Jobless husbands: A wake-up call by Debo Akinyemi
Our highly revered father in the Lord, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, some time ago, came under a blizzard of blistering verbal attacks on the social media. From left, right and center potsherds were hauled at the one we all love to fondly call daddy G.O.
His offence? He was down -to- earth at a forum he had with the youth of his church in which the issue of marriage came up. Pastor Adeboye had admonished female youngsters not to be blindfolded by love or lust when considering who to marry. He noted that love is not enough reason to decide to marry someone who has no visible means of income. The RCCG patriarch jocularly warned, don’t marry those brothers who claim to be in to forwarding and back-warding and there is nothing to show for it”.
Undoubtedly, Daddy Adeboye was speaking based on the trend in our church today whereby good looking but jobless brothers prey on working class sisters who are desperately angling for marriage because they think they are running late. To hasten up the process of donning the white gown and smiling down the aisle, many desperate girls take it upon themselves to foot all the bills of their wedding ceremonies, including that of the obligatory engagement items and the wedding suits of their men. Strange and nauseating but true, there are instances of some ladies paying their own bride prices on behalf of their incapable heartthrobs. I know of one of such men who turned round to claim there was nothing tying him legally to his wife since she was the one who paid her own dowry.
Unfortunately, the lady in question is like my direct younger sister. Yes, the man is right because technically there was no marriage in the first place. It was just a deception of grandeur and wanton self-delusion. It is a pity that in the name of love (or is it lust?) many girls of today can willingly put their own necks into the guillotine. They plunge into the uncertain, slippery and jagged terrain of marriage with their eyes closed. They say love is blind and wittingly usurp the duties of their husbands in hopes that by some miracles, their men would soon find jobs or businesses to do. In several cases, the hopes never materialise as their men end up being deadbeat husbands in perpetuity.
Most of those who took offence over daddy Adeboye’s position waxed religious in their argument, insisting that love is sacrosanct and strong and that without it no marriage can work in the first place. In the thinking of those critics, once two people find genuine love, nothing should stop them from marrying since the Bible says two are better than one and that love covers multitude of sins. So there is nothing wrong for the financially strong wife to offer her shoulder to her mendicant partner.
Well, to some extent this argument is valid. But to a larger extent, it is incurably cock-eyed. A man in love without the means of running a home is just in a dream from which he needs to wake up fast to the reality.
Until a man is ready financially and emotionally, he is far from being ready. Age, sentiment, marathon prayers and mere wishes don’t make you ready. Only your ability to maintain your self-esteem by playing your roles in the house puts you in a pole position for marriage.
Pray, how many of our young ones can tell what real love feels like? What many of them call love today is mere infatuation that vaporises with time. It is when the harsh realities of financial challenges of marriage stare them in the face and weigh their souls down that many women realise they were wrong and hasty about the choices they made. Love is a very strong attribute but nowadays it can hardly stand for long in the face of hardship, especially the type we grapple with in Nigeria. In fact when economic challenges fester for too long love fades and gives way to irritation.
Imagine a morning without money for breakfast coming after a night without dinner. Imagine the kids being sent back home over nonpayment of school fees. Imagine not having food to give them even as they stay out of school. Imagine the landlords dangling ejection notice in your face over accumulated rents. Imagine the woman having to clothe, feed and shelter the man whose only contribution to the marriage are his good looks and probably the stamina to make love.
Worse still, imagine the woman having to be the one to go down the street at every month- end to pay up debts incurred by her man at the grocery or laundry shop. Imagine the woman being responsible for buying the foodstuffs and the gas used in cooking them. Imagine the woman being the one to settle the electricity bill, fuel the car and pay the mechanic anytime the car goes for repair.
One can go on and on to list examples of embarrassing scenarios playing out in families where the men are; full time house wives; for lack of financial muscles. With time, these scenarios lead up to pent-up frustration on both sides. The frustration in turn boils up to emotional implosions at home. As a result, many women who had rushed in to marriage without considering their men’s status are now disillusioned and left with only one wish- divorce.
It is for avoidance of such messy situation that Daddy G.O gave the wise counsel to our girls. Perhaps those who think Adeboye was wrong need to understand the Bible they carry. God is love personified but he ensured Adam was not jobless by the time he was handing Eve over to him as wife; And the Lord God formed the man of the dust of the ground, and breathed in to his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed” Genesis 2 verses 7-8. It is very clear that God put Adam in the garden so he could tend it. God expected him to till the ground for survival. And Eve never came in to the picture until Adam had understood the need to explore the ecosystem of what was the earth then in order to make ends meet.
Similarly, all jobless and footloose men should study and understand the socio-economic system around them so they can devise means of bringing something to the table for their families, even if they are not able to take up their full responsibilities as men in the house.
Jobless husbands: Available options
Understanding the socio-economic system means identifying critical needs in the neighborhood and setting up economic platforms to meet them. There are many enterprises that could be set up without any seed fund or take- off capital. Let me share with you a few of such easy startups with huge potentials.
- Dry cleaning- this venture can begin like a mustard seed and grow in to a giant oak tree with time. But you need to overcome some personal inhibitions to start it. Never mind some people giving you such lack-lustre labels as “washerman” “alagbafo”. The most important thing is that many people in the neighborhood are ready to pay for their laundry to be done. The last time I went to my laundry man, he confronted me with his new price list. A suit is now done for ₦1, 500 while ordinary kaftan is ₦500.
Agbada now costs ₦2000 while shirt; trouser go for ₦600. Imagine getting ten neighbours or customers to do two suits or two agabada each in a month. If you bring diligence and competence to bear on your services, you are sure of an ever growing customer base which would translate to more money flowing in. The beauty of it is that you don’t even need a shop or an office space to start up. Just bring the cloths home and dunk them in to the washing machine. With sense of pride and fulfillment, watch the machine do all the swirling, washing and wringing. If there is no washing machine, press one or two bowls in the house to duty. Do the washing, bearing in mind that those clothes could as well be yours and that you would be some wads of naira richer on delivery to customers. To reduce the drudgery involved, you could get some boys around to help with the ironing for reasonable fees. With time, you could diversify in to industrial cleaning. And I can tell you for free that what trickles in from the business can help you to build your self-confidence and regain your lost relevance at home.
- Thrift Collection- this primitive and informal banking service has been with us over the years. Yet it is not about to go away. Many traders and small scale business handlers find it very convenient to cultivate savings through it. According to my findings, the thrift collector’s reward is one of the daily contributions paid by each customer. So what the operator earns at the end of the month is an accumulation of what each customer pays for a day in one month. Wow! That could be a lot of money if you are able to win a large number of customers. But it requires high level of discipline and integrity which are required in any other type of business.
Before the end of the month you could smartly invest the money in your care without jeopardising your customer’s equity. How about getting a Point Of Sales, POS device to turn the money over. As long as you do not fail in your pay – out obligation to your primary customers as and when due, you are in order. And there is no need for an office or shop to start the business either. No doubt, you would have many competitors but you could get ahead of them by adding some corporate perks to your service. That is what makes you a graduate, I guess.
3 Estate Agency- this looks like what everybody can do because the entry point is always wide open. You just need to have information about vacant apartments and then link prospective tenants with the owners of the houses. At the point of payment you get your own cut of the deals. You could escalate the business by getting buyers for houses or structures that are up for sale. That way, you could easily land opportunity to grab millions, especially if the prices involved are huge. My own elder brother strayed in to the business by getting a buyer for the house of one of our family friends. And today he has grown so big in the business. The last time I checked, my brother had once occupied the exalted stool of the chairman of Estate Rents’ Commission Agents Association of Nigeria, ECAN, Kwara State chapter. He didn’t even study Estate Management or learn the trade under anybody. Over the years he has survived in the business only by rule of thumb.
There are many other easy-startup ventures that time and space would not permit me to list. Technology has even made these businesses a lot easier. All the idle Google- searching on your phone can be channeled in to productive and rewarding enquiries on goods and services to buy and sell. Every legitimate venture you engage in brings you closer to fulfilling your dream of becoming the real manGod made you to be.
It is never too late to take the first, right step. No one gets anywhere by remaining on the same spot. A Chinese proverb says the journey of a thousand miles begins with a step. It is bad enough to be a jobless husband. But it is worse to be a deadbeat father. Remember your kids are growing up. And they would soon attain the age to ask questions you would neither be ready for nor comfortable and proud to answer.
So the time to act is now. From experience I know automatic success is never guaranteed in any human endeavour. Sometimes, some invisible forces and unforeseen circumstances can ruin the best of plans. But a man who tries out something and fails would be seen and probably acknowledged to have done something. In most cases the sour taste of failure leads us later to sweet taste of success, especially if we do not stop trying. The worst crime in history is not to do anything and expect something. So I say again, the time to act is now.
Debo Akinyemi is a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. He is a journalist by profession and publisher of Memorabilia, a periodic events’ journal