We have been on this topic for a while now and the more I think of it or look around me, the more I realize that many women are in this situation and are at a loss as to how to move beyond the accompanying pain, stress and embarrassment.
We shall be looking at this issue of women being the sole bread winners from the perspective of those who walked into it with eyes open wide. By that I mean you knew the guy was not gainfully employed and wasn’t bothered about the fact, yet you went ahead and gleefully walked down the aisle with him or he had a job but you could see signs that it was going to be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for him to part with money under any guise. Such guys have no qualms about taking you out and you being the one to pay for the meals. You saw it coming but probably felt he would change just like the proverbial leopard that changed its skin. It could also just be a case of the woman just being plain naive, not seeing the signals and suddenly waking up to find herself in a mess. Whatever the case is, how does a woman in this situation retain her sanity? How does she move on and remain joyful?
- Acknowledge your situation and be honest with yourself while at it. Admit that you contributed by being either hasty or desperate in your decision to marry him and it is important that you forgive yourself for that decision.
- Take time to evaluate him. Why is he in this unfortunate situation? Evaluate his situation by trying to trace his history. At what point did he appear to lose track? Was it after the death of a loved one, an examination failure or a job loss? Did he have an extremely domineering dad or mom? What comes off to us as irresponsibility at times may be a reaction to the “blows” life has dealt some people and their inability to cope or mature through it.
- Commit to helping him. After all you married him and you must have been attracted to some endearing qualities in him. Remind yourself of what you saw in him and be determined to help him find his feet. That may be the very reason you are in his life. It is not a mistake that you are called a help meet.
- Start consciously observing him. What are his strengths or weaknesses? What does he enjoy doing? What excites him? What brings out the best in him? Ask yourself or find out if any of his passions can be commercialised. Just in case you are thinking what good can come out of a video game playing husband, even that can be commercialised!
- Frustrating as your situation may be, try not to criticise him for some time to gain his trust. He may sound uninspiring to you at times, but listen to him and be generous with compliments. Make him feel important and safe with you. Cultivate his friendship in short.
- When friendship is in place, a little bit of suggesting and pointing out of viable business opportunities will be in order. If in the past, you had bankrolled projects that never saw the light of day, then suggest a partnership with someone you know has the required business acumen or discipline.
- Encourage him to be responsible for some expenditure no matter how minor and please thank him profusely as if it is major. If you notice an improvement in his cash flow because of a cash gift or an inheritance, then request for his assistance with some expenses. Don’t be too eager to shoulder all the responsibilities. At such times, it may be wise not to renew the DSTV subscription especially when the Championship is ongoing or his favourite team is playing. Let nobody think I am the witch of Endor lol!
If you have done all you know to do and it appears like he is allergic to work or he will rather not do anything or be responsible for anyone, then you need to look out for yourself and be responsible for your children. It will also do you good to do the following:
- Quit moaning about your fate or complaining about your situation. Don’t throw a pity party at every opportunity.
- Let him know you expect him to play his role and do not over stretch yourself. Once in a while, don’t run to the rescue when payment deadlines are looming. Watch out for his response in such situations.
- Sit up and wise up! Develop yourself and/or acquire a skill. Many single mothers have successfully raised their children. Don’t use your husband’s situation as an excuse. Look for multiple streams of income
- Don’t be tempted to encourage your children to disrespect him or make him alienated from them because he is not contributing to their upkeep. If you do that, they will loathe you for it one day.
- Do right by him even though he may not do right by you. Do not short change yourself in the process. Give priority to your children. Raise them well and make sacrifices for them . They will turn around to appreciate you and make you proud.
- Don’t hang your life on a balance because your husband isn’t living up to his responsibilities. Loosen up and have fun. Do the things that give you joy. Volunteer for a worthy cause, forge alliances with women of like minds and make your life worthwhile. Don’t spend valuable time bemoaning your lot! Plant seeds of joy and love in the lives of other people and reap more love and joy in your own life. Remember that there are many other things that are working for you. You have life and that means there is hope for you – hope of a turnaround and a beautiful twist to the wonderful story of your life.
Remember God is a rewarder. Whatever a man or woman sows, that shall he or she also reap and like I always say, don’t be less of who you are because your husband has refused to be all he could be!!!
Feel free to share your stories.