Money and Marriage

How a better relationship with money can make for a better relationship with your spouse

We all know that fighting about money is an issue most couples face. According to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysis, money matters are the third leading cause of divorce. Fixing the conversation and behaviors around money with your partner can change the happiness and health of your relationship.

⅓ of adult relationships claim that finances are a huge source of stress and conflict. The conversation of mine, yours or ours can be a subject of contention between couples. Having separate accounts and one joint account can lessen these arguments, by giving each other a little freedom, while still being able to hold each other accountable for shared expenses.  

If you’re coming into a relationship or marriage with debt, this can lead to debates regarding spending habits or finger-pointing that one of you just “isn’t good with money.”  Having honest conversations about your financial standing is essential to have with your partner, and can prevent explosive conversations in the future.

Most couples end up incurring additional debt by hitting certain milestones, such as buying a house or a car. Setting up a realistic budget, and being aligned in your financial goals can help to keep you from overspending on life changes like wedding planning or having a baby. 

In terms of money and marriage, honesty is always the best policy. According to a poll by, roughly 6 million consumers in the US have concealed financial accounts from their significant others. In a survey by, 1/10 people claimed that their secret purchases led to a divorce or breakup. Secret spending can put unnecessary strain on your relationship, leading to trust issues and resentment. Stop keeping secrets from your spouse, but be sure to give each other some breathing room. 

Here are some tips and tricks that married couples often don’t want to hear: 

  • Track your spending – don’t dread the “B” word. Sticking to a budget can help to alleviate financial woes.
  • Know each other’s priorities – what’s important to you may be different than what’s important to your partner. Knowing each other’s money language can lead to knowing each other’s love language.
  • Communicate about your finances – talking about money matters on a regular basis will keep you working as a team.
  • Save, save, save – having a little extra for a rainy day can really come in handy for unexpected expenditures. 
  • Pay down your debts, especially non-mortgage debts – living debt-free is ideal, but one good decision leads to another. Set reasonable goals to help pay off your debt.
  • Be honest with each other – keep the peace by being truthful with your partner regarding your spending habits.
  • Understand that tough times happen – regardless of how proactive you are, sometimes life just happens. Be prepared!

Here are some additional tips from long-time married couples to share their best advice for ensuring a happy money marriage:

Money and marriage go together like a horse and carriage. Honest conversations about your finances build trust, communication skills and of course, love. Having a better relationship with money can make for a better relationship with your person, and isn’t that what we all want? May your love and money grow this Valentine’s Day!

If separate money caused your conflict – his, hers, ours • Try an app like Qube as another way to separate your money into different categories and stick to your budget!

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Fill out this form to be contacted to schedule your Free 45-minute Discovery Session and begin the journey to become WISE with money.

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Penny Kidd

I'm a social worker turned Financial Coach. I'm completely debt free (including my house!) and help others make their money behave by doing a budget and becoming intentional with their money.

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