LifeX­tra: Who should choose the fam­ily house?

Get­ting a house may be an ex­cit­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for many fam­i­lies, but who, in a fam­ily, should have more in­flu­ence when the time comes?

Weekly Trust - - Front Page - Eseohe Eb­hota & Ba­mas Vic­to­ria

Ahouse is more than just four squared edges and rooms. It is a build­ing where peo­ple live. Dic­tio­ de­fines it as ‘a res­i­dence for hu­man be­ings.’ A fam­ily also de­scribed as a group of peo­ple af­fil­i­ated ei­ther by rec­og­nized birth, affin­ity (by mar­riage or other re­la­tion­ship), or co-res­i­dence or some com­bi­na­tion of th­ese.

A lot of peo­ple to­day pre­fer living in their own houses rather than rent­ing. But due to cir­cum­stances be­yond their con­trol, they end up rent­ing. When they fi­nally de­cide to ac­quire their own home, a lot of is­sues arise, such as who would se­lect the lo­ca­tion, de­sign, build­ing ma­te­ri­als and so on. This prompted LifeX­tra to seek the views of oth­ers to know what they have to say about it.

Bello ‘ebello’ Emma, a le­gal prac­ti­tioner said “I have al­ways be­lieved that the lo­ca­tion of the house where any fam­ily should build their home should be de­ter­mined by the way they in­tend to live as a fam­ily. In a house where the father and mother work on the is­land, it might be okay if they agree to a lo­ca­tion closer to the work place of the wife who will still bear the bur­den of build­ing and di­rect­ing the do­mes­tic af­fairs of the fam­ily.

“Also the en­vi­ron­ment you want your chil­dren to grow up in is very im­por­tant. I would al­low my wife make the de­ci­sion of where to stay if we are both work­ing but when it is time to build our fam­ily house, my wife and I and our fi­nances will de­ter­mine where we’ll set­tle.”

Also speak­ing to LifeX­tra, Ab­hay De­sai, a top man­age­ment ex­ec­u­tive said “A fam­ily house is for the fam­ily, and if it’s for the fam­ily then the fam­ily must choose it, wife, kids and fi­nally the man. The man can make a com­mer­cial de­ci­sion based on the emo­tional de­ci­sion made by the wife and kids, not say­ing that wives don’t un­der­stand fi­nance but they are pro­grammed to think about fac­tors like ‘how far is the house from the best school, how far the best med­i­cal fa­cil­ity is, where fresh veg­eta­bles and meat are avail­able, and things that a male is just not ca­pa­ble of think­ing about.”

Oye Machara, a real es­tate agent, opined that the pri­mary con­sid­er­a­tion will be fi­nan­cial, also “prox­im­ity to school(s), work­place or wor­ship cen­tres. Th­ese choices are not in the strict purview of the hus­band or wife. It’s a col­lec­tive de­ci­sion to make.”

Muham­mad Bello Sada, a lec­turer, said “Un­der a more tra­di­tional set­ting, the hus­band/ groom nor­mally de­cides or chooses where the fam­ily house will be. The so­ci­ety ex­pects the man to pro­vide for the fam­ily and as­sume lead­er­ship, and as such, the man will de­cide based on his fi­nan­cial ca­pac­ity.

“But cou­ples nowa­days are be­com­ing more lib­eral, shy­ing away from the pa­tri­ar­chal dom­i­nance. I per­son­ally be­lieve that de­ci­sion per­tain­ing fam­ily should not be shoul­dered by one per­son. Mar­riage is a union, one arm sup­ports the other. Cou­ples should em­brace the con­cept of mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and com­pro­mise be­fore tak­ing any de­ci­sion about the fam­ily,” he con­cluded.

Dad­son Ibrahim, a grad­u­ate, had a dif­fer­ent view. He said “In the Holy Bi­ble, it says hus­bands are the head of the house. In the African set­ting, hus­bands are the known de­ci­sion-mak­ers but some women are key de­ci­sion-mak­ers in their homes. Cou­ples may share do­ing laun­dry but the same can­not be said for fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions. In­stead of fo­cus­ing on their ca­reers and see their hus­bands as the bread win­ners, most women are in­creas­ingly tak­ing charge of the tra­di­tional male house­hold de­ci­sions such as choos­ing the fam­ily car, which pen­sion provider or util­ity firms to choose and where to go on hol­i­days.

“Not only that, but they also have to con­tend with mod­ern hus­bands, who are much more likely to frit­ter money away rather than save it, ac­cord­ing to a study by the Depart­ment for Works and Pen­sions (DWP). So, for me, men are to choose.

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