband to be is capable of providing with a view that things will improve with strong efforts and Dua. In planning, needs must be met on a scale of what is most important like food, clothing, rent, children’s school fees, hospital bills, family responsibilities, zakaat, sadaqah, savings and then other miscellaneous expenses. You should also make room for splurge/treat money, because it is only natural to have whims and urges every now and then, and when they are accommodated in the plan, they won’t eat deeply into the budget. Women particularly must curb the urge to spend and keep spending on Jewelries and other not so important things even when it is your money.
Understand that your husband’s too have urges and things that appeal to them which they have to shelve in order to provide for you and the children. Also get his permission, directly or indirectly to spend or give out things to family and friends from resources he had provided for you. In as much as it is his responsibility to provide for your needs including the needs of your family, they must still be met in a certain order as defined by the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) when he told a man to spend on himself, family and then others in that order. Some couples merge all of their money into joint accounts when they get married.
This isnt always the best option for everyone particularly as it has negative implications for inheritance according to shariah principles. Married couples should try different ways of handling the money to see what works for them. Rights & Practicalities, Fairness, & Sincerity of intentions! It is true that it is preferred for a woman to stay at home by Islamic ideals, but it is also allowed and indeed with precedence in the life of past generations of Muslim women for the woman even at home to earn an income.
What is important whether your decision as a man is for your wife not to work, or that there is an agreement for her to work and help with responsibilities; they must be done with proper knowledge and understanding of what the rights are; what is practical for you and your spouse, what is fair and what is done with sincerity and not an intention to oppress or cheat the other person. That your wife chooses to help you, does not make it her duty and that you chose to help your husband and maybe in the process earn more should not grant you the staff of authority over your husband. Each person must be conscious of Allaah in dealing with the other knowing that your attitude in this aspect of your marital life as in others can make or mar your happiness in your home.
Want to keep up with the Joneses? Try buying a caterpillar and you do a quicker job of destroying not just your marriage, but your life! Because no matter how you try you will never be able to keep up with them, they are busy trying to keep up with their Joneses too! Never live by other people’s means, often times this only gets you into an abyss of debt which can eventually consume you! Think big, start small, is one of most important principles of businesses, but when applied to building your family and your "finances, there is no better advice. And Dua! Is there any true success without that? Always make Duo for each other, for the family as a whole and the ummah in general, because your success is his or hers and your familys success is an honour to the ummah.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited