Is marriage a gentleman’s agreement?

There is a benefit after all, to having a husband. In this day and age, when retrenchments and redundancies are bandied about like bags full of sugary goodness, the small matter of having a roof over your head arises repeatedly. If you’re an unmarried parent, or even just plain old ‘single and free to mingle’, the loss of your singular income might quickly become something to lament about.

But if your ring finger is sagging under the weight of a wedding band – perhaps with a few diamonds thrown in, but yeah, probably not – and your spouse is still gainfully employed, losing your pay cheque should not strike you as any kind of disaster.

In fact, it may even herald a vacation. A break from the mundane, repetitiveness of everyday life. A bit of fresh air occasioned by the presence of a sofa set and the absence of traffic, fumes and hawkers.

Being married should give you the luxury to put your feet up and reflect on your working past as you contemplate a jobless future. Or at least it should. Some spouses may not be willing to bring home the bacon only to watch you eat it. You may find that there is even more pressure in your home than there was in the workplace, if your stab at being footloose and fancy free lasts longer than your notice period.

You might also have to consider the route you took to your matrimonial bed as you ponder a possible stint in the informal sector. Are you a first spouse, a second or a third? Did you sign a binding contract or is your marriage a gentleman’s agreement? Did you ‘come-we-stay’ or does he come and go? Are you a closet American when it comes to the edicts of the US Supreme Court?

These are pertinent questions when considering a life of absolute dependency, the answers to which should give you some kind of indication as to whether your employed half will be willing to foot your bills as you go into the world to find yourself again. Because even if it is for the briefest of moments, your life is now completely in the hands of the man or woman you chose to make a living with.

Then again, maybe you found a gem and married them, in which case please post the pictures from your getaway in the Bahamas.

For us single folks, there are no spouses to consider, but there is homelessness. Without a water-tight plan of action, the possibility of being thrown out on the street is not as farfetched as many might assume. But there is a benefit after all, to being unmarried. When you don’t have a spousal fall-back plan, you will usually have a variety of other plans, all the way from A to Z. You’re prepared for every eventuality. You can roll with the punches and still come out on top. Or…you can just call your mum and tell her to clear out the chicken feed from your old room because you’re coming home.