Marriage & Money Issues: Why Couples Should Do Money Together

We have all heard the following statement:

I don’t handle the finances in our family, that is something she/he does.

Every time I hear this type of talk, I want to scream out loud (instead of inside my head).

While this might be my opinion, being on the same page as a couple is a must.

Whether you're just:

  • Letting one person of the two handle all the finances
  • Not talking about money regularly
  • Or not helping one another and keeping tabs on your finances together…

My goal is to help you identify possible money issues in your marriage and fix them, the right way!

Couples Should Make Money Decisions Together

I once sent out a survey to find out what readers wanted to read about.

Roughly 2 in 3 responses consisted of questions along the lines of, “How do couples make financial decisions together?”

For my wife and I, this wasn’t hard.

We knew that as a married couple every decision we made would impact the other. So being all-in on paying off student loan debt, even if the majority of it was hers, was a no brainer as a couple.

However, that can't be said for everyone, which I understand. Regardless, in order to prevent money issues in a marriage it's important to first begin to understand:

ALL BIG FINANCIAL DECISIONS SHOULD BE MADE TOGETHER.

Money is not a guy or girl task, or a husband or wife task, it is a together, together duty! Couples that make big decisions together, stay together!

And I can speak so profoundly on this only after I made a few bone head mistakes myself.

Hunny, I got a new truck.

never buy new cars

I will never forget the day. I visited a friend who worked at a GMC/Honda dealership to get the automatic window in my paid-off car fixed.

Four hours later I walked out with a 2014 GMC Sierra. I was pumped.

Meanwhile, my girlfriend (now wife) Lauren was at work. I texted her that I had a surprise for her when she got home. Her simple response:

Josh…

She knew it already. While no planning went into trading my paid off civic for a brand new truck with a $430 payment, I had talked about wanting and “deserving” a truck.

A month later I read my first book on finances and I realized just how big mistake

She said she was OK, but deep down I could tell she was a little bothered. When I put myself in her shoes I could see why. The guy she was dating, a few months from being engaged to, just bought a $37,000 truck without consulting her.

And while I wish I could say this probably doesn't happen in most relationships, something tells me this is not the case. It's human nature to think something in our head is a great idea (like buying a truck) even when it isn't.

Which leads to an important point when it comes to avoiding money issues in your marriage:

Make all money decisions together!

This might seem a bit out there, but creating an accountability system or checks and balances in your marriage is the first step to dealing with finances as a married couple.

Because the MORE money decisions you make together as a couple, the better.

Depending on the publication, it is estimated that approximately 50% of marriages end in divorce. The top two reasons for divorce?

  1. Communication &
  2. Money

And statistics show and it is pretty well documented that money and communication cause most divorces, wouldn't it make sense to communicate more, especially when it comes to money?

Unfortunately, my example of buying a truck without consulting my future wife is all too common. And if we are being really honest, we can convince ourselves of almost anything is a great idea.

On a diet… but I can cheat today.

On a budget… but I can cheat today.

Don’t need a new whatever… but I deserve it for my hard work.

And while I am also not a marriage expert, we can all stand for improvement in any area of our life, I know that if someone said money is the root of most divorces, I was going to make sure that we were aware of all potential pitfalls.

3 Reasons to Help Avoid Money Issues in Marriage

Here are some tips to help you avoid or solve money issues in your marriage!

1.) Accountability.

We all need to be held accountable. While self-discipline sorta comes in waves, some of the time self-discipline can waiver. I know for me that is at least the case.

However, because I know I am accountable to our future goals, we make decisions together… and it really isn’t hard at all.  Without someone holding me accountable I know I can waiver. This is the same reason why I always say everyone should have a mentor in life.

2.) Selfless, not Selfish.

Maybe I am hyper critical of myself, but just buying a new truck was only making one person happy = ME.

We are naturally selfish creatures. Having a significant other is all about being selfless. So when I hear people say they have separate bank accounts I kinda wonder why. How come you can’t make decisions together?

And if doing things together is so challenging than I think it is important to go back to the basics – be selfless.

3.) Stop Enabling, Create Awareness Instead

This might sound weird, but there are people out there who do not know how to pay bills on time. They don’t know when their money hits their account and when it goes back out.

She does it. No he does it. In reality, WE do it. While that makes no grammatical sense, heaven forbid something happens, but both partners should know how to pay bills and run the finances.

No doubt that if for some reason Lauren had to take care of everything she could, and vice versa.

I have family members who I know for fact would be lost. Throw in having enough money, I would also have friends who wouldn’t know what to do.

Side note: How many friends do you have that still have their parents covering at least one monthly bill?

Also, sorta like writing your notes down in school instead of just listening, being involved in the financial process each month in your household will create awareness.

Awareness should increase action to do better.

I know I use a ton of fitness analogies, but if you didn’t know you had a heart condition would you change your diet? What if your doctor said you did, would you change it then?

The same can be said for finances. If one of the two is not aware of what is going on, they are less likely to really care to be involved or care as to what is happening.

But it boils down to one thing always: Your reason for getting married in the first place.

See also, 50 Cheap Date Ideas

What is your why in your marriage?

Why should you care to make decisions as a couple is up to you. I can’t figure that out for you. If you are having trouble getting on board together, then the best way to start is to go back to your WHY.

Why are you married?

Why did you fall in love?

Why SHOULD you be on the same page financially?

Start by having a candid conversation and keep in mind, you will have issues and problems in your marriage. But you can minimize most challenging money issue with a simple conversation!

Q: What is something you had to adjust financially once you got married?

money marriage issues