Although getting married brings many financial benefits (e.g., double your income and reach your goals faster), it also causes serious money issues that lead to fierce money fights in marriage.
Unfortunately, tying the knot doesn’t necessarily mean you are on the samefinancial page with your spouse.
Did you know money fights are one of the leading causes of divorce in America today?
Money and marriage statistics: According to the statistics about money fights in marriage, 48% of married Americans or living with a partner say they have financial disagreements (source).
Want to know what percentage of marriages end in divorce because of money? The same article reports that 41% of divorced Gen Xers and 29% of Boomers ended their marriage as a result of disagreements about money.
So, if you are tired of fighting over money with your spouse or think you are financially incompatible with your significant other, you are NOT alone.
In this post, you will find the common financial issues that challenge most married couples and learn how to manage finances in a marriage.
How Fighting Over Money Negatively Impacts Your Marriage
Constant fighting over money in a marriage can cause traumatic impacts on your relationship.
Here is a list of negative impacts.
– Affect your health condition: Major financial stressors can harm your mental (e.g., anxiety and depression) and physical health (e.g., sleep deprivation and muscle pains) in the long run. On top of that, the whole family will suffer.
– Experience ongoing distress in marriage
– Steal your trust: Constant financial anxieties and money squabbles can break down the faith.
– Have ineffective or no communication: A lack of communication can store up more financial problems in marriage.
– Take away the fun from your marriage: Money fights can cause marital tension and fiscal nightmare.
– Live with a resentful and angry partner for a long time before divorce: It is ten times worse than a divorce.
– Affect the happiness of your children
– Get a divorce: No couple will hope their marriage to fail after saying “I do.” But it happens (A LOT).
Pin it for later and learn how to stop fighting about money!
How To Stop Fighting Over Money With Your Spouse
Understand And Appreciate Your Differences
Every individual is different, especially if you and your partner are from a different background.
So, recognizing the differences and appreciating them are crucial to a healthy relationship.
Let’s have a look at the examples of differences among couples:
- Money imbalance in relationships
- Spending habits
- Money/life goals
- Core beliefs about money
Want to stop money fights?
Put your marriage first, communicate with your partner and learn how to appreciate your differences.
Find Out Each Other’s Financial Personality
It’s often not the money issue, but the financial personality differences that dominate the money fights in marriage.
Knowing each other’s financial personalities would help you understand where your husband/wife is coming from.
Are you a big spender or a natural saver? What about your partner? Are you the opposite?
Maybe you often overspend and rack up credit card debts mindlessly, whereas your spouse enjoys a frugal lifestyle.
You probably have already shared your life experiences, big dreams, expectations, anxieties, and personal beliefs about money (in some cultures, money topics might be sensitive) when dating.
Apart from the talks, how your partner handles finances will also reveal the details.
Know the money personality between you and your lover so you can truly understand each other when it comes to money problems.
Be Completely Honest With Your Partner
Honesty plays a significant role in money talks as it shows respect, trust, and support.
Being open to talking about money and financial details with your spouse is not easy, especially for newlyweds. However, it’s essential.
When you decide to have this conversation, be upfront and (brutally) honest about your financial history and these bad spending habits (including any family issues that might affect your spending behavior).
Do you hide excessive expenditures from your wife/husband? Or, do you keep the money details to yourself?
Let your partner know what to expect and how you feel can build financial trust in a relationship. Trust takes a long time to build, but it only takes seconds to be destroyed.
If you want to stop fighting over money with your partner, regularly have honest, nonjudgemental talks to ensure you are on the same page.
By doing this, you can analyze each other’s spending behaviors, set up shared goals, and work toward your financial plans.
Identify Your Bad Spending Habits And Tackle Them Together
We all have different money desires and financial habits.
Habits are not built in one day, so it’s unreasonable to expect your partner to break the bad money habits quickly.
Say if your life partner constantly nags you about your bad spending habits, it’s easy to get frustrated and disappointed, leading to resentment and anger over time.
So, while one of you is trying to quit buying stuff to save money, the other needs to be supportive and patient.
Take the time to identify the reasons behind each other’s spending behavior and know what triggers the spending spree.
Maybe society or your family has shaped your attitudes toward money. Or, perhaps you are an emotional spender.
If you know the whys, you can devise plans and work together to reduce the tension that causes money arguments in marriage.
Further reading: How To Use A No-Spend Challenge To Improve Your Finances As A Couple
Be Aware Of Power Plays In Relationship
Power plays can happen in different situations.
- there is a huge income disparity
- one spouse comes from a wealthy family, whereas the other one doesn’t
- only one of you are working and pay all the bills
The one who makes the most money might try to control the couple’s spending priorities and criticize the caregivers’ spending habits.
On the other hand, the one who sacrifices to stay at home might think they don’t have an equal say in family finances or feel inferior to the breadwinner.
These are not good signs for a happy marriage, as too many compromises and sacrifices can lead to resentment and money disputes.
Marriage is not a competition, so you don’t need a winner. Sometimes, you seem to be in a power position, but you might lose the love of your life down the road.
To reduce the potential for money fights on this topic, communicate with your partner, recognize each other’s contribution to the family, and run your finances together.
Work Toward Your Money Goals As A Couple
Having common financial goals can help you learn how to manage money as a team and strengthen your relationship.
Whether paying off your mortgage or building an emergency fund, it’s crucial to have solid financial plans to work together.
Also read: Lifestyle Creep: How To Protect Your Pay As A Couple
Create A Budget Together
How do you track your spending and improve your financial situation as a couple? – Use the help of a family budget to take control of your finances.
Budgeting as a couple helps you figure out where you stand and where you want to be.
“Marriage is a partnership, and couples can’t win with money unless they budget as a team.” – Dave Ramsey
You can track your spending, have plans to ensure the hard-earned money is well-spent, and wipe out your debts faster with a realistic family budget.
Most importantly, there will be fewer unnecessary money fights in marriage as you two have already reached an agreement together on how your money will be spent, and you hold the accountability.
Also read: How To Budget Properly For Holiday Spending As A Couple
Note that it’s OK that you disagree on many things when you budget as a couple for the first time.
Be more patient and give yourselves enough time to practice.
Your joint budget can also change over time when your financial situation changes. Maybe your income has increased, or you have quit your day job and started a new business.
Make sure you regularly review your monthly budget together and make changes when needed.
Also, don’t forget to add the “fun money” (blow money or splurge money) to your family budget. Whatever you want to call it, it’s the money that you can use for things you enjoy most every month.
Let’s face it. We all need a bit of fun without reporting back(when, how, and where) to one another, otherwise, your marriage will suffer.
Consider Having A Joint Bank Account
Not every married couple needs to combine their money. Some couples do well with separate checking accounts.
That said, a joint account helps manage bills as a couple and work on specific financial goals (like buying a house or preparing for retirement) together.
Besides, sharing finances in marriage allows you to cooperate as a team and overcome money problems along the way.
So, there is no his and hers, only ours. – The two become one.
Eliminate All Your Debt Together And Never Go Back
Debt comes in all shapes and sizes (from private student loans tohefty consumer debts). It’s not a sexy topic in marriage, especially for newlyweds.
Nobody likes extra financial baggage, and debt payments can cause highly uncomfortable tension in a marriage.
For the sake of your relationship, if you and your spouse have different opinions toward debts, talk with your partner about everything associated with debts and devise a debt repayment plan as a team.
So you can avoid further money arguments on this topic and get on better financial footing.
Here are a few debt-related issues you might want to include in your discussion.
- Should you pay off your debt or start saving first?
- Can you take more loans (like an auto loan and a mortgage) while trying to get rid of the existing ones?
- Will you continue using a credit card?
- Are you going to build an emergency fund (for unexpected life crises) while paying off your debts?
When you are free of your debts, you will feel a massive weight off your shoulders.
Imagine how much money you could use for other financial goals in life (e.g., planning a world trip or saving up for your dream house).
Discuss The Finances Of Having Children
Raising a child or more than one can completely change your life emotionally and financially.
So it’s never too early to talk about how to raise and pay for your kids once you decide to start a family.
According to Investopedia, the average cost of raising a child to age 18 born in 2022 is $272,049 in the US. And the cost of higher education is NOT included in the amount. It’s expected to add an extra $80,000 to $100,000+ (college fees) per child to the total.
Here are some common child-related expenses for parents.
- Sports and hobbies
- Extracurricular activities
- And more
Depending on how and where you raise your children, the costs vary big time. On top of that, additional expenses will occur if one leaves a career to raise children or the offspring continue living with you after 18 years old (some do).
Knowing the costs can help you plan an effective family budget and make smarter financial decisions as a couple.
When you are angry, frustrated, and disappointed in money fights, it’s easy to exaggerate words and bring up the bad old days to top up the negative emotions.
For example, “You never do this” or “You always do that” are usually based on mixed emotions instead of the actual calculation. These words hurt, especially coming from someone you love and care about.
On top of that, mentioning past unhappy events in the heated discussion will be another serious source of friction.
So, be careful with your word choice for better marital finances and relationships. What you say and how you say it matter a lot.
Also read: Gratitude Affirmations For A Happier Life
Manage Your Expectations In Marriage
Unmet expectations in a relationship can lead to disappointment, resentment, and money fights with your partner.
Who says when you get married, you have to buy a big house near the beach and have family vacations three times a year?
You and your partner get to define how you want your marriage to be. Don’t let the fancy photos on Instagram or unrealistic expectations affect your thoughts.
If your desires don’t meet the numbers in your bank account at the moment, don’t get frustrated. Find ways to increase your revenue (see our next tip) as a dual-income couple.
Increase Your Income As A Couple
If you constantly worry about making ends meet and are always fighting over money with your spouse, consider making more money.
“Money is not the only answer, but it makes a difference.” – Barack Obama
Making more money might not solve all the problems money causes, but it certainly helps ease the tension in a marriage.
Besides, you wouldn’t have much energy and time to fight over money when you focus on earning more.
Need recommendations? Here are my favorite ways to boost income.
- Start a profitable blog
- Become a freelancer on Fiverr and Upwork
- Turn your hobbies to side hustles
- Sell your unwanted items on Declutrr
The best part is that you can start now together in your free time and dramatically increase your annual income.
Want to earn fast cash in your spare time?
- Earn fast cash with survey sites like Survey Junkie (100% free to join)
Compromise In Money Fights When Needed
Making compromises on finances can help overcome the tension that money causes. That doesn’t mean compromising your personal standards.
Give and take is a fine art in marriage.
When conflict occurs, try to meet in the middle to make both of you happy.
If it’s difficult for you, practice putting yourself in your partner’s shoes, listen without interrupting, and try to understand the one’s difficulties.
Sign A Prenup (Or Postnup)
Prenuptial agreements are not just for wealthy couples. If you have valuable assets of any kind, prenups could be helpful for both parties and your children.
For instance, you can legally separate finances in marriage, reduce the number of money fights, and protect yourself from an ugly divorce (yes, divorce can turn ugly).
That said, not all soon-to-marry couples like the idea of prenups as it sounds like a romance killer. It might cause financial arguments, trust issues, and separation even before you say “I do.”
So do it with caution to save your marriage from money fights instead of ruining it.
If you have already tied the knot, a postnuptial agreement is also an option to protect you and your offspring money-wise.
Seek Professional Help
Nobody will know what you have experienced with your partner better than you two guys.
However, suppose things don’t work out the way you’d expect, or talking about money remains taboo in the family. In that case, you might want to consider seeking professional help (i.e., financial advisor or marriage counselor).
Sometimes, someone independent can see things through and provide impartial advice.
Be Patient – Stop Fighting About Money For A Healthy Marriage
A marriage can end for many reasons, don’t make financial fights be the one.
Indeed, managing a healthy relationship requires lots of patience and effort, especially when money problems are in the way.
And many times, financial stressors are only the trigger of the fights. What about the mixed emotions behind the money and marriage issues (like trust issues, communication problems, and everything else)?
Put that in mind, allocate some TIME to sit down with your significant other, listen, communicate, value each other’s opinions, and make plans to fix the money problems as a team.
🌟 Tip: If you have time to fight over money, you will have time to talk.
FAQ – Money Fights In Marriage
Can Money Break Up A Marriage?
Money fights are the second leading cause of divorce, behind infidelity. Married couples with extreme financial burdens might also have trust issues, communication failure, and lower levels of satisfaction, which are predictors of divorce.
What Is Financial Infidelity In A Marriage?
Financial infidelity is when you or your partner deliberately lie or do not tell the truth about finances. Some examples are keeping a secret savings account, lying about the price for an expensive item, or hiding your gambling addiction. Many reasons can trigger financial infidelity, such as fears, insecurities, or anxieties.
How Important Is Money In A Relationship?
Money is a helpful tool that gives you freedom, options, and independence in a relationship. If you have a healthy financial relationship with your partner, you don’t have to worry about marriage-killing money issues.
Final Words –how to stop fighting about money
You might not stop all finance-related arguments, but you can learn how to communicate effectively, tackle financial problems productively, and create a happy and wealthy life you both love together.
When your concerns about money are heard and plans are made as a married couple, the relationship could be stronger than ever.
💡 Note that one size does not fit all. There is no right or wrong way regarding money management in marriage.
What works for both of you in the relationship is the best way. It might take some time to fight your way to a better marriage, but a good marriage is worth fighting for.
Enjoyed this post? If so, don’t forget to share it with someone you love. Your share might help other married couples stop fighting over money.
For more personal finance tips, follow Create Earn Live on Pinterest here.