The recent saga between Tiwa Savage and Tunji ‘Teeblizz’ Balogun moved me to tears, and not because I give a crap about them as a couple. I mean, I do, because I am a big fan of hers, but that is not enough to send me bawling like a baby. Why was I so affected then? Because I see my marriage in hers. I see the signs of an imminent divorce, or even worse, resentment and depression. I am a Nigerian wife and the breadwinner in my home.

Let me begin by saying, this was never in my plans. I worked my behind off as a student and as an employee so that someday, I will be an asset to my husband and be able to financially contribute to raising my kids. I did not set out to be some super breadwinner to make a point or begin a revolution. I am going to break my story down into bits so you can understand it much better.

Here are 6 things that happen when you are the one that brings home the bacon, fry it, serve it, while wearing the pants.

You feel guilty

It sounds ridiculous, right? Men are mostly the breadwinners and this comes with a feeling of pride. But when women do it (or maybe this is just my case) I feel a little guilty. I walk on eggshells around his ego. Whenever he comes home talking about how bad things are for him, I cannot share my success. I feel bad for even being glad about by success. I hold him and encourage him while I clamp down my joy. I feel guilty when I can afford things and he can’t. I feel guilty when we go on dates and I pay. I feel guilty when I have to send money to his siblings in school because he can’t and they expect him to. It really is a lot of guilt and I can see how this can ruin a marriage.

You are alone

I know absolutely no one in my situation, and no one knows about my situation. Nigeria isn’t teeming with female breadwinners. My friends are mostly being completely taken care of by their men. I know only one mother who splits with her man 50/50 and I consider her the one that is more likely to understand me. But she complains so much about her husband not being able to support them fully that I am sure her jaw will fall of her face if she hears my story. So, I am alone. I cannot talk to my parents because that would hurt my husband. I have had two kids via C-section and I paid from my pocket both times. I had to send money to his account beforehand so he can ‘be the man’ and pay the bills. Basically, it is just me and myself. I literally talk to myself about these challenges and try to convince myself we are doing the best we can.

You doubt his ambition

I have asked myself if he is simply lazy or going through a rough patch. We have been married over two years and this is seeming like an extremely long ‘rough patch.’ I have an older child who is about to begin school in September, so I know that the bills will escalate. I am now attending a baking school on nights and weekend so I can bake part time and potentially make more. Meanwhile, he is in Real Estate and he only gets money when he gets clients. He often leaves home at 12 noon. I have asked him that since he has so much time, couldn’t he do something on the side? He says he is doing what he studied in school and he does not know of any other way to bring in money. I know if I push it, he will either flip or sulk, so we leave it. I often wonder if he is simply unambitious or if I am asking for too much.

You cannot have a fight

So, the husband has this habit of coming home very late at nights, (past midnight most nights) and I am not a big fan. I worry about him and I try to get him to cut back. He promised to, but he did not stop. One day, we got into a fight over it because he came in at 1:00am and I could not reach him for hours because his phone was off. During the argument, he yelled that I am trying to control him because I paid the bills. Now, what do you think is the best response to that? I simply kept quiet and went to bed. My point is, fighting is hard with someone who thinks he is being taken advantage of. So there are a LOT of things I let slide, to keep the peace. Now, can you see how this can be damaging?

You are waiting for an explosion

Teebillz called Tiwa’s mother a witch holding him down. This resonates with me for some reason. Between when my husband and I met till now, I have been promoted three times and had my salary go up four times. He has been in basically the same place, or even worse. I just got a loan to start a side business and I am so terrified that if that becomes extremely successful, he will explode. Heck, this is Nigeria, he can say he met me and I took his star, or is it shine? Just picture being in a partnership where you are too scared to be successful. He had once blown up because I bought our son a bicycle without consulting him. He says I show off what I have to make him feel bad and guilt him. I was stumped. Now I am stuck being in one place because I fear that moving forward will completely ruin us.

You have no idea what your responsibilities are

Before I had enough and had to hire help, I did it all. I worked 8 to 5, I cooked, cleaned, woke up with the baby a dozen times at night even though I had to be up by 5am. I even did all this while 9 months pregnant. I sometimes ask for help, but I try not to ask too much, because, ego. The society expect things from me and my family has a whole different set of expectations. Sometimes, to get through the day, I imagine I am a single mother. This way, I feel empowered, not exhausted. What are my options, ask him to cook? Clean? Go out and make money? Imagine the complications.

You do not know when to be grateful

One morning, few months ago, the baby started crying at 1 am. I was about to get up and he told me not to worry. He got up and got her back to sleep. He did it just the once and never did it again. I did mumble a ‘thank you’ and went back to bed that morning but evidently he expected more. A week after that, we were having a discussion (or was it an argument?) where he mentioned the fact that  I was never grateful for what he does for me. I asked for an example and he talked about waking up with the baby that morning. I said I appreciated it and he said that it was not enough.  He claimed I acted like it was no big deal. Honestly, I do think he was right. I did not consider it a big deal. I felt it was the least he could do.  But when he did not do it again, I did not bring it up. He has probably done a couple other things I do not notice because a part of me felt he should be doing more. This might be all me, but it is very clear how bad a person will feel if he is not appreciated.

Do not get me wrong, I love my husband, but it is very clear that the deck is stacked against the Nigerian woman who wants to do it all. I constantly pray for things to get better for him, not because we get more money, but things NEED to be better for our marriage to survive. We literally need him to achieve some level of success, or our marriage will die, due to all the resentment, insecurity, anger and pain.

If any of you women out there are doing this and rocking it, I pay a very huge respect. If you are considering this, make sure you are absolutely ready.  For a Nigerian woman to be the breadwinner, she needs some form of superhuman strength and patience.

Image via Wall Street Journal

Responses

    1. Abiola
      I am not married but I understand. Because this is my mother’s story as well. I look at her sometimes and I just feel sorry about everything she has had to go through and is still going through. It has kind of made me have a resentment for my dad I am trying to work on and get rid of. Sorry, I don’t have any words of advice, all my mother does is pray. I hope you find a way to get through this.
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      1. Ufuomaee
        Aunty ke? Lol!

        Not too happy that my comment was spammed. There were no links on it or anything? Was it the mention of God?

        Let me see if this one will pass… Christian. God. Pray. I wonder if there was any other controversial word I used that would lead to my comment ending up in spam.

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  1. Basooh
    Firstly, thanks for sharing your story.
    Secondly, I would like to say I’m not married but ‘I think’ this has to be more of a communication problem, I don’t think I would like to get married to someone who’s uncomfortable with me telling them the truth or vice versa. I think being in a relationship (getting married) has to do with a lot of trust, you ever think he wants to talk to you about his problems or that you actually telling him of your success will be a source of motivation for him?
    Like I said, I’m not married, I don’t know the rules, this is just my 2 cents.
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    1. Kay
      Someone with my viewpoint!
      Reading this, I realized the major problem there is a communication problem. I Do not see why my wife will not be free to talk to me about anything all in the name of ‘bruising my ego’…
      Believe me, if that communication issue is not dealt with, you’ll still have challenges in the marriage no matter who the breadwinner is
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      1. A
        It’s not a communication problem. Did you read where she said she has spoken to him about the late nights and he still does it? Or where she mentioned he should find another source of income?
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      2. Folu
        Trust me, this is not a communication problem. Some men are just wired that way – very close minded to opportunities and easily frustrated when things don’t go their way. There’s no big deal in a woman being the breadwinner for a short period of time but when it starts to get too long, it becomes a thing of worry. I experienced it first hand with my parents so I totally understand what she’s going through. Another reason why I get scared of marriage. Some people, no matter how brilliant they are, their potentials never actualizes.
        8+
    2. Phil
      Lol. Basoh it’s not a communication problem, it’s simply what’s attainable in a Nigerian marriage where the woman is the breadwinner. How do I know? I live through this everyday because this story perfectly describes my parents marriage
      3+
  2. MIA
    Thanks for sharing….. My mum is the breadwinner and most times I wonder why she makes it seem like its my dad doing all that.. I remember growing up and she will say ask your dad and I will be thinking its your money please just give me. Now I know its more of an ego thing for the guy. Hello dear you are not alone….. A lot of Nigeria women have been doing this and still doing this. The Lord is your strength. My dad was a little considerate though wasn’t keeping late night and all. Cheers.
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  3. Monique
    Like I always say, if the man is ready to take a back seat and allow the woman to be the breadwinner, it is only fair that he takes up some domestic responsibilities at home. Most marriages end up today because of male ego. Even the man who is providing fully actually thinks he is doing the woman a favour by taking care of her.
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  4. Ufuomaee
    I really feel for you dear! Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I hope men in such marriages will find a way to put themselves in their wives’ shoes, whatever they are going through themselves. Sometimes, it is hard for us to come out of ourselves, and imagine what someone else is going through, even sharing the same situation (like same house, same kids but different burdens).
    I would say communicate…but I’m sure you have tried and it is hard to get some real understanding…but still try to communicate your feelings to him in a way he would understand and that is non-judgemental. Also, if you are a Christian, then I’d recommend praying. For him and for yourself. Pray for more grace, for more humility and understanding. You guys are not pitted against each other, you are a team, and when one of you is blessed, both of you are blessed. I think that there needs to be a shift from focusing on which direction the blessing is coming, because it could truly change in an instant. How you treat him when you are so blessed, will determine how he will treat you when his blessing comes…

    I pray that God will see you through and grant you both more love, wisdom and understanding. And that you will have a testimony to share from all of this, as you work through this together as a team!

    Christian love, Ufuoma.

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    1. Ufuomaee
      At last! It’s been approved… Please tell me what was spam worthy in this post!

      Anyway, my dear sister, hang on in there! This is a challenge and we all face challenges in life and in marriage, and the strong survive with testimonies. Your marriage can make it…pray, love and trust God. Love is patient and kind, endures all things, hopes all things… 1 Cor 13! Don’t give up! I pray for your man too, that God will do His work in his life and get him to snap out of anything that is holding him bound.

      Have a blessed day!

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  5. Emma Marie
    First, I want to say you’re not alone. A lot of women I know are going through this.
    I also understand how frustrating it is when he’s not into horning any entrepreneurial skills. Then you begin to doubt all the potential you saw in him.
    Important question is how do you work it out? You cannot keep nursing his ego and walking on eggshells, to your own detriment. But I must applaud your selflessness and how you’ve handled things so far.

    a)You need to talk to him. Try not to be too apologetic or accusing. Better to bruise the ego sooner than later. Tell him all these fears and give him time to listen and respond (a couple of days maybe).

    b) If you know other things he’s good at. Things that you liked about him when you started dating. Find out what he could do with the skill or talent. Some people need a little push now and then. He may not be grateful now, have that in mind.

    c) Let him understand that chores aren’t only for women. #WifenotSlave ikid ikid don’t use those words.

    This. Too. Shall. Pass.
    I’ll say a prayer for you.

    16+
  6. Lagos looker
    Many Nigerian women are breadwinners. You won’t know cos people don’t go around saying it as it’s not a thing of pride. I felt this post with you, ma’am. I saw this growing up and it’s still happening with my parents. You can try and see a counsellor or pastor you trust to talk about it if dialogue with him isn’t changing anything. And don’t stop talking to God about it. I’ll pray for you too. Kisses
    4+
  7. fabsomebody
    Hmmmmm. Different strokes……..
    I am the breadwinner but not by choice….hubby lost his job a year after we got married and has refused to look for another one.
    Good thing is that he helps around the house A LOT!!!! Cooks, cleans takes baby to school and all (To be fair he did all that even when he was working).
    “You cannot have a fight” This i know!! When you try to talk or you end up in an argument it always ends up with “Its because of my present situation that you are disrespecting me like this right”?
    I had to give him my atm to hold once salary is paid so he doesn’t have to ask for the money,I made a mistake of telling someone i thought was a friend about this and what she said was not encouraging at alllll so i never spoke about it to anyone else.
    Hubby has started a little business and sometimes it even pays more than my salary so i’m hopeful that we will get through this
    Its a phase i know and its difficult but what can you do?
    I can relate to your situation on some levels so what i did and i’m still doing, after all communication always ends up in a war, is to change my attitude to the situation. I pray for my husband EVERYDAY and i tell myself that “this too shall pass”. I’m currently on a NO Shopping diet too *grin.
    Did i mention how wonderful my family has been is all this????
    11+
  8. thetoolsman
    Sigh.. Felt so sad reading this… To begin with, though I get your point about being alone because many women currently going through same do not just talk about it with anyone, please note that you are far from alone. Some of us fortunately or otherwise get to hear these stories first hand and I know for a fact that its reality for many many women out there today.

    As tempted as I am to want to discuss the why and how many find themselves in such situations, today isn;t the day for it. Like and said above, communication is the way to go. Add to this, the other two special ingredients I think makes great marriages (trust and understanding) and i thin you might just be able to get past this patch. What is key yo note though is what you communicate and how. From your post, it’s obvious you’ve tried to talk to him in the past but what you need to try to do differently is leave emotions aside, like Emma said, his ego wont come out of this injury free so better to accept that now. One thing I know works for most men is cold hard logic. I don;t know how much he knows about your finances but perhaps he thinks your pockets are deeper than you’ve told him and as a result, he’s a little too comfortable. Sit him down and show him numbers that tell him just how close you are to not being able to put food on that table – leave out the fluff and let him see the hard reality and subtly throw in a timeline so he know his grace period isn’t everlasting.

    Understanding then comes if you see him put in genuine effort and maybe for whatever reason things still seem a bit slow. Then you keep talking. At every point in time he needs to know how you feel – it’s hard but at the end of the day, even for your own conscience, it’s only after this you can say you’ve given it your all. Good luck and I really hope things work out for you.

    14+
    1. Emma Marie
      Please write an article on why and how we find ourselves in these type of situation.
      Those of us in the Pre marriage camp would not mind.
      3+
    2. Babajide
      What makes us a Man? most of the time bringing the money in- this allows us set the direction and pace of how the home is run. men are naturally egotistical so trust me he might be facing demons you wont understand cos he cant provide.

      sorry to say this cos i dunno the story and not putting the blame on you but you need to search within yourself that have you made the living condition (and im not talking about the house) he could be coming home late cos he doesn’t know how to face you. you need to see me how i act when i feel like ive failed my wife ( most times its me thinking so) sometimes the devil just plays with your head so you start seeing what its not. if he feels a failure then you need to show him he is a champion who would pull through. psych him up

      i am very bad at house work (heck my first encounter with a broom was when i started dating my wife) but the more she praised every effort the more i got better. we are not there yet but my wife has a saying “we are getting better, we are getting better” when she praises me it triggers a reminder that these things makes her happy.

      then like others have said i think you guys need oneness…. lord me and my wife can fight lol but with every fight we get better and we have a deeper understanding of each other. we are one with finance, one with decision making one in everything. even if we have a decision i dont agree with the moment we do it its our decision so if it goes wrong its our fault not the winning persons fault. so talk to him and show him the hard facts but be loving and gentle so that the devil doesnt use his ego to make him not see what your saying

      13+
      1. Phil
        Lol.
        The woman will work 9-5, do the house chores, take care of the children, pay all the bills then still find the time to “search within herself” “psyche him up” because you know, she’s wonder woman and she doesn’t need any form of encouragement and support herself.
        This comment is unfair, very unfair, because you’d never tell this to a man.
        A man will not bring home the bacon and “fry” it himself and be asked to search within himself to see how he has made himself unapproachable to his wife. I have a lot to say but I’ll stop here.
        The things women have to go through in this country….
        32+
        1. Babajide
          And this is where I see you didn’t connect it to the story. Clearly the writer is asking for help and I can tell your a woman. Do I support her to be all in all no. But trust me I have things to say to address the guy as well but I can’t write to her from that perspective cos she’s not the guy. For things to get Better both parties have roles to play. And psyching him up is part of the things she needs to do. This person is trying to save her marriage… Watch “the War room” and you would understand what i mean. I’ve seen it in reality as well a man who has his head on his shoulder would never forget… My uncle didn’t and now the wife is reaping all the benefits
          2+
          1. A
            Your initial comment is unfair. You can write here what you’d like to tell the guy so she, the writer can use it. She didn’t ask you to psycho-analyse her.

            Don’t know how you deduced she may be making the home uncomfortable for him. Men are not special creatures. We are all human beings. Who doesn’t like to be encouraged and appreciated?

            9+
          2. Phil
            I don’t connect to the story? Lol.
            I connected to that story in so many ways Babajide. Is it the nights I spent wiping the tears from my Mom’s eyes because she was the breadwinner and home maker and the person she did all this for was out keeping late nights, didn’t appreciate her efforts, took her money and quarrelled with her at the slightest provocation? Or is it the fact that when I came of age, I had to hustle for myself and any money I made was split in two – pay for my school fees and send some to my mom to take care of the home and my siblings because she wasn’t making enough and my Dad was working with “what he studied in school” and even if that wasn’t making enough money to feed his family he just couldn’t be bothered?
            To the writer of this story, you asked for how to save your marriage but I think there are some other pressing issues here. I do not have any marriage advice to give you, other people have commented on that and I believe some have contributed well. But this is my own two cents:
            First off, you really need to talk to someone. Preferably your parents or a trusted family member, it is not advisable to keep this kind of thing bottled up. Please forget this “protecting my husband” rhetoric. You’re not protecting him by keeping quiet, you’re encouraging irresponsible behaviour.
            Secondly, please please and please do not short change yourself because of a man’s ego. You have a lot going for you and you seem very industrious. If you wish to start a business, go ahead with it, be as successful as you want to and make as much money as you can if not for anything, do it for your children. So their future can be secured and they won’t grow up feeling the pinch of having a father that can’t provide for them. I say again, never sacrifice your ambitions on the alter of a man’s ego, you will regret it eventually – I speak from experience.
            Yes pray, do war room and all of that but please look out for yourself and your children, you also deserve happiness and peace of mind. The least a responsible and matured man will do in all of this will be to help you around the house with chores and support and comfort you emotionally because you my darling are shouldering the responsibility of the wife and husband as well.
            God bless you and I pray he strengthens you and gives you peace of mind.
            27+
        2. Larz
          The job of any spouse is to psyche their partner up. All day everyday! No exceptions. Man or woman!

          Forget what our culture tells us, men provide and women cook cleans etc, our core role is to be supportive partner and that means helping lift our spouse’s spirit when they are vulnerable

          4+
  9. jedidiah
    this is a timely piece. you would be surprised that there are many women carrying the same burden. the least a man is expected to do is to support his wife and not add to the challenges. I must admit that such a situation is a big blow to a man’s ego and it takes a very big man to stop being petty and play his part.
    4+
  10. F
    Yes please Toolsman, do write an article on how we get into such situations. Cos this is one of my legit fears about getting married.
    0
    1. Noni
      It’s not a situation “you get into” when you’re married. It happens, we’ve seen it happen to our parents and in different circumstances it can happen to us.

      The test of your metal, as a man or woman, is how you cope under such circumstances. If you don’t really know yourself or the other person, you won’t know. It can bring out the best or worst in a person.

      My advice for anyone considering marriage is go in with your eyes open and never ignore red flags.

      1+
  11. Abi
    Thanks for sharing your story. I have seen this first hand from close people in my life and the eggshell thing is too too real. It is not easy at all.

    Like someone mentioned, I really believe prayer answers so much and that the battles we do not know how to fight are best fought on our knees.

    I also think that one time or the other, you both need to talk. It’s sad and difficult to be in a relationship where every little thing, ” it’s because u have the money” But one time or the other u will have to face that music and sort things out or not , no matter what. It might be better if its not on a day you get so upset and things just BLOW UP.

    I pray for strength, for grace and for wisdom for you and also for your man. I pray for understanding in your marriage and the grace to work it out too. Amen

    You are strong.

    3+
  12. Od
    I’m a little too mentally tired at the moment to deal with this appreciably. But I know that I have some things to say about it so I’ll try to not make a mess.

    Men are by nature creatures of ability and responsibility and therefore of pride. The most difficult thing for a man to deal with is failure to provide in some substantial way for the people that depend on him. It erodes his personal recognition of his identity. But you know that so I’m not really saying it for you.

    My feeling is that your husband needs time away. I’m speaking from instinct here rather than research. I do know anecdotes that derive from ancient times and some modern day experiences I’ve heard of but I’m also speaking as a man with the instincts of a man.

    The first problem he is dealing with is that he can’t provide. The second is that he depends on you. The first is easier to solve for a man. If he could, he would severely reduce your expenses and try to live within what he can manage in any way to provide. The second strips him of the moral power to make decisions like that. And he would be very unwilling to put you and your children through difficulty just because he can’t provide when you can. So, the solution is probably for him to take some time away to go and sort himself out, rediscover his manly inventiveness and ability to produce when resources are terribly scarce.

    It’s a natural instinct in men. It only dulls from disuse. He may not be enthusiastic about it at first but if he still remembers the pride that drives us males he will find it appealing on some level.

    Is this a practical solution? Honestly, I don’t know. I have been told of a maternal uncle of mine who came on hard times and my aunt, his wife, told him to leave and go find food for them that he had no business sitting around in the house. I must have been a wee lad then. Today, he is the man of the house in every sense of the word. He provides for them regardless what his wife is capable of. At least, that is as far as I know.

    I don’t know how this will work out in your own case. Men are no longer being raised to be men but something very weird, very bizarre and effeminate so you should be very careful how you handle it. My uncle was raised by my grandfather who was an adult during colonial times so his background was our cultural ways when boys went through initiation rites into manhood and learned to take responsibility for provision and protection.

    Personally, I totally believe in clear lines between gender responsibilities. I’m not married and it is at least 50% by choice and I’m 30. I made the decision that I wouldn’t get married until I could not only afford a wedding but I could sustain my home by myself without any need to rely on anybody else’s income.

    My reason was simple. I have seen the work involved in raising children and running a house. I wouldn’t like my wife to have to do that and still have to go out and earn. If she chooses to do both, it should be because she wants to, not because we need her to bring in any bacon or yam or egg, and we’ll have to work out a system that enables her to maintain effective oversight of the home no matter what else she does. On the other hand, I have seen what happens in the society when women begin to weigh in on public issues. It does terrible things that I think I will have to write a whole book about at some point. As a man, I will take my place as one of the caretakers and guardians of society. I have no intention to cede it to a woman. I totally trust my wife to be an excellent counsellor for me and a very wise woman but it will be my primary duty to speak for my family and my clan and my values in the public space, not hers, until I can no longer speak and there is no man in our home to speak for us anymore.

    This is my ethos. It is why I am not in a big hurry to get married.

    There is another thing to say. There are those who will point to the economy and tell you how it is so this and so that. One reason that the old timers especially in Igbo land had such a fierce and rigorous system for turning boys into men was to curb the male instinct to complain and pass blames. It is very easy, much easier than anyone might believe for men to blame others, especially weaker people or some nebulous reality, for their failures. So, we put boys through very difficult experiences to toughen and harden them to the realities of life and make them strong enough to bend nature and the world to their will. We don’t do that anymore. So there are lots of weak men running wild in the world and ruining things because once something proves a little difficult, they start looking for the easy way out, cutting corners and flouting agreements and laws.

    Men are built to rule their lives and their world, to be indomitable. Your husband needs to rediscover that. And, in my opinion, he’d probably be able to do it by leaving the house and going to learn to support himself again. When he does and returns and you’re still there, I guarantee that your home will be better than you’ve ever remembered it. Speak to the call of the wild and unfettered in him, if you can find a way to.

    I hope with everything I’ve got that things work out in your favor. 🙂

    PS. I had completely forgotten. I actually have a much older brother who had to do just that. He is still in the process of pulling everything back together but he did exactly what I said. He left to go and sort his finances out and it’s working. Last I heard he had paid down a large portion of the debts he incurred prior to leaving and he had his wife back with him. But their kids are still with a cousin of ours. In time, I’m sure he can reclaim responsibility for them.

    And, for me, I took the Spartan path. I’m carving my own world out and paying for it with pretty much everything a young man can lose besides his life, health and mind.

    10+
    1. Priscilla Joy
      I think you may need to change your stand on this: “I made the decision that I wouldn’t get married until I could not only afford a wedding but I could sustain my home by myself without any need to rely on anybody else’s income.” Life happens OD, I don’t think that any man in her husband’s situation initially sets out to rely on his wife’s income but these things happen, even to the most prepared sometimes so it will do us all well, both men and women alike to prepare our minds for uncertainties in life. I don’t understand what you mean by this: “On the other hand, I have seen what happens in the society when women begin to weigh in on public issues.” Sigh, I strongly believe that you have a wrong perception of women….and men as well, the old timers didn’t get it right in my opinion because I believe that is the reason we have men who go around feeling like a failure and the world has come to an end because of setbacks or hard times which they may not have any control over or they could take care of if they would just calm down and work with their wives as a team.
      10+
      1. Od
        About the first…

        We just said the same thing. Affording a wedding and sustaining a home by myself includes having a ready mind and an able arm to deal with uncertainty. It’s not just about money in the bank or in the mattress.

        You’re right about man and woman being a team. I’m not just a big fan of that: it is what I preach. What I aim for personally is the Proverbs 31 home. It’ll take a bit of getting into to open that up in the manner I would like, so let me just say that you should pay attention to what Lemuel’s mother taught him and what she said about the husband of the virtuous woman in addition to the popular focus on the woman. When you see the positioning of the man and the woman, you’ll appreciate how I view my home.

        About the second…

        I said it would take a book and I’m really not up for that kind of work. If I don’t develop the thought completely as soon as it is delivered, it will be misunderstood and ill used.

        Suffice to say that if a woman believes that she should lead in the society and that she has the ability to, she is free to disregard any opinions I have about it and go ahead. For my part, when leadership is needed in the society, I will always be seeking to step up to the plate because I believe that it is the man’s place to be responsible for other people, not to have people take care of him.

        1+
      2. Od
        About that part about men feeling like failures etc because the old timers got it wrong, I think you made the point. If men were tougher, they wouldn’t mope when things implode. They’d get up, grit their teeth and get back out there. It’s because we started diluting our culture and eventually abandoning ancient truths we have held that we got caught in the mess we are in. The truth, like you said, is that life happens. What do we do when it does? Do we fold up and die? Or do we get back in there? What decides what we do? Backbone or the lack of it. What gives us backbone? Understanding of the rules of life. Where do we get that? From our forebears who put us in situations to face uncertainties and learn how to grab hold of them and define them. When they fail to teach us that? We must find a way to learn for ourselves. The old timers used methods that fit the realities of warfare, hunting and perhaps farming to teach. Today, we may need different methods but in the end the goal is the same: learn to rule your environment…benevolently enough for it to serve you and preserve and prosper you. If we don’t learn, we’ll be weak.
        0
    2. Jade
      Dear Odi, please what happens when society allows women to weigh in on public issues? what are these terrible things you speak of?
      3+
      1. Od
        As I said, I’m not at all ready to speak of it. There is research I will need to do first. I mentioned it to explain my choices as a man.

        But I’ll say two things:

        One, allowing and disallowing is really in one’s head. Society does not disallow women to contribute to public issues. Even if it did, it takes one stubborn person for a rule to start eroding. What I said had nothing to do with women being allowed or disallowed to do anything.

        Second, terrible things? Look around you and try to explain what you see to yourself. If you are satisfied that there are no terrible things around you or that what terrible things you see have nothing to do with women’s involvement in public issues, then disregard everything I said. I will probably discover the same in my research eventually.

        Or not. In which case, if I do put out a book, you’ll see everything I have to say about it. 🙂

        cc:

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        1. A
          It’s interesting how you see the so called terrible things as being the results of women speaking in public. Please give us specific examples to help us understand.

          Also the proverbs 31 woman you speak of, did not sit at home neither did she cook and clean. She managed the home ie supervised the home and delegated duties approriately. She also worked and her husband was well-to-do and known for good things. So how does this align with your own description of how you want your marriage? Just be sure of what you want and let your potential/future partner know

          8+
          1. Od
            Like I said, not now. I wasn’t making an argument. Just offering reasons for the decisions I’ve taken as a man. They don’t have to suit you or anybody else. For all you know, I’m a deluded sociopath that shouldn’t be listened to. Like I also said, any woman (like , for example) who wants to lead society is free to go ahead and try. The only way in which I will oppose her is that I will always be taking responsibility to lead, provide and protect because I believe that it is a man’s duty and I will demand the full responsibility of that from her if she takes that position. I will not accommodate her feminine nature if she fails.

            As for the other, I think you didn’t quite read what I said or else you didn’t read it clearly because you just said what I said plus some things that are quite curious.

            There is as less reason to think that the woman of Proverbs 31 did not stay home than there is to think that she did. You see, you can run a vast business empire right from your house if you put the right structure in place. And this woman knew all about structures. That is partly why her husband is so confident in her that he can trust her with his home, his heart and his mission.

            She ran their home and she ran their business. And he sat in the council of rulers as one of the most respected voices. A power couple, if there ever has been one. 🙂

            If you pay attention and don’t get intimidated by her qualities as I have found evidence that women are wont to be, you will find in Proverbs 31 God’s blueprint for the home. 🙂 And it’s beautiful in the way that each person plays their part with great contentment and rejoices in the other for their trustworthiness.

            The husband brings pride to his wife with his work on the council and the respect which he commands that makes business open up for her. And she makes a home for him where he can find rest. Her husband blesses her and praises her in turn.

            If women were not so preoccupied today with themselves and being perfect and defending imperfection, and men were taught by people like King Lemuel’s mother to be noble and just, many homes and marriages would be like Proverbs 31.

            2+
      1. Funmi O
        and , obviously means the evil feminists will start a global bra burning epidemic and the world will implode. After all, why should a woman speak, if a man can? He already explained women shouldn’t take up such positions unless no other men are available. So yeah. Terrible things.
        8+
    3. Tosin
      I see your point OD, until I sort of don’t. I think you’re a bit far on the gender-determinism scale, chill out a little. I will be at whatever meeting, I will be President if y’all have sense, and I will carry my tits there and do a great job. Abeg abeg.
      But I agree that you could write an interesting book for guys who may need some reminding about the gender-differentiation thing (cos some girls will dump you just for being sensitive or non-controlling and that’s real)
      I wrote a book, fiction, gender-ish, you should download and read it or don’t talk to me.
      0
  13. A
    *sigh* I feel so bad for you and i kinda understand. No you’re not alone in this. So many Nigerian women go through this; my mum being one of them. I thank God for her everytime I think about it. She did almost everything herself even the ones my dad said he would do. I don’t know what advice to give you. I see someone saying talk to him. It appears you may have tried but do it again this time. All cards on the table kind of discussion at a good time for both of you. Be as gentle as possible but be firm. Make sure you make your point clearly. Let him know that this is a partnership and he needs to contribute; financially AND otherwise. You can’t do everything yourself. He has more time since he’s waiting on clients so he should help out more at home. He should also look for other sources of income. Find a new job, change strategy for getting clients, educate himself, something.
    God help you.*hugs*
    4+
  14. Ray
    This is such a touching and insightful story.
    I feel so sorry for you and other women going through this.
    I think you need to speak out though, you should find someone trustworthy around you to talk to about this. Your husband seems like a lazy, unambitious person who needs serious counseling, if he will listen anyway.
    Concerning responsibilities, I think you should do all you can for yourself and your children. If he’s going to leave you for trying to cater to the family’s needs, then he probably doesn’t even deserve to have you in the first place.
    And I really don’t see why a woman has to be overly grateful to her husband because he helped care for the child over the night, after all, he also fathered the child.
    8+
    1. Babajide
      i doubt you can be making that assumption… its unfair he might be lazy or might be going through a rough patch. so she needs to be carefull cos if he becomes ok he would remember all the things she did when he was down.
      1+
      1. Ray
        Well, like she said, they’ve been married for over 2 years and it’s starting to feel like a rather long patch. I also don’t know many people who are not lazy who would rather stick to ‘working with what they studied in school as they don’t know any other way to make money’ although what they studied is obviously not working.
        Please let’s stop kidding ourselves, if he doesn’t appreciate her now that he’s down, how certain is it that he will when he starts making money?
        I’m not telling her to be hostile or leave him. I’m only advising she not lose Herself or deny her kids of good things, cos of a man who doesn’t want to do better with his life.
        She pays the bills, settles his family and still doesn’t mock him in public over it, she is trying to save her marriage to him and he doesn’t even think to maybe work harder for her sake or the kids. He doesn’t even think to help her with chores or kids. He even stays out late and makes her worry and then guilt-trips her over her efforts to take care of the family. That doesn’t seem like a hardworking man to me. Definitely not one who appreciates his wife. Definitely not one who hates his ‘rough patch’ enough to want to get out of it.
        9+
  15. LincayaD
    Hi Meenah,

    seemingly this problem is not in Nigeria only. i relate to this post and unfortunately my situation led to divorce. It is not a communication issue or trust or anything like that. It has to do with transparency from the word go. During the first relationship days we overlook some of the signs of a dying relationship and we normally say things will change or things will get better. Besides we are too happy to even see that the brother does not earn much, we are paying to pay for some of the dates before you know it, you have paid for all your dinners. Some of us women are desperate for love and marrriage, we do not care about the rest until we are in it.

    i remember the time i was still married, i started playing private investigator because i did not understand some of his company deals. That really helped me a lot because i discovered a ring of lies. He used to ask me how long will i be patient with him, i said it was becoming tough. i paid bills, bought grocery, his clothes, transport money…all he did was clean thhe house, do laundry and cook. Guilt would hit me everyday because we had traded places, he was now the wife and i was the man.

    if you have not been through this situation you will not understand. Sisi Mennah, i will not say divorce at the same time you are the one who feels the pain. DIVORCE FEELS LIKE DEATH, EITHER YOU RESURRECT CLEAN, PARTIALLY DIRTY OR YOU REMAIN DEAD. i have been divorced for 5yrs now. i am doing well and happier however given a second chance i will do it. Marriage is a beautiful thing when all things are done the right way.

    My prayer goes out to you for strength and wisdom. i am truly with you and i have gone through everything you have mentioned above and moreeeee.

    7+
    1. Tosin
      Did you get out too quickly?
      What lessons have you learned about yourself?

      For instance, would you rather have a hardworking hustling honest husband earning the same as yourself – or – a gentleman of leisure with enough money to tell you to ditch your job and knit / watch TV with him all day?

      1+
      1. LincayaD
        It’s better to have a hustling husband who can meet you half way than a couch potato who will complain on anything you do. I’m not the type that wants to sit around and see the world. The girl that i am, i do not feel comfortable asking for things, i do not like to put myself in that situation because i feel like a beggar/desperate. I would rather feed myself than a lazy man. Believe me you can sell water on a hot day and make a little money. What are the women doin right that men cannot do?

        Back to your first question. I did not get out to quick but it was the best decision. Most men who are being supported by their wives tend to be abusive and it gets worse. Abuse can be physical or emotional/verbal. There are quiet a lot of things that iv learnt about myself and relationships. True love is like an empty transparent glass. u can see the other side or anything through it and U are given the privilege to fill it with a substance. It can be with lies or truth and any other things u will love served to you. Transparency reaps great fruits, most relationships lack that. There is actually a lot i can write about that i’ve learnt and the growth aswell from that phase through divorce to now. The sad part though is i scrutinize everything before i say yes😖.

        6+
  16. Dr tee
    You know, you really are not alone in this breadwinner hustle… Just as you can’t talk to others about it, so are the other women involved.. So they all put up a front…
    It’s really a difficult situation.. And you have really endured… But then it’s marriage.. For better for worse, especially as kids are already around.. Except he becomes abusive, then that’s gonna be a problem….

    I really admire your patience…

    2+
  17. sonia
    “He’s doing what he read in school and does not know any other way to bring money” and he cannot learn? You taking baking classes to make ends meet must have two heads. I ‘m quite shocked that a grown man with responsibilities can comfortably spew such tripe. Your husband is content with leaving home by 12pm to do ‘what he read in school’ because he has an option – your money. Owu neva blow am. Just ask that graduate that wears bow tie to clean windshields.

    We had a routine as a child, when money was tight. Wake up at 6 and get ready for school then sit in our uniforms waiting for my father to come home with the bread and lipton he’d bought from the first two trips he’d done as an okada rider. This was a graduate whom we used to see only twice a year because he was stationed in London. He had lost his job and there were no more pretty clothes, expensive schools or gold jewelry – just hunger. I know a man on a 50k salary who rushes home after work just to put a cake in the oven for sale the next day – all to make ends meet. No one is asking for pounds and dollars, just make an effort. Just fu**ing try.

    Again, It’s one thing to have traditional roles reversed and another thing to eat your cake and have it. At least, in the former, both parties are useful. How does one explain your cooking, cleaning, catering to kids (even up till 9 months pregnancy), paying fees, putting food on the table, supporting his family and tiptoeing on egg shells around his ego but his picking up a baby one night is a gigantic favor. How? You work your fingers to the bone while he saunters into the house at odd hours with zero regard for his responsibilities but you can’t speak your mind because of emotional blackmail. How is this okay? Is that man okay?

    Marriage is a partnership and both parties have parts to play. Communication might be a part of the problem (which i really doubt) but i think your husband is selfish af. If his ego is taking that hard a beating, the least he can do is make some effort to help you, not use it against you.
    Like thetoolsman said, sit him down and lay down cold hard facts.

    30+
  18. Babajide
    Lol yea I get you… Just trying to give him benefit of doubt ni…. I think she should concentrate on the child if he isn’t responsible
    0
  19. Faerie
    I’ve been in this situation and it would surprise you to know that a lot of women are in the same situation. We just don’t talk about it because of the man’s ego and society’s judgment. I paid school fees, rent, bought fuel, food. Maintained my car and still did ALL the household chores. My husband was working but would rarely bring money for anything,and never helped out with chores. So I feel your pain. I wonder how long you can live like this? It’s obvious that you both resent each other for various reasons. For me, it became unbearable after a while. It’s so difficult to be with a partner who can’t or won’t pull his weight. I wish you the best of luck as you navigate these treacherous waters.
    2+
  20. Serena
    Nice write up, tried to touch but are we sure she did not use his star?
    Lot of ladies are desperate to be married. They go from pillar to post with boyfriends picture and name. Some of these things adversely affect the man.
    Anyways the first person to tell your problems to is God, secondly the problem. May God help us all
    0
    1. Passerby
      Really…… you typed this, proof read, filled all the other boxes are sent it.
      Like, you are genuinely serious. You realize this isn’t a fictional piece right?
      You are completely aware of what you just said.
      Wow!
      6+
  21. Traveller
    I sympathize with the author but what really stuck with me was” I asked for an example and he talked about waking up with the baby that morning. I said I appreciated it and he said that it was not enough.”
    Nigerian couples need to understand that childcare is not solely the woman’s job. Two people came together to make a child so why would it be one person’s responsibility to care for the child.
    You don’t need to formally thank your husband for taking care of his child! Both parents are responsible, we shd both be willing to wake up at 2am to change a diaper!
    3+
  22. larz
    Oh Meena

    I really wish you weren’t going through this but I am a strong believer that everything we go through in life will usually make us stronger if we don’t let it break us.

    I wont pretend to know the full story because a few paragraph probably isn’t enough to share the extent of what is going on with you. Moreso, I haven’t heard your husband’s side of the story so I will try and address this from a mainly theoretical point of view based mainly on how it tends to play out in most similar marriages. Choose what applies to you:

    Nearly everything you have listed above is merely symptom of a root cause. You see, both you and your hubby are in a place of discontent in your marriage. Your marriage looks nothing like you have been promised that marriage should be like. Society has told you that the marriage should have the man as the breadwinner and the woman as the cook/ cleaner etc. So when the model you are facing is different from the one you planned for, you options are to either a) stick with the original model even though it doesn’t work or b) try to adapt to the new model. To put it simply, it is like cramming the answers to a Physics exam the night before and when you got to the exam hall you found that the exam you were sitting was actually Biology so you either use the Physics answer to the Biology exam or you try to answer the Biology question as best as you can even though you have very little knowledge of Biology.

    The biggest risk to a man’s self esteem is feeling of inadequacy due to inability to provide for their family and being unable to function sexually. Funny though, for some men, when they faced with the fomer, instead of working doubly hard to change their situation, they feel sorry for themselves and drown their sorrows in sex and alcohol.

    Why am I telling you this? Well the answer is, whilst you still have a part to play in encouraging him, you need to be able to talk to him openly and frankly. The next time he pulls the “is it because I am not earning as much” card, look him in the eye and tell him that it is not and rather bring the conversation back n track. Don’t clam up every time he brings that up. Tell him you both need each other to build back what you both envisioned for your family and for that to happen, you need his support. Remind him of the you guys originally set out to achieve and share new dreams with him, including the things you hope to achieve once things pick up for him; let him realize that you believe in him. Understanding that there is common vision (esp one he buys into) might propel him into action.

    Remind him that you both have to put in your 100% into the family so he needs to help out as much as he is capable of doing. I once told my husband that if work takes up 60% of our waking time each, does it make sense for me to spend 35% of my waking time doing chores whilst he gets 40% time off to chill and I only get 5%. Give him facts and tell him the truth. It is hard not to become resentful if you have 1% free time and your spouse gets 50%. Again, the example above I gave worked for my husband, amend as appropriate to suit yours.

    You guys should also work together as a team, make decisions together for the small and big deals.

    Finally, your husband is not as frustrated with you as he is of himself. As someone who is already feeling pretty rubbish, positive affirmation means a lot to him now more than ever. Whenever he does something for you, make sure he knows that you appreciate his help, however small or insignificant it may seem to you. I wont be surprised if he doesn’t act like he doesn’t need the thanks and appreciation you show him but he probably does and it will go a long way towards making him feel needed again.

    It will do you good to seek some support from trusted people (counsellor, mentors, friends etc) because you need someone to top you up on some positivity as you pour into your husband’s life. Keep your family in prayers and remember that this too shall pass. Wish you all the best.

    7+
  23. kathybee
    I have been in that situation for the past nineteen years. Your situation is just a prelude compared to what I’ve been through. My dear, you need to speak out to someone trustworthy and pragmatic, preferably not your pastor. Pastors will tell you to continue to pray. I’m not saying prayer is not good but as someone who has been in your shoes and worse, the only help I’ve gotten from my pastor is “pray my child”. In the early stages my eldest brother used to tell me that my hubby is lazy that any guy that can sit down comfortably unemployed while the wife feeds him for more than a year is a parasite. I was making excuses for him and in time when he eventually got a job some years ago, he said shebi I’ve beeen taking care of the home when he was unemployed. Any slight disagreement always end up with ” you are proud because you are the breadwinner”. And soon abuse set in, that was when I left five years ago. I have taken my pastors advise twice and took him back, it always end in violence. The latest was 2 months ago and I’m just getting myself together. In fact, he has become horrible to the point that I cannot buy things for my children, he will claim I have spoilt them. Phones and laptop too much for children aged 11 to 19? I finally told my pastor this” morning hat I’ve had enough and I’m done praying for him. Why I’m telling you all this is for you to learn from me and nip the situation in the bud. Don’t let him get too comfortable with you providing for the home, withdraw some indulgences and get somebody to make him see reason that he has to learn something to bring in extra income.
    7+
  24. joe
    I like th is story… She is a success and her husband is a loser
    She is being reasonable he is not being reasonable
    She thinks he doesn’t want her to be more successful
    Even from the story I can see that you that your marriage will struggle…irrespective

    of who has more money

    Marriage is not competition…talk to your husband!
    Putt everything in the open and stop assuming
    From your discussion above your marriage is over..you just don’t realise it

    Men can actually handle the woman being a breadwinner if we think the money hasn’t turned her
    In fact so many couples have the woman a breadwinner but you wouldn’t know it

    The problem is not all in the mans head abeg
    Men with educated housewives have a similar problem when the wife gets bored and blamesher lack of progress professionally on the husband

    If you love each other or have the will..you will make the marriage work and help him or her keep her sense of self worth
    Rant over

    0
    1. Julia
      No, most men can’t. I don’t disagree that some women could act all funny when they earn more but that isn’t always the case.
      A man confessed a few years back that when his wife got a promotion and started earning more, he started misreading her actions and thought it was because she earned more.
      He had to sit himself down one day and looked within. He had dealt with himself and realised it was all in his head.
      3+
  25. Ade Fidler
    Sweetie pie, I feel for you.
    I’m not sure how long you’re going to keep up massaging his ego. It’s all a power game and even of he feels you’re not doing anything wrong, he’ll want to use the fact that you’re the breadwinner to blackmail you into submission and silence.
    You deserve more from him, you don’t deserve to leave a life of massaging his ego and been subservient to him. My advice is before the years continue rolling on to each other, start speaking up for yourself and refuse to be emotionally blackmailed.
    If you don’t start speaking up and demanding better from him now, it will soon be too late.
    He chose to marry you just as much as you chose to marry him and you both need to keep making that choice to be with each other. You’re playing your part so he needs to play his part.
    You deserve 100% happiness and stop being scared of pissing him off.
    A million men are dying to have an hardworking and virtuous woman like you and your silence will not keep your marriage together.
    Selah!!!
    2+
  26. Jaybaby
    Like most comments here, I saw my mom take up the role as a bread winner when my Dad was retrenched. The difference is that he was entitled to Pension which he gives to my mom as soon as it is paid. He also paid fees and Other capital projects when they arise. So it may not be same for you but i learnt something from watching them.

    When i was dating my ex, I noticed that he was always so withdrawn and quiet when he’s broke. And he wouldnt do anything to make extra cash. And from the beginning, I knew that was a problem cos like someone says, life happens. I also dated a guy who fixed his Uncle’s beat up mazda and used it for transport services in the night (to avoid paying much to ‘agbero’ during the day). And he provided more for me than any other.

    Like Larz said, there is a room causes and you ignored it during dating. Its really not about him having, its his orientation. Truth is, its time for you both to have a honest conversation about your finances. Its long overdue.

    0
  27. Blood, sweat and tears
    I hate gender stereotypes. When I got to my late 20s I decided I wasn’t going to turn into a house geh just to answer Mrs. People said I should pray that my husband makes a lot of money so we could afford household staff. I said I didn’t care, I’d make plenty of my own.
    I grew up in a home where money was a huge issue – and still is. My relationship with both parents is strained right now and money, or the lack of it, was the biggest singular cause. And I made up my mind that in my next family I’d make sure it wasn’t an issue. I am not going into marriage with any financial expectations as far as my husband is concerned; whatever he provides would be “jara” to me. And this discussion will be had from day one so that somebody will not wake up one morning to any nasty surprises.
    2+
  28. Mrs Marsh
    I grew up in a family where my mum was the sole bread winner. Not only did she pay school fees, and house bills, she also set up several businesses for my dad (which always failed unfortunately due to his bad management).

    I have 7 brothers and sisters, and my mum trained us all to masters degree level ( we all went abroad for the masters). I am not writing this to boast, but just to give you an idea of how hard the woman has tried.

    If there is one thing ive learnt from her is to change the way in which you see your current situation. She will tell you that she is grateful to God to be able to care and provide for her kids, ensuring they never lack despite their “lazy” father. She will say you should count yourself lucky that despite it all, you are still growing and succeeding, and see the promotions as God’s way of ensuring you always have enough for your family.
    Forget that the man is supposed to be the bread winner, forget that he does not do anything. Forget it all, and be happy with the fact that despite it all, you are not lacking.

    My dear,you are far from being the only one. I know a number of women who are in the same situation as yourself. My uncle is worse than a deadbeat, and he still beats his wife. Yet, if she could make a wish, it will be to be able to provide more for her children.

    Pray for him, and let him be. Focus on you and children. Do not be guilty of your accomplishments. Celebrate them. You are not alone, we are many.

    3+
  29. Ogo
    Hmmmm I can’t even shout. This story is just me. As for my single sisters if the guy is a contractor don the marry. Contracting can’t be a side job but one going into marriage should have a job that you’re sure of income each month. Infact me I’m on the verge of leaving my marriage because I believe I’ve tried I really have. And man that’s looks a thing her wife taking care of everything should be ashamed. My fellow sisters do not marry a contractor.
    0

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