I had a conversation with a lady who works in the Human Resources department of one of the major banks in Nigeria. She was involved in a ghastly motor accident which left her unconscious for many weeks. Her insurance policy needed to be activated to help with the treatment, her bank contacted her father whom she had named next of kin. She had been married for 21 years and have worked at the bank for 10 years. This means she had been married for 11 years before she started the job. So why was her husband not listed as her next of kin?? Did she not regard him as family? Are men guilty of this as well?

Her husband found out and all is not well in her marriage, the man feels betrayed especially because they were not having any major issues. During my conversation with her, she admitted putting her Dad’s name. She went on to say that some women feel that they cannot trust their husbands with the welfare of the kids in the event of their death, especially when the man eventually takes another wife. Those in this category claim they cannot bear the thought of their hard earned money being used to cater for another woman and her kids. From her submission this seems to be a worrying trend these days.

Fortunately she didn’t die, she will have a very hard time explaining to her husband why she chose her father as her next of kin over him. I am compelled to ask, at some point in the marriage do men not harbour such suspicions about their wives? is it only widowers who remarry or date after their spouse’s death? do widows not remarry or have relationships with other men? are the men not entitled to this line of reasoning? From my limited survey, I found out that men name their wives as next of kin by default.

Being unfaithful in a marriage is not only about having an affair with someone else, there are many other types of infidelity which are equally hurtful, this is one of them. No man will wish his lawfully wedded and loving wife dead before him, but you can imagine the trauma which a man will be subjected to in the unfortunate event of his wife’s death and someone else is named her next of kin. That will be betrayal of the highest order and will cast a huge shadow on the sham of a marriage he was subjected to. This goes both ways, imagine a woman who has just lost her husband being informed that she is not his Next of of kin.

Trust is an important component in marriage, most people usually think it is important only when infidelity is discussed. Trust is versatile and applies to almost all aspects of the daily lives of a couple. The woman in the story did not have any extra marital affair but she was totally unfaithful to her husband and has been for the past 10 years, they were not operating on the same level. Equity demands that she lists her husband as next of kin, it’s not about the money or benefits, he is a very rich man by all standards and taking care of her and their kids, it’s about the betrayal. This is a major blow to the marriage and I sincerely hope and pray that my intervention will yield the required results – Sir Stanley Ekezie