I lost my job, now my wife has turned against me. Help!

A jobless man.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • It is advisable to start by reflecting on what worked for you and your relationship before you lost your job.
  • What we are willing to fight for must stand in equal or better measure to the things we are ready to sacrifice.
  • Most counsellors and writers on issues of marriage seem to agree that money issues are likely to trigger stress in the relationship.
  • When issues are left unresolved, they usually lead to a lack of fulfilment.

Hi Kitoto,

I lost my job two years ago, and since then, my life became hell on earth. My wife turned against me and forced me to leave my house in Nairobi and relocate to the rural home. Right now I’m at home trying my hand in small scale business.

When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, my two daughters aged 13 and seven came home. I stayed with them until June when their mother started abusing me through text messages. When the lockdown was eased, I decided to send my daughters to Nairobi to continue living with their mother.

My concern is that my wife has grown increasingly abusive. She alleges that she heard about my plan to remarry, which is untrue as I am lonely here at home. Last week, she forwarded to me her water and electricity bills to pay.

I wonder why she would do so, yet she claimed that she was in a position to take care of our daughters and herself. At that time, she claimed that I was as good as dead, something I found to be incredibly insulting. What is happening here? I’m confused! I’ll appreciate your advice.

Felix


Hi,

It is advisable to start by reflecting on what worked for you and your relationship before you lost your job. What is it that kept you two together? If there was suspicions and mistrust between the two of you before you lost your job, then that reality compounded by Covid-19 just acted to escalate the conflict in your relationship. If that is the case, then the most appropriate question to grapple with is what you need to change or leave behind to lessen your baggage.

If I am getting it right, two years of fighting can create a toxic environment in the home. This will cause the two of you to continue drifting further apart. Therefore, establishing the cause of the challenges is essential in finding a resolution. You can resolve the challenges you face as a couple can if you can put efforts in identifying the causes, determine the kind of help you need to seek and by developing a responsible behaviour.

What we are willing to fight for must stand in equal or better measure to the things we are ready to sacrifice. Love must be about standing with the one you love to the extent that you are willing to risk your life for their sake.

From your write -up, it is clear that you hope your wife’s indifference towards you emanates from several issues. First, your loss of income has contributed to the conflict between the two of you. I think that a great marriage works best if your philosophy about money is, “My money is your money.” We must teach each other about ownership in relationships. In cases where we keep back and are filled with greed, the money will always trigger conflicts. However, open and accountable communication about money and the needs we have as a family is part of the marriage journey. Besides, spouses must build a culture of honesty and trust as far as money is concerned.

Money issues

Most counsellors and writers on issues of marriage seem to agree that money issues are likely to trigger stress in the relationship and are likely to escalate to conflicts and fights. There are several ways by which couples can deal with problems arising from money in a connection. You should develop a family culture based on mutual support, honesty and trust. This will be possible if you commit to given principles in marriage.

The first principle calls for spouses to share expected income. A starting point to a marital, financial discipline is to share our expected income each time it is realised. This is necessary as secrets harbour mistrust and suspicions.

The second principle requires spouses to look at their priorities and set goals together. Discuss areas to prioritise when budgeting. This will help deal with accountability issues. Finally, a couple should open a joint account where possible. This is where a savings plan can be managed. However, such an account is not necessarily the answer to a couple’s money problems. The attitude, the condition of the heart and the discipline of each spouse and hence couple carry are essential.

The other issue that seems to arise from your concerns is that your wife doesn’t trust you fully. That she is paying attention to information she gathers from others shows that she has suspicions about you. This is causing her discomfort and painting you in a bad light. Her insults could be an outcome of the discomfort. Pain and stress of life can also lead spouses to lose their decorum and throw words at each other that hurt and damage the relationship.

How do you keep your relationship firm moving forward? My suggestion is that, first, you need to understand your wife’s mind-set. Getting to know where your wife is coming from in regards to her new behaviour is critical. The stress of being the only breadwinner is not easy to handle. I read somewhere that a husband should treat the wife with understanding. Otherwise, his prayers could be hindered.

Secondly, don’t set up yourself for disaster or failure. When issues are left unresolved, they usually lead to a lack of fulfilment. Understanding your frame (weakness and strengths), and seeking to know how it affects your wife will help bring the toxicity levels down. If certain habits are affecting her negatively and causing her to feel abandoned, then you need to do something about it.

Thirdly, keep your eyes on what could be. You have two fantastic children who love you and their mother, who is struggling. You need to reset your priorities in the areas I have discussed above and see where to start as you point your relationship to what it could become.

****


She has refused to cut links with her ex-lovers

I am 33 and in a relationship with a 24-year-old woman. I work as a security officer. We were blessed with a baby girl, who is one and a half years now. I have a problem with my sweetheart as she still sees her former lovers when I’m at work. Besides, I feel that my mother-in-law is intruding in our relationship. Right now, the lady has another man, but she is still asking for my support. I need your help, as I only love my child and not her mother.


Hi,

It is good to be aware that while in a relationship, you will experience both joyous and unhappy times. This may happen from time to time. First, what I realise is that you are in a relationship with a partner who is stuck at 24, meaning that she is still at the stage of having fun. Unfortunately, this challenge might persist until such a time when she will realise that you love her and that your daughter needs to be brought up in a stable home environment. That said, I am not sure if both of you are married and living together. If you have asked her for a hand in marriage, you may need to revisit that issue and talk to her about responsible behaviour and commitment to your relationship. Many relationships stagnate because there is no clarity concerning the future the two of you envision.

Thriving relationships are founded on several principles. First, there has to be voluntary and honest disclosure. Self-disclosure is critical in your relationship as it infuses trust between the two of you and enhances your ability to build your intimate lives. The two types of self-disclosure that you can explore are verbal and non-verbal.

From your case, it is quite clear that your lady has disclosed non-verbally that her commitment, loyalty and allegiance are elsewhere. Besides, it’s good to note that mistrust and a lack of faithfulness have destroyed many relationships. Exposing and dealing with both past and present issues that keep you in bondage is helpful. Yet, trust is built where there is openness.

Lack of clarity

Secondly, a relationship will be firm when expectations are clearly communicated. Each spouse must be clear with what is expected of them. You will soon discover that lack of clarity is like walking in the dark. Unfulfilled expectations lead to fear, anxiety and a lack of commitment.

Having regular conversations in a relationship without necessarily invoking the formalities of husband and wife, but just friends could contribute a lot to a confident atmosphere in your home.

Thirdly, one needs to be responsible and accountable. My worry is whether there is any ownership of the relationship as far as your lady is concerned. Taking ownership and responsibility by either spouse for their actions is not only an important part of healthy relationships but also necessary in building the identity of the relationship.

The power behind taking responsibility is that it creates trust and dependability. You may need to confront her with examples of behaviour that is hurting the trust. Taking responsibility for her actions and behaviour will demonstrate her willingness to be trustworthy and vulnerable.

You have also asked for advice about meddling by your mother in law. Since it appears like you are not already married to this lady, my advice is as follows. First, if you establish that she is gone to be with another man, respect her choice and move on. Secondly, if you let her move on, determine the parenting arrangement that will suit your daughter. Third, if you let her go, the in-law issue will be resolved. 


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