Navigating the Ocean of Economic Quagmire: The Case of a Couple.

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By Dada Ahmed.

Newly wedded couple at Idoma quarters of Okene Local Government Area of kogi state recently.

A quagmire economy refers to a situation where a country’s economic environment is unstable, stagnant, or in decline, often characterized by high unemployment, inflation, and economic uncertainty. This definition, succinctly put by an AI expert, is echoed by financial expert Dr. Kingsley Odeh. He notes that such an economy creates numerous challenges for families and relationships, impacting them in several significant ways.

Drawing from these observations, many couples agree that managing a marriage in such an unhealthy economic circumstance is no easy feat.

The experiences of couples, a critical segment of the population, reflect the harrowing economic conditions in Nigeria, marked by high inflation and its multiplier effect on the cost of living. Nigerians, particularly couples, describe the effects of the current economic situation as more severe than words can capture.

The ill-feelings expressed by Nigerians, especially the poor masses, are rooted in the record-high inflation rate, which surged to 33.95% in May 2024, up from 33.69% in April 2024, according to the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Confronted by these alarming statistics, many Nigerian couples confess they are most affected, adding that it takes divine intervention for them to survive the economic onslaught without constant squabbles.

However, the case of a couple in Lokoja, Kogi State, stands out. Their ability to manage the economic reality exemplifies how a husband and wife, committed to their vows, can weather social and economic storms together.

Mr. and Mrs. Mohammed, in their mid-30s, married six years ago in Okene, Okene Local Government Area of Kogi State before moving to Lokoja, the state capital, in search of better opportunities about two years ago. The couple says that while they are not exempt from the effects of high inflation, they have navigated their way through with a success story worthy of emulation.

Mr. Mohammed, a father of three, recounts that his family has thrived in this difficult economic terrain by embodying resilience, meaningful communication, and love.

He explains, “We have shown that the current economic hardship will not hinder our marriage. Therefore, we resolve to strengthen our understanding, tolerance, and adjust our lifestyle according to the current economic reality to ensure peace.”

“Above all, we intensify our prayers for God’s intervention, safety, good health, and longevity, because we strongly believe that prayer changes things for the better, especially in this challenging situation we find ourselves in our country.”

“For instance, when my wife urged me to increase our family’s monthly upkeep from N70,000 to N150,000, we called a crucial family meeting where engaged in a critical discussion and reviewed our family budget in line with the current economic reality.

“The two of us are very much conscious of the fact that,prices of food stuffs, foods and services are not only hitting the roofs, occasioned by the rising inflation, coupled with shylock attitude of market women and men, especially in Lokoja, they have in fact perforated some with serious telling effects on the social and economic life of the people.

“After examining the high cost of living, taken into consideration our budget especially as it relates to the price of foodstuffs, and thoroughly debated the issue in relation to our financial capacity, and other sundry issues in the family,we agreed to raise the upkeep to N120,000 per month, without any conflict.”

“This is how a husband and wife should relate to effectively manage their family and survive the economic hardship confronting our country.”

The story of the Mohammeds serves as an effective recipe for other couples managing their affairs to ensure the stability of their home amid the high cost of living gripping the country.

In correlation with this scenario, an anonymous author advises couples and Nigerians on surviving the current economic challenges. “Don’t take it personally; it’s a general problem affecting everyone. Suspend all your projects for now until things normalize. Don’t stress yourself because you have set a target.”

He further urges couples to avoid frivolous spending and focus on buying what is necessary. “Differentiate between your needs and wants. Needs are essential, while wants are desirable. For now, prioritize your needs. The most important things now are feeding and health. It’s okay to dip into your savings to survive.”

“Don’t overwork yourself just to earn more money. Work a little and rest a little. Overworking can be detrimental. Avoid anger as it doesn’t solve anything. Reduce unnecessary outings and avoid elaborate parties. Maintain low-profile celebrations if necessary, as people will leave you to bear your financial burden alone.”

“Avoid bad news if you can, especially if you have high blood pressure. Instead, listen to good music, watch comedies, and laugh to relieve stress. This is not the time to forsake God. Serve God more, and remember that this difficult time will pass, just like Ebola and COVID-19. Your tomorrow is far better than your today. We will conquer this by God’s grace.”

In the final analysis,there is no doubt that the current economic quagmire in Nigeria has created significant financial and emotional challenges for Nigerians and their relationships.

However,experts in human relationships are optimistic that with effective communication, financial planning, and emotional support, Nigerians can navigate these difficulties and ensure stability in their relationships.

Dada Ahmed,a member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, publishes The Reporters.

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