In recent times, the issue of financial responsibility between couples has been a recurring conversation on social media and at gatherings. While a percentage believe that all financial responsibilities should solely rest on the man, some are of the opinion that it can be shared equally between husband and wife. In this Vox pop, Daily Trust Saturday sought the opinion of married couples on how they think bills should be shared at home.
Sekinat Abdulkudus, 47, Abuja, Entrepreneur
The easiest method, in terms of figuring out the math, is to split shared bills down the middle, with each person paying half. This is a straightforward approach that makes budgeting consistent. Each person pays half the rent, subscriptions or insurance from individual accounts. At the end of the day, it boils down to mutual understanding between partners. If you truly want a relationship to work, although men are portrayed to be responsible for everything, it wouldn’t hurt to share the bills.
Toluwani Johnson, 34, Abuja, Entrepreneur
In some marriages, one partner’s income might be far higher than the other partner’s income. It may feel unfair for the lower-earning partner to contribute equally. If Partner A makes N60,000 and Partner B makes N40,000, you might split bills using a 60-40 division. If, for example, the water bill is N100, Partner A pays N60 and Partner B pays N40.
Phillip Matthew, 33, Business man
Bills can be shared as “yours and mine”. Partner A might pay for water, sewer and garbage while Partner B pays for electricity. It’s very simple. These things often come off as complicated but really, they are not. If I decide to take care of A, B, C then you shouldn’t mind taking care of the rest. Some days will be hard and you might even have to stand in for me so as along as it is a committed relationship and we understand ourselves, sharing bills shouldn’t be an issue.
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Yves-Vanier Konamna, 38, Analyst, Abuja
I come from a generation where we were taught that men are traditionally seen as providers and protectors. While there’s no strict rule that men must be the sole providers, there’s a sense of fulfillment in being able to support your family, including sisters. Despite the inevitable challenges, I believe it’s essential for a man to take control and openly discuss financial matters with his spouse. Marriage, to me, is a partnership where both partners support each other, but keeping the man as the captain of the ship.
David King Etienam, 48, Marriage counsellor, Abuja
It is no new thing to note that the man is the head of the home. Religion teaches this, culture teaches this, and even nature teaches this as well. It is also generally accepted that the man is supposed to protect and provide for his household (wife and children).
However, the world has changed; hence, women are no longer relegated to the kitchen like in the days of old or to the other room (for procreation). We see women today being heads of parastatals, government establishments, conglomerates as well as running large corporations and businesses. Meaning that women are now becoming breadwinners as well and no longer leaving the men to do all the providing.
This is the basis on which this discussion arises in the first place. If women were like the olden days, there wouldn’t be any of such discussion arising because they wouldn’t be viewed as breadwinners where they even have anything to bring to the table as regarding finances in the first place. The woman is more or less a helper to the man; more like a prop who helps the man to maintain his place while he does the things that he is supposed to do.
This help covers so many areas of his life but should not be limited to only some areas. This is where the woman being a financial helper is not out of place. Nonetheless, this should not in any way tamper with the responsibility of the man in providing for his family. It should simply be viewed in the context of help.
There shouldn’t be any specific measure of splitting how bills are shared between couples in my opinion. For me, when two people come together as husband and wife, the ideology of teamwork should motivate and inspire their union where certain things are done not as a role or right, but rather as in partnership. It is only reasonable that if the woman is making so much, she should contribute to the provisions of the home and not request from the man every time while she uses her own money selfishly on herself alone. But to come to the place of sharing how finances come based on a sharing policy is a ‘no’ for me. It’s a marriage and not a business contract.
If it were a business contract, I believe the terms would have been spelt out from the very beginning. But in this case, it is a relationship. And based on the relationship, both husband and wife should be able to come into partnership where they can relate with each other as well and not dwell so much in the place where they live in the ‘me, myself and I’ environment where “this is mine” and “that is yours” becomes the order of the day.
Sharing should be the order of things rather than splitting in percentages. Symbiotic and communal living should be what is in place within the family context. Anything other than this would steal the fellowship that should exist in marriage. Remember the saying, “money is the root of all evil”. This is no further from the truth.