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Heart 2 Heart

By NBF News
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One day, she asked me what job I would like my ideal woman to engage in and I said either lecturing or practicing as a nurse/midwife. I didn't know she took my answer to heart. After some time she started telling me things like 'You are not being serious with me' 'am not seeing any sign', etc. Each time she said those thing, I would tell her to wait for the right time. But I haven't proposed to her. I am yet to rent an apartment of my own. For the meantime, I still living with my elder brother, but this is a situation I plan to change soonest.

Another issue is money: despite earning some money while servicing, she still asks me for money. I try to oblige her. But when I asked her lately what she does with the money she earns (about N30, 000 per month), she told me that she doesn't want to touch the money till the end of her service year. She told me how she plans to share the money among her siblings after the service. Now, she is insisting on going to my village with me. Please help!

• CHUKWUNONYE
Hello Chukwunonye,
It appears that your lady wants to be married as quickly as possible and that may be the reason she asked you about your career choice for women. Knowingly or not, you answered correctly since she has studied to be a mi wife and that coincides with your preferences. So, I see a desperate lady here who wants to tie the knots swiftly. The relevance of asking you your career choice for a woman is to confirm that she is the right one for you.

This woman has a problem with spending money and believes that a man is responsible for her totally. You might have a problem here if she is not aware that her position as a wife is to be a 'help mate'. This means that she should support you – her husband: emotionally, financially and sexually. Withholding her money from you or the household does not augur well for a mutually responsible relationship. You may want to raise this subject again. Now, your role as the head of household is to take care of your wife and children. On her part, your wife must support as best as possible. The idea of 50:50 in a relationship is alien to Africans like us. Trust me, when you insist on this type of relationship you lose your birthright and can no longer make certain demands. Hear me on this: treat your wife as a 'help mate' and not a business partner. Write again if you want me to explain further on this topic.

Nj
Dear Njigirl,
I have been married for the past eight years with three children. It has been good generally as I can say. A lot has happened within the past few years of our marriage. But one issue that has worried me most is this very incident which has refused to go away each time it crossed my mind. Although I have tried as much as I can to forgive my wife but it keeps resurfacing. Just a little after our marriage I lost my job. My wife tried as much as she could to shoulder most of the responsibilities at home while I also made efforts to secure a new job or do some other thing to earn income. Finally, God has pointed me in the direction of an opportunity.

While waiting for my breakthrough, my wife secretly bought a plot of land with the assistance of her former boyfriend, who is equally married with children. And this is a man I never knew about or met before we got married. She unconsciously mentioned about a former date but never made me know the person. She started developing the said property with the involvement of her ex without my knowledge. The ex even signed the land purchase agreement as one of the witnesses with my wife's mother. I stumbled on all these when I needed the said documents to process my visa for an oversea trip. I came across this strange name and started cross-examining my wife. To make matters worse, the property is located on the same street with her ex's personal house. I am not against her putting up an apartment for us. After all it is for our own good. The question is: must one do the right thing by taking the wrong step?

When I confronted her she claimed she gave me money for a similar project and I mismanaged the money. The question is: could that be enough reason to allow an ex to carry out such a sensitive assignment when we are still legally married just because of previous mistakes? Have I ever been a terrible person? Could I have involved another woman to purchase some kitchen utensils or other household items for my wife's use in our home just because she made some mistakes in her earlier outing? Will such items remain if she finds out the source without flinging them away? Will such mistake suddenly make her a terrible woman? Am I now admitting that my wife cannot do anything right? Should I now admit that her ex would have made a better husband to my wife by allowing such a house to remain?

Please help me answer the above questions because I'm really hurt.

Or is it beyond what I can comprehend? I have told her I can't live under that roof as long as we are still married. How do I sleep well in such a house? I feel humiliated and betrayed. My present feeling is a sign of a man's bloated ego or what? Because I don't think any man who values himself would fold his arms in such an arrangement when I know I can build such a house 10 times over by God's special grace over my life within a twinkling of an eye.I have told my wife that the house must be sold and a new one be built somewhere else even if she doesn't involve me. Let there be a complete break from her past in our present life. Not that I am an angel but as Christians, we must show good example. She agreed that we can only move elsewhere but refused to accept an outright sale of the property. She is seeing it as a difficult task. Apparently, she sees the house as her baby. It is all about swapping the house somewhere else on a clean foundation. Nobody is asking for the money.

The issue now is that I want to move against her because this is a total affront and a serious slight to my person which I cannot stand. Is it proper to keep such a memory from an ex who she refused to marry when he proposed to her?

The question to ponder over is how suddenly she found him suitable to carry out such a sensitive assignment for her when I am still alive and kicking no matter how terrible my earlier mistakes must have been. The same person you never found suitable to marry.

Why I kept quiet all this while is just because I have trusted my wife all these years and I didn't want to believe or think anything happened between them. But as a matter of principle I don't think I will ever allow that house to remain in existence. It is either she chooses between keeping the house or having a troubled marriage.

Please tell me, am I acting on conviction or just being petty? Thank you.

• STEVE
Dear Steve,
I have given much thought to your email and agree with you that your wife's actions are in bad taste. First of all, there is an appearance of impropriety regardless of her intentions. This impropriety can lead to doubts and suspicions on your part and once these two raise their ugly heads, trust issues resurrect and begin to attack even the most innocent intention and action.

I like your inference about 'doing the right thing by taking the wrong step'. Your wife made a business decision, which ultimately (I hope) would enhance the family resources but the approach is wrong. This ex-boyfriend might be taking advantage of her naivety by guiding her through this transaction. I am concerned about his integrity. At what point did he ask: where is your husband? Does your husband know about this transaction? What would he say when he finds out? I doubt that he raised any of these concerns. Instead I think he went along hoping for a reunification with your wife. You are correct to express doubt and anger.

Be that as it may, the damage is already done and you should try not to beat a dead horse. The issue now is about recovery. How do you recover from this issue? One idea as you mentioned is to sell this property and use the proceeds for another piece of investment property. Your wife may object to this idea but if she is honest about her motives, she will understand why you feel the way you do.

The second idea is to ignore the fact that her ex lives on the same street and take over the management of this property including changing ownership to read - Mr and Mrs. Steve instead of her name alone on the deed of sale. You can then hire an agent who would see that the property is rented and all proceeds go into a joint account. To do this, you must be totally cured of your anger and resentment and focus on the investment. I bet your wife would resent this but pay her no mind and forbid her from handling any matters regarding this building.

Take charge as you should, being the head of household. You mentioned that you had previously mismanaged your family funds. Well, be careful with this one. If you are not confident in your ability to manage this investment, quit your masochism and give her credit for her business sense.

Nj