I am out of my matrimonial home today because of a simple reason: my husband found out I had money and ran mad.
All my life I was told that it is a man’s primary responsibility to take care of his wife and kids; wives can support, definitely. What makes a man is responsibility to his duties, finish. I have a son and I will bring him up to take responsibility!
Why am I here?
Foolishness on my part. Foolishness, pure and simple.
I was once married to a man with whom I spent the past 25 years struggling to build a family. To be honest, my husband is a stingy man who never liked spending on anything or anybody.
If our television got bad, he would not fix it. I used to ask him then, how can you not fix tv knowing you have kids?
We had one boy two girls. If our fridge stopped working, he will tell me I am the one who uses it most, so he would not fix it.
If our door fell from the hinges, he would say my children were careless so I, as their mother, should fix it. Meanwhile the children are not only mine o. Are they not his, also?
So, he was that type of man. If you said we will need N20,000 to cook for wedding, he would give you N15k and tell you to go and look for the rest.
If you said we need N12k, he would give you N7, 000. I knew his ways and therefore found ways to handle him.
If for instance, I needed maybe N15,000 to prepare for his guest or people coming from home, I would increase it so by the time he gave me, it would be close to what was needed.
However, I knew for a fact that this man who claimed not to have money for us spent money outside. He changed his car every two years; no he didnt buy brand new, itsl was always second hand but then again, he changed them every two years. He would sell the old one, then add money to buy a bigger and more modern car.
He always bought new clothes but if his children asked him for money for clothes, he would say, ‘Oh, so you have now eaten so fat you need new clothes?’
Is that the type of language that should come from a father?
If I ask for extra money for family upkeep, he would say, ‘What are you working for? What is your salary doing that it cannot feed your children?’
I have worked in a private firm for the last 12 years and I have been promoted quite a bit which is why my salary today is over N250,000 monthly but this wasn’t what I was earning back when I started out, it was through promotions, extra hours that I finally began to earn this amount and many times, that money wass used to cover every other expense my husband refused to pay for. If you look at it on the whole, I actually spent more on house keeping than my husband gave me.
For instance, if the children needed school uniforms or new clothes because these children were growing like weeds, I was the one who bought them new clothes, if they needed extra lessons and they all did back then, I paid the teachers. If my car went bad, my husband never fixed it. I always did as well as petrol for gen, stuff like that.
My husband gave me the same amount of money for housekeeping over 15years and how much? N45,000. The family had grown, the children needed more, and yet, it was the same paltry sum even after I broke down everything for him and told him, this money finishes by the time we pay electricity bill, because yes o, electricity bill is included in the N45,000.
When I saw that he would not change, I began to do ajo or esusun in the office. I squeezed myself and told my children I wouldn’t be able to buy anything extra or even fix anything if they got bad.
We were 7 and we contributed N100k per month. I decided to take last because at that time, which is about 5 years ago, my first child was already in university and he had a barbing shop on campus so his needs were off my list except for a few occasions.
My efforts paid off. The first time I received the N700, 000, I just went straight to fix it. I lived frugal, no aso ebi, nothing extra even for my children, we lived a strict life.
In fact, I barbed my hair low cut to save money from the salon…it was that important to me to have something I could fall back on. I collected the second one and fixed it again. Mark you, it wasn’t that I didn’t nearly get to breaking point but I persevered. After sometime, I think by the third year, the others wanted us to increase the esunsun, I couldn’t continue but by then, I had accumulated abut N3million plus. I kept fixing and I didn’t tell my husband.
Then he lost his job!
This man did not give us a dime; ok, I’m not saying bring the same amout but try bring something especially as he was the type that demanded exotic food; fresh soup every time.
Here was a man who would leave his family to go and eat isi ewu or point and kill outside but not bring anything home. Here is was a man who would buy drinks for friends and family but for me.
I don’t know how to drink. I don’t know how to go to fun places but he would take girlfriends there, he would give money to his friends and family, but if we asked him at home, he would claim not to have.
Here is a man, who even after he was given severance pay of about N32 million, squandered it in two years; first he was doing fish pond or what do you call it without getting proper training on how to fish farm; then his friend ran away with millions.
Of course after he lost the rest of his money; he went from friend to friend, complaining but no one would help him. He would come home and lament and lament, it was on one of those lamentation days I found out he had been giving people money, huge sums all those times we needed money at home.
Anyway, one day, I got careless. I was checking something on my phone then I left the phone and went to the kitchen or so. My husband took my phone and began to scroll, he saw my account balance and collapsed!
He called me names, he called me a witch, he went mad!
At least he didn’t call me a thief!
Long story short, I refused to give him a dime, so he threw my things out of the house…who sai! I moved into a small flat two weeks later.
I still live frugal, my money will go to giving my younger children a better education and for my retirement and I am at peace. Me sef, I don’t want the marriage anymore, he should leave me to live long to see my grandchildren, biko.
(series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)