Money Matters: 4 Financial Problems That Can Test Marriages

A Harris Poll survey cited money-related issues as the leading cause of stress in marriages, according to an article published by MarketWatch. Here are some of the major financial concerns that often become the reason for people going for couples therapy.

Hiding Money

Sexual infidelity may be the leading cause of divorce, but financial infidelity can also damage your relationship. In a poll conducted on behalf of the National Endowment for Financial Education, in 40% of the couples, one of the partners admitted to lying about money. In the same survey, 75% of the people responded that deception around finances had affected their relationship in a negative way.

Having open and regular conversations about money can build trust in relationships, says couples therapy expert Linda Charnes.


It is normal for young couples to have some level of debt, which can be from their credit card, a student loan or car and home loans. If one of the partners has significantly more debt than the other, problems may arise.

It is important to know that debt incurred after marriage is shared by both partners, while debt incurred before marriage stays with the person and is not extended to the partner. Moreover, having a clear plan to repay the debt can significantly lower stress among couples.

Disparity in Earnings

Problems can also arise when one partner earns significantly more than the other. This can translate to the higher earner feeling more empowered in the relationship. If the higher earner takes all the major decisions, this needs to be addressed. Putting your money in a joint savings account is a good option to deal with this problem. It would help you make your budget as a team, rather than as individuals.

On the other hand, the disparity in earning can impact the self-esteem of the lower earner. This can become a source of conflict that partners often have difficultly copying with. Such feelings won’t go away and need to be discussed. Opting for couples therapy can help greatly in such cases.


Some people are spendthrifts by nature, while others are thrifty. To some extent, this is beneficial in a marriage, as it balances things out. However, it can also become the source of friction. Money temperament is important to discuss and understand. Couples can define broad rules and limits around spending habits, to ensure both feel at ease. It also helps to define long-term goals and have a plan to achieve them.

The bottom line is good communication and understanding can help prevent many of the financial troubles that cause friction in relationships. In case problems do arise, a great option is to opt for couples therapy.

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