Thinking Through The 50,000 Naira Debate

Whoever started the online conversation asking ladies not to marry a man earning 50,000 Naira as salary per month must have called for the wrath of many while also enjoying the support of some who could make sense out of his or her argument.  Yours truly is neutral!

I have read many arguments for and against the submission. Some have asked rhetorically what happened to love? While others felt it makes sense “die” to stay single than marry a man who earns that much monthly. I have also read the story of a “big boy” who narrated how he married his wife while he was earning 24,000 Naira while staying in a “face me I slap you” apartment and now he and his wife have a house of their own and are living happily ever after. Such stories bring hope! Also read was that of a woman whose husband earns less and each time she asks for more its rain of curses and beating by the man.

Which ever side we all choose to take, me thinks there is neither a right or wrong side on whether a man earning 50,000 Naira should not be married by a woman however let me drop this economic sense here with the hope that this can help shape the conversation and provide some thinking around:

  1. Need for intending couples to simplify their life with a view to living within their means
  2. Importance of family planning and budgeting
  3. Need for men and women to focus their energies on economic, emotional and spiritual stability and not age in order to ensure that they are capable before they consider marriage.
  4. The economics of marriage and the realities of having regular multiple streams of income and
  5. Need for a woman to leave the “other room” for the “executive room” including men supporting women to juggle the “executive room” with the “other room”.

Part of the role ‘assumed’ and assigned to a man by society is that of being able to provide for his family: shelter, clothing and feeding. Any man not able to provide this basic minimum is considered not responsible in fact such will be the topic for real conversations and gossip within circle of friends, immediate and extended family especially amongst in-laws. Let us not even bring what the holy books say into the conversation.

When dating the realities are not always clear especially given the hormones that rise within this period and the emotions that follows. “Accolades” and “assurances” are what the heart wants to eat. I love you is what the ear wants to hear and promise me you will marry me is what the soul wants to feed on. Before you know it, Instagram and Facebook is getting troubled for the pre-wedding shots. Hopes are high, and faith is strong that whatever resources the man earns can be managed and that God will provide. The saying is always get married first and leave the rest to God.

While I agree on leaving the rest to God for, he cares, here is the reality of a responsible married man beyond the ring on your fingers and the suit worn on Saturday for church service plus the native on Friday for introduction and engagement. Remember also that we are in an era where if you can’t pick up to at least 70-80% of the bills you may or may not earn the right respect from your darlin. Some women even expect that you give them pocket money when they are earning their own pay. Let me stay on my “lane” and fast forward to my submission “jeje” before I run into trouble here!

Now this is what I am saying, and this is debatable depending on who (man or woman) you are talking with and on the following variables: how readily “responsible” and agile each are, family background, preferences, life goals, religious lining, experience, exposure, objectivity, sentiments and emotions.  This is the reality of marriage and its economy:

Accommodation: Typically, on the average rent annually for a 2-3 bedroom flat across the country range from between 150,000 naira to 1.5million and above (depending on location/State). “Face me I slap you” (room and parlour) typically starts from 1,500 per room/month depending on area and state. Rent is paid annually in most part of the country. Some agents or landlord may allow you to pay on installments if you are a “customer daa da” that is always on point with his or her rent. This though is rare. #justsaying.
Feeding: on the average for a couple with no kids (food stuffs/provisions in the house alone) on the average is between 35,000 Naira and 100,000 per month (again depending on location). Soup on a weekly basis is between an average of 5000 Naira and 20,000 (depending on location and taste plus if the man/woman of the house can deal with 2- or 3-days soup—some men and women want it fresh). If the couple has kids’ food stuffs, beverages, snacks for the kids etc could be between 60,000 Naira and 200,000 on the average depending on how healthy you want your wards to be, of course you can spend lower “iyen o kan aiye” (this does not concern the world).

Transportation: Depending on the type of car, distance to work and place of worship, out of state travels, “owambe’s” and if the air-condition will be used including if the car is in good condition, fuel alone could gulp on the average between 20,000 and 100,000 Naira. If there is no car and “molue”, Uber or “Gokada” has to be used, in order words if public transport is the option, on the average, on a monthly basis depending on commute and factors such as ease of movement, “ruggedity” and “assorted” costs associated with this could be between 5000 and 70,000 depending on the city you live. Getting at least a car for the use of the family is also on the agenda with a good Tokunbo starting from 1.2 million depending on year and brand.

Keeping the romance on: We have been advised by marriage counselors to keep the fire of our love burning. Occasional night outs is fine as it fuels passion and romance. Eating out at an eatery shouldn’t be expensive right? So, let’s go for the base where madam eats minced pie, doughnut and a bowl of iced cream, lets add soft drinks, water and “egg bunce” for you close the figure at 5,000 Naira on the average. Take it a step higher you hit the Chinese restaurant in town say 15,000 Naira for two or you decide to do the movies with just pop corm keep it at 5,000 Naira for 2 tickets, pop-corn and softs depending on your city.

In-laws visiting:  Argh! Aunty Lagbaja is in xyz and I am there I will stay in their house to save cost or Uncle Tamedo in this city, I will dash to say hello before I leave. God help you if you are older than the visiting in-laws and they are students. You must cover their transportation to and from their origin (from 5,000 Naira at least) and also add some change ( another 5,000 Naira at least) that is when you will be a good in-law and you can be sure to be defended if and when you need them to do that especially when the baby is yet to come, or you have difficult mother and father in-laws. DSTV subscription must be paid, they can’t miss their “extra ordinary everyday” show and food must be in the house. It’s a different ball game when grandma and grandpa decides to visit, you must impress now and ensure that you give them some good money worth more than their monthly pension. If you do otherwise your story will not end, you are no doubt using the cobra’s teeth to scratch your nose.

In-laws expenses: Because pensions are not paid in time, old age issues and the culture of taking care of our parents—pay back system—there are expenses that comes both ways that has to be taken care of and they range for medications (monthly) for non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension etc, pocket money for grandpa and grandma contributed by all children when they are united and doing well, when one or two are still struggling the successful one’s bear the heat, God help you if you are that one. If you belong to the struggling one, you had better just keep to your lane as naturally nothing you say during family meetings will “sell”, same goes for your wife. Other expenses include emergencies: daddy falling from bathroom or mummy slipping, birthday parties when in-laws clock round figures—60, 70, 80 etc, burial ceremonies, siblings’ wedding, cousins’ weddings etc. I don’t even know a figure to put to this, but they are expenses I have seen from trends.

Religious “things”: Definitely we all want to look our best on Sundays to Church or for “Asalatu”. Some couple like uniform while others just like to stay different. Whatever it is clothes and shoes has to be factored in especially if you attend very funky places of worship and not the traditional ones. In these places of worship repeating clothes is literally a sin—you know this yourself hence you dare not “dull” yourself. God help you if the church you attend is where you got married how will you say you won’t come to church because of cloth—”ka ma ri ni Paul wi” (far be it said Paul). You must also show the single sisters that your wife has arrived so for some 3 months you are basking in the euphoria of your new love. Your tithe must be paid and offerings including special donations towards building of the permanent site.

Let me stop here for now this article is getting too long “jo”. Note that I haven’t added costs associated with pregnancy, baby things, giving birth, baby food, diaper, creche, school fees, cloth for the kid, hospital bills, electricity and other utility bills, generator costs, entertainment of guests, car maintenance, refilling the cooking gas monthly, recharge cards etc. If you are married or dating, look back and reflect on how money has played out in your relationship and be objective about the 50,000 Naira debate and marriage.

Rome was not built in a day, we know. But for how long will the 50,000 Naira monthly income help service these recurrent needs amidst a failing economy whose failure we all contributed to? Now we have a minimum wage proposal of 30,000 Naira, na who this go epp?!

Again, to my mind no right or wrong answer. Money matters in marriage is a big issue—this is a fact. Yes, we must marry for love and money shouldn’t be the motivating factor, but money must be spent on a daily basis. We must believe in love, hard work and trust in God to provide. We can make it together as a couple if we are guided by the 5 posers I raised above.

 

Bonus point: If love is blind, marriage is the eye opener. “Shine your eyes, double your wallet!”

 

“Let me come and be going!”

 

 

 

 

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