I Want Take My Husband To Court For Squandering Our Life Savings
It was during our honeymoon that we hatched that plan. The two of us were thinking of how to manage our finances when we decided that we were going to have a joint account. We agreed to contribute ten percent of our monthly salary into that account. At first, I suggested fifteen percent but he said, “Fifteen percent is too much. Remember we have other things to pay for in the house. We have extended families who may need assistance. Let’s do it 10%. When life becomes better and we can pay that and more, why not? We’ll increase it as we go along.” So we agreed on the ten percent monthly contribution.
When we returned from our honeymoon, we went through our gifts and saw some envelopes containing money. Some of our friends decided to surprise us with money. We put the money together, went to the bank, and opened our joint account with the amount we had. He made a standing order on his personal account and I also did the same thing. We were committed. We didn’t want to have excuses not to pay. When we got to the front desk, the lady there asked if we would like to have an ATM card on our account. I said no. My husband said yes.
I said, “Don’t you think it’s dangerous to keep an ATM card on an account like this? It’s supposed to be an emergency account. We don’t need to withdraw from it until there’s an emergency so what do we need an ATM card for?” He responded, “What if the emergency strikes at dawn when the banks are closed? What if we don’t need to be in a queue due to the kind of emergency that would arise? The card would give us that advantage. It’s better we take it and not use it than not take it at all and later realize that we needed it. It would be too late then.” I said, “Then you’ll keep the card. I’m not that disciplined when it comes to keeping ATMs that’s why I don’t have some.”
So we got the card. He put it in his wallet and we left the bank premises.
In the house, I contributed to everything. It wasn’t written in stone but I thought it wise to put my money where it was needed. Bills will come and I will pay before he gets to know about it. Some months, we feed on my money because I didn’t ask him for money. There are plenty of instances where I went to him for something and he told me to pay because he was out of money. I did it without any complaint. What’s marriage without support from the wife?
One day his mother got sick. He’s the eldest child so most of the burden fell on him. His mother spent about two months in the hospital. He asked me one morning, “I need a loan. Can you help” I asked, “How much loan?” He said, “Just GHC1500. I will pay at the end of the month. I gave it to him. I figured he needed it to help with the hospital bills. Apart from that, he’ll call me from work and ask me to buy drugs on my way coming home; “I’ve checked all the drug stores along my path. None had it. So check from your path and see if you’ll get it,” he would tell me.
I will buy the drugs and won’t ask him to pay for them.Some were very expensive but he didn’t even bother to ask how much I bought them. I counted it as one of those things I would do for love. I put myself in his shoes. I told myself, “He’ll do the same for me when the tables turn.”
I was six months pregnant when his mother died. We had been married for three years. When preparing for the funeral, he asked me for a loan. He had never paid any loan he took from me so I wasn’t ready to add more. A baby was on its way coming. I needed to save enough money to be able to cater to the need of the baby. I told him I didn’t have money. I reminded him of the baby on its way. He said, “Alright. Don’t worry. I willfind a way.”
He always came home looking frustrated. For a very long time, he wasn’t smiling. He didn’t even talk to me often. He’ll be in the house with me and say nothing at all. When I asked what the problem was, he told me everything was ok. I figured it was about money so I told him, “If it’s about money, why don’t we borrow from our joint account? Remember we did it for emergency and this can equally qualify as an emergency.” He looked at me and smiled. He said, “Don’t worry. I will handle it. We don’t have to touch that money. No matter what happens, my mom would be buried so we don’t have to worry about certain things.”
Just as he said, his mother was buried. They were able to raise some money during the funeral so they used that money to pay off some of the debt they incurred during the funeral. Weeks later, I also gave birth. From day one at the hospital until I was discharged, my husband didn’t pay a pesewa. He told me he had just buried his mom and everything he had went into the burial. I didn’t complain. I paid my way out of the hospital and was brought home. In the house too, he used the same excuse whenever we had to buy something. “Don’t be hard on me. Remember I just buried my mother. We made a lot of losses so currently, I have nothing left.” For three months my husband didn’t pay for anything in the house. Not even housekeeping money.
One day it dawned on me; “The way this guy had been complaining about money recently, has he been paying the monthly contribution into the joint account?” Somedays my mind told me he was paying; “He made a standing order on it so definitely he’s paying.” One day I said, “No, let me check and be sure.” I had forgotten the account number so I called to ask him. He asked, “What do you need the account number for?” I told him, “It just dawned on me that I hadn’t checked on it ever since we started. I just want to know how much we’ve made.” He said, “I also don’t remember the account number. Wait when I come home, I will look through my things and see if I can find it.”
For two weeks I kept asking about it and he kept giving me excuses. I went to the bank with my baby strapped behind me. I gave them the account name and they searched for it. When they gave me the details, we had nothing left in our joint account. I called him right from the bank, “Ato, what happened to the money in our account?” He said, “You told me to borrow from it so I did.”
“You did what? You borrowed everything in the account? What are you talking about?”
“I needed that much money for my mother’s funeral. Don’t worry, I will pay.”
I was so angry if he was closer to me I would have said something nasty to him.When he came home and we were talking about it he was rather angry that I was asking too many questions. “Were you not the one who said I could borrow from it? So why are you talking as if I stole the money?” He screamed at me. I said, “Ato, when I told you to take from it, you said you couldn’t because the funeral wasn’t an emergency. So what changed that you had to withdraw everything we’ve made?” He said, “Things changed. I couldn’t tell you everything. Give it rest. I said I will pay.”
When I got the statement of account from the bank, I realized he stopped contributing over a year ago. That was when I realized I’d been very reckless with my trust and careless about the financial future of our marriage. We went to the bank to open an account and I left everything in his hands. I didn’t even opt for a notification whenever a transaction is made on the account. Everything was left for him, including an ATM card, thinking the head of the family will put his family first. Three years’ worth of savings just went down the drain. Without interest, we should have saved around GHC31,000 but now our account has zero money in it.
A month ago, he said we should start all over again. He said he’s going to pay every penny he took from the account but we should start saving again before emergency strikes. I told him, “Until every pesewa is paid back into our account forget it.”
I feel deceived. I think about it every day and I’m angry. I look at my husband and all I see is a walking deceit. He walks around carelessly and happy as if he wasn’t the man who squandered the family’s life savings. I don’t want to continue being angry while he walks freely. I’ve been looking for a way to make him pay the money he said he borrowed. I’ve thought of taking him to court to enforce him to pay that amount. I don’t know if it’s possible. But there should be a way to make him pay that amount without necessarily hurting the marriage. How do I go about it?