Be open about loans in your marriage

When someone takes a loan or debt, it is important that they let their partner know as failure to do so may bring problems that may strain a relationship or marriage

Not being transparent about debts and loans in a marriage can cause a strain leading to a breakup in case the affected partner fails to pay back. NET PHOTO 

BY Christine Katende


  • When someone takes a loan or debt, it is important that they let their partner know as failure to do so may bring problems that may strain a relationship or marriage. Writes Christine Katende.


Annet Muliika lost all the property she had accumulated in the eight years she had spent with Peter. Muliika says, “two years after our introduction, I suggested we buy a plot of land and build a house before starting a family. I was two months pregnant. They were lucky to complete the house a few years later and move in,” she recalls.

Muliika says a few years back she started noticing some weird behaviour from her husband, an indication that he had done something behind her back. Little did she know that he had borrowed money from a money lender and used their marital home as collateral.

Muliika was surprised when loan shacks came to evict them from the house saying her husband had failed to honour his loan obligations and they did not want the money to accumulate further.

Currently, their relationship has hit rock bottom. They are always quarrelling and fighting and blaming each other for the misfortune. The regrets cannot work. They both cannot bring back the lost home.
But is this a situation that would have been prevented in the first place?

Agree about it
Samuel Bakutana, a relationships coach, says yes, if the man had sought consent from his wife, he would have avoided such shame. “Some families have lost their property after one spouse incurred a secret debt and failed to offset it,” he reveals.

Similarly Jonathan Okir, a counsellor with family life network, says debts are not bad as long as the two parties get involved from the start.

“Remember the relationship is between the two of you, so critical solutions such as debt should involve the two parties. But before going for the debt, ask critical questions such as; is it beneficial to both of us so that none of you feels cheated,” he states.

Avoid rush decisions
Okir cautions couples to avoid making rush decisions but rather take time as you make concrete decisions. “If one can avoid debt, I would strongly advise them to because debts bring a lot of stress while stress management skills are scarce.” “Try as much as possible to live within your means,” Okir says.
Bakutana reveals that whenever a debt is mismanaged, the couple gets emotionally strained.
Experts say people should not try to be who they are not.
“Do not try to acquire the whole world in a short period of time. Everything has its perfect timing so live each day as it comes. Live as though you could die any moment and plan as though you are going to spend your whole life on this planet,” Bakutana says.

What do banks say
Micheal Jjingo, the chief manager business growth at Centenary Bank, says before a bank gives or signs a client’s papers in acceptance of giving a loan, they ask for a spouse’s consent or signature. This is in cases where a party pledges a marital home as collateral.
“In cases where one is borrowing money from a bank and are pledging a marital home, one of the major requirements will be a spousal consent. That is a must have,” he confirms.
However, in cases where one presents a plot of land outside the marital home for instance, the spousal consent may not be considered, says Jjingo.

In situations where a client pledges their home as collateral and presents themselves as single, the bank will confirm by visiting it. Jjingo explains that, on the same note, such a client (single) will be tasked to write an affidavit especially if they are above 25 years of age.

“In the event that a spouse comes out with a claim, the bank will not be held accountable but the individual,” he reveals.
Jjingo cautions partners to register purchased property in both names as a way of covering their interest. “It is advisable to at least keep receipts and bank slips. Indicate the purpose of the deposit on the slip (deposit for land) and in case of a misunderstanding, the receipts bail one out like putting a caveat on the land,” he notes.

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