I once met an elderly man who offered to give me some advice for a taste of my whisky, just as Kenny Rogers sings in the classic, Gambler. I gave it to him and he told me what according to him was the best advice any right thinking elder should give to a newly married man. So after a few contemplative sips from his glass he began to advise me. “Every man should have two kinds of properties – those which his wife knows about and therefore may be registered under their joint names, and those which his wife does not know about and are registered under his name only.”

He took another sip and went on. “Women can’t be trusted fully. They will smile with you and a few minutes later they are biting you. They can even kill you just to be left with everything that you have laboriously earned. So when you feel she is up to no good that is when your secret property comes in handy. You leave home, settle in one of your secret properties in peace and dupe your wife into believing that you are somewhere suffering while she is enjoying life with her lovers.” As soon as he finished giving me this piece of advice, I concluded that the money I spent on the whisky I bought him was money spent unwisely.

I did not find his advice helpful at all, and so I did not take it. Unfortunately, I think this is a piece of advice, which a good number of men follow keenly. If you think about it, it is the reason why banks have thousands of dormant accounts worth billions of shillings, whose owners either died years ago, are suffering from terminal illnesses or memory loss, and thus cannot even use the money to pay for their own treatment. In addition, there are idle large parcels of lands, rental houses and other properties whose owners are resting in a grave somewhere or bedridden with sickness.

Some men even buy stocks and life insurance policies, which they do not let their wives know about lest they plot their death in order to benefit from the insurance. That is not even the worst part of it. The most awful thing is that there are children who must now rely on bursary funds or even drop out of school for lack of fees since their bread winner – their father – passed on, unaware that he had invested in stocks and stashed money in secret accounts in addition to investing in several other properties. Many other families suffer the same fate and go without sufficient food and other basic needs.

In short, there are men who would rather have their children suffer than reveal their wealth to their wives. They take life insurance policies and have pension funds, which do not benefit anyone in the end because their wives do not know about them and therefore cannot put a claim on them. Is it worth it? Why bring forth children of your own but live your life in such a way that only total strangers  partnership get to enjoy your sweat? Why even marry, yes, why marry if you cannot trust your partner with the most important details of your life? After all marriage is a partnership. I decided long ago that a great life is attainable only when we take risks. No wonder some say life is a risk. You cannot enjoy this life or even achieve greatness if you live in skepticism, always imagining that someone is plotting your downfall and especially when that someone is your spouse. I live boldly and I enjoy every moment of it. The woman I married is part of me and to deny her any pertinent information is to starve a part of me. Before I invest our money in anything, I discuss it with her. She even knows how much I earn and any other income I make from other deals. And it gets even more risky from here, she knows my bank account PINs – are they not supposed to be secret?

Well, if my wife decides one day to take off with our savings and title deeds, then I will say good riddance because in my mind a true wife cannot steal from her family coffers. And what if she poisons me so she can acquire and enjoy all our wealth all by herself? Well, it shall be said that my loving wife killed me. Such, would be a more meaningful death than suffering a heart attack because my secret stocks and shares have depreciated by half. You see for me, I got married fully aware that it was a union and as such I give it my all.

I try as much as I can to ensure that there will be no room to regret and wish I had been more dedicated to my marriage.  So, I win all or lose all – that to me is what life should be and especially marriage. I have no plan B such as the advice some people give of having one foot in and another out. I just think that if you decide to get married, you go into it as if you were getting into a bathroom – fully exposed. That, my brother, is my opinion of a true marriage, a leap of faith. So the next time anyone gives you advice such as that given to me by the old man, let them know you know better and walk out on them.