A very common issue with couple finances is that both spouses are not on the same page. Money stresses are all around us, and it’s all too easy for these to seep into our marriages and ruin relationships.
Is your financial committment on the rocks with your spouse? Here are three money-related problems that burden a marriage, and how to overcome them.
1. His and Her Accounts
Before I get too far into this, I do understand that some couples have very serious financial or personal issues that require separate accounts, (such as gambling, or family assets). So, I’m not addressing these couples.
I personally know three different sets of couples that have separate banking accounts. The first are newlyweds, the second couple has been married for several years with two children, and the third couple is in their eighties, and have been married over 60 years.
You think the odds of one of them having success with separate bank accounts would be at least 1:3, but the truth is that all three have problems with it. I truly think the issue with separate banking accounts comes when it becomes about the separation of his money, and her money.
Even if both spouses are not financially wise, there needs to be unity. When you say “I Do”, you should be making it our money, our debt, and our expenses. Having separate bank accounts reinforces the idea that one spouse should pay for the debt they had before marriage, which can cause a lot of bitterness and resentment.
Furthermore, splitting the bills can rob a marriage of its joy. It’s a bit humorous to watch two eighty year-olds squabble over who has to pay for breakfast. But when it comes to the more serious expenses, such as unexpected medical bills, or surprise home repairs, separate accounts can lead to unnecessary fights and put a wall between the couple.
Can separate accounts and an amazing marriage work together? Yes, I have no doubt about it, but sadly these stories are few and far apart.
Couples should be united in their finances, but for many this doesn’t happen overnight. It may take counseling sessions and financial classes taken together to get on the same page.
2. Nagging Each Other
No one likes to be nagged, yelled at, or spoken down to, and this applies to every aspect of life — finances, household duties, etc. Even if your spouse has proven to be incompetent with their finances, treating them like a child and constantly nagging will not change the situation.
It will only make things worse. So what do you do instead? First off, think and treat your spouse like an equal, even if they’re ruining the finances, or do not make the same amount of income as you.
Next, figure out how you both can be on the same financial page together, whether that means counseling, weekly financial meetings, or keeping each other accountable to sticking to a budget.
Then, work it out together, with no nagging, fighting, finger pointing, etc. Become each other advocate instead of each other’s enemy.
3. Lying to Hide Spending
My mother was the queen of lying about purchases and secret credit cards. We all know what happens with one small lie, it grows into a bigger one and multiplies into other lies, until one day you’re stuck in a deep, dark hole.
If you’re guilty of this, I encourage you to humbly come clean to your partner. It will be painful and ugly, but it can lead to the true financial freedom and freedom of guilt that you desire.
Create a space of trust and openness with your special someone, so they know that you care enough to work this out, and fix the financial issues. Lying to hide spending is usually a symptom of something (likely pain, hurt, or depression), so listen to their confession without judgement.
These are not easy financial situations to talk about or remedy when your marriage is facing financial trouble.
Everyone’s money story and marriage is different, so it’s hard to give a general advice that will apply to every couple. Because of this, I want to hear your thoughts, experience, and personal opinions about you handle these financial issues in your relationship.
How do you and your spouse handle money? Have you faced one of these issues? What advice do you have on dealing with it?