Rings and shiny things
Why do men buy their wives and girlfriends jewellery? So she can wear it at home? No, so she can wear it for other people to see what a good provider he is. Men like women to show off their wealth. Of course most women do not complain, but often when I see rich men’s wives and their fingers sparkle with several huge diamond rings, I tend to wonder; the more rings, the less attention she gets. “I-will-make-it-up-to-you rings.” Most of those women will exchange those rings at any given moment for more quality time and personal attention from their husbands.
Men are aware of the fact that society expects them to provide. That is often why so many of them avoid marriage – they are not ready to take on the responsibility of providing. However, some men make the mistake of thinking all women are gold diggers.
(Some women are and some are spoilt brats, but I will get to that later.) Many women are quite content when the basics are covered. If they have a roof, food, clothes and most of all safety, especially when they reach old age, they are happy. A little spoiling is appreciated but honestly, not all of them demand or require the diamond rings. Men tend to think women require the luxuries, because it suits the men to think so, because it makes them feel good when they can afford it.
One man promised himself he would not ask a girl to marry him, unless he could provide for her better than her father. He dated his high school sweetheart and when he could finally afford to buy her a house, he married her. By then he was already in his thirties. Later he became a very wealthy man. When his daughter turned 21, he wanted to buy her a house. I reminded him of his promise to himself. “If you buy your daughter an expensive house, you are raising the bar too high for her potential husband and she will end up a lonely rich Daddy’s little girl. You spoil your daughter’s chances.” He bought her a small flat.
Men want women to spend their money, when they offer it.
They only require the woman to be appreciative and not to waste it.
A rich man became irate when his wife “squirreled” the spending money he gave her. He gave her an excessive monthly allowance and when they went abroad he often handed her wads of cash to “buy a handbag or something pretty.” She banked the money. Also, her main complaint was that there was never enough money, despite the fact that they lived in a multi-million mansion and she drove a German sports car. I explained to him the principle that she felt unsafe.
If a woman feels unsafe, no amount of money will compensate for it. She did not know if that house or car was paid-up, whether the bailiff could repossess it, or if he had made provision for her and their children, should something happen to him. So she lived frugally and saved the money. Once he explained his finances to her and showed her she would be taken care of in retirement, she relaxed. He even transferred one of the properties into her name.
I have often witnessed the gilded cage syndrome. A wealthy man will thwart every attempt of his wife to earn her own money. “She does not need to work, I provide for her,” he proclaims, but deep down he cannot tolerate the idea of her gaining independence, for he fears she may leave him. Is he not, by keeping her in the gilded cage and withholding her independence, acknowledging his own insecurity that she may not love him for the man he is? Does he never consider that she may stay, because she loves him as a man, and not because he keeps her captive in golden chains? Often when these women do something to displease the man, he threatens to throw her out, cut off her finances and even abandon her family members he may have been providing for as well. Would he not rather be the man she would voluntarily want to be with, even if he was not wealthy at all? Sometimes I encourage these men to support their wives in establishing their own financial independence, for that would provide the final proof of whether she stays with him for the money, or for himself.
Some women, however, spend his money as if there is no tomorrow. I sometimes wonder at the ease with which these women consider their husbands’ wallets as the proverbial widow’s flask that just never runs dry. They help themselves with no thought or consideration of the fact that that money is earned by hard work. He WORKS for it. He gets up at 5am, while she is still snoozing, and he returns home after 8pm, when she is again in her pyjamas, (or still in her pyjamas). I know I am exaggerating, but I have seen many such examples. Worse, there are women who presume they are entitled to an unlimited access to the money, because they “run” the house or raise his children. “Excuse me, but are they not your children too? Do you require to be paid or compensated to rear your own children? Are you the Nanny earning a salary?” Consider the single Moms out there who work hard to raise their own children and who do not have the luxury of a double income family.
They don’t expect to be paid to raise their children. I do not contest when families have the arrangement that the men work and earn the money and that the women stay at home and raise the children and that this in itself is very hard work. I do not contest that is a good 50 – 50 partnership agreement. But some women have a hell-of-a-self-righteous attitude to this set-up. Some women become extremely indignant when the husband requires some form of bookkeeping as to what his money was spent on and if he requests that she should stick to a budget. Here is a tip, ladies: It is not unreasonable for a man to require quotes or cash slips as proof of expenditure. He is not obliged to hand over wads of cash, or pay limitless accounts. He is not being spiteful, it is just called responsible financial management. He has a right to know what you are doing with his money, just as you have a right to ask him about financial affairs concerning you.
A woman complained that her husband buys lavish gifts for their young adult children. She was concerned that they, as a couple, may suffer during their retirement. The wife did not work. She was a stay-at-home-Mom, but the children had all moved out of the home. I asked her if she needed anything. She reflected for a moment and admitted she had a good home, a car, clothes, food etc. They lived a moderate middle class life, but she needed nothing. Since the children were grown up and had left the home, she could sleep late and she spent most of her days updating her Facebook Page, playing computer games, cleaning the house and preparing dinner. Eventually she concluded: “I sound like a spoilt brat.” I agreed. “He gets up at 5 in the morning, brings you coffee in bed and he goes off to work.
He provides for you. He works hard for his money so why on earth can he not spend it on something that makes him happy – even if that entails gifts for his children?” I agreed that the children are spoilt, but it remains his prerogative to spend some of his money on whatever he wants, does it not? If she requires some luxuries why does she not get up at 6 am and go to work as well? With her earnings she can contribute to the existing life insurance policies if she was so concerned about their retirement. Instead of criticising the man for not earning enough, she could support him by finding employment. She complained she had been out of the market for too long and she was too old to work. I assured her even if she found a job for R3000 a month, it would cover her petrol and could add up to a considerable premium and savings. Her alternative is to stay at home, sleep late, clean her home, cook dinner, play computer games and thank her husband for being the provider hero he is, and to stop complaining.
The flip side of the coin
Sometimes men also have the inclination to think that because they pay for everything, they own the woman.
An affluent man bought his wife a little sports car. One day he took the car in for a service. The salesman offered him a trade-in on the car and an amount of cash. As the man could do with the cash at that moment, he traded the car. He could not understand why his wife was upset. I explained to him that he had negated her right to ownership, by selling her car, without even discussing it with her.
He treated her like a slave, who had no right to possession. He answered that since he had paid for the car in the first place, and since he was in charge of the finances, he could sell the car. She should trust him that he needed the cash then and that he could buy her another newer model sports car later. I explained that he sold her possession. He answered: “So my money is our money – she has free access to it, but what is hers is only hers?” The mistake lay in the lack of communication. If only he had asked or even just told her what he planned to do, she probably would have agreed to it. Men regard communication as the most important part of a relationship, yet often they fail to communicate.
The psychologist Carl Jung formulated the concept of a collective subconscious. Since women have been suppressed for millennia, they developed a collective subconscious memory of it and resistance to it. Women are sensitive when their rights as humans are not respected. They have a right to an opinion, to property, to work, to love, etc. One man said he understands this deep seated issue and he could understand why she gets upset when he uses her stuff (like her car) without asking he permission. He can respect her right to “Mine”, even when he paid for it, but he wished she would not rub his nose in her “ownership” so often. He wished she could tone it down a little. Noted.