Nearly 80 percent of the couples who get a divorce cite financial difficulties as one of the major reasons (link). If this many cite it as a contributing factor, you have to believe there is something to it.
When speaking of divorce, money is typically at or near the top of the list as a reason for divorce.
Despite this, so many couples don’t take it seriously. They either don’t talk about money at all or have very bad fights about money.
Until you’re on the same page with money, you’ll never have the marriage you deserve.
As I thought about this problem, I compiled what I felt like were some root causes that created money issues in marriage.
I doubt anyone is surprised that this one made the list.
40 percent of households hold consumer debt (link), so it’s no wonder that money problems are so common in marriage. Consumer debt is debt like car loans, credit card debt, and financing of home goods.
And according to UF-IFAS EDIS, there is a direct coorelation between debt and marriage satisfaction. As debt rises, satisfaction in marriage decreases. As debt decreases, satisfaction rises.
This is not at all a surprising fact if you think about it. Debt causes stress and that stress leads to bad conversations.
And many times, debt is brought into the relationship by one or both of the couples. This creates that tension immediately unless the couple is open in their communication about how they’re going to handle it, which few are.
Then you have debt that’s added during the marriage, which can be the fault of one or both of the parties. When one party is responsible, it becomes very easy to play the blame game.
One spouse wants to retire early, the other wants the vacation.
One wants 3 children now, the other wants 2 children in 5-10 years.
One has abition career goals which will take them out of state, the other wants to remain close to extended family.
When you and your partner are not on the same page with goals, it will very quickly create marriage strife.
This problem is exasperated because so many do not opening and frequently talk about their goals.
Have you discussed with your partner what the work situation will be like when having kids?
Have you experienced different expectations for how often you eat out? If you will have car loans?
What about what type of clothing you purchase?
We all have undescribed expectations about money and when it comes to marriage it’s very easy for those to clash with our partners.
If one spouse earns signficantly more than the other, it is very easy for thoughts of resentment to build up. In this case, how are you paying for bills? Split equally or based on how much money you’re each making?
This is why I’m a huge advocate of combined finances, but that’s a whole different discussion.
Family or background baggage
Whether it be bad money experiences as a child or bad habits you’ve picked up in adulthood, we all bring baggage to a relationship.
Too many couples do not talk about this baggage and it causes all sorts of issues in their marriage.
It is not until you understand your spouse’s background that you can truly set your future plans.
Without addressing these issues, it’s inevitable you’ll continually hit their triggers and not even realize it.
One third of people have hidden purchases from their spouse (link). That’s crazy!
You should never lie about spending.
You should never hide spending.
You should also never ignore your spouses wishes.
If your spouse doesn’t approve, that means you should talk and hash it out. If you continually break the budget or ignore your spouse’s wishes, that will eat away at the trust you have.
Over time these breaks in trust create a chasm that cannot be filled.
Closing thoughts: keep fighting
94 percent of people who said they had a “great” marriage talked about their money dreams (link). I don’t think that’s by happenstance.
It’s easy to think that you need to bring up money more to fix your money problems. But by fixating on money, you could make it worse. Instead, you need to broaden the conversation.
We found as we talked about our goals and dreams, it made the money conversations open up.
If this is something you’re interested in, pre-order Money and Marriage: The Complete Guide to Transform Money in Your Marriage NOW.