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Marriage, money and happiness

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Charles Ighele


It was a gathering of some adults. As the discussion went on, a compere said, “If You Are Not Happy When You Do Not Have Money, You Will Still Not Be Happy When You Have Money.” One of the intelligent men argued that when a man who has responsibilities does not have enough money to meet those responsibilities, there is no way such a man will be happy.

As a marriage and family counsellor, many eyes turned in my direction to see what I had to say. I forgot to add that the statement made by the gentleman received a thunderous ovation. Those who know me intimately and were in the audience knew that I would want to swim against the tide of public opinion, which I did.

I explained that any marriage whose only or major source of happiness is money is not solid enough. I made it clear that while money is very important in marriage, couples should endeavour to build the foundation of the happiness of their marriage on love, kindness, contentment and patience, among others, and not only on money. I am not saying that money cannot bring happiness to your home. 

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I made reference to how I started life on a financial footing of above average. My finances later nosedived. I told them that while I did not want to remain in such a situation, I decided to be contented with whatever quality and quantity of food I could afford. On top of all this, I became very sick, and I needed to buy anti-biotic, as recommended by a doctor. I pleaded with a friend to lend me some money. I promised to pay him after some months. Before the time for payment was due, the man came demanding for his money. I pleaded with him to hold on but he refused. He said in the absence of my not paying him, he would seize one of my moveable properties. I offered to give him my pressing iron but he refused. He said he would take my television set instead. Oh my God! That was what kept me company. When I saw that he meant business, I unplugged the TV set, carried it with my hands, climbed down the staircase from my three-bedroom flat and put it in his car. He zoomed off with my TV set and I climbed up to my flat and started singing songs of joy and praise to God. I remained happy. 

I told them that there were few periods when sadness would want to come, but I chased sadness away by deliberately deciding to be happy. I made it clear that being happy is a choice, which should be determined from the heart and not just by money. A man or woman whose happiness is determined only by money is not quality enough. So, I said that couples should learn to be contented at each level of life they find themselves. I quoted 1 Timothy 6:6-8 “But godliness with contentment is great gain… And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” 

A man who is financially down should make up his mind to be happy and pass this happiness down to the wife and children. When the Bible says, “rejoice always I say rejoice,” it did not only refer to when there is money. It means that man has the ability to rejoice without money. It is in such a state of contentment (and not murmuring as the Israelites did in the wilderness) that pleases God and makes Him fight your financial battles for you. 

At the end of my explanation I asked whether they agreed with my views and I heard a loud “yes.” What’s your view? Love you.

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Charles Ighele
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