4 Financial Relationship Scenarios

18 Oct

Money is a big deal.

Money fights are one of the top reasons for divorce, so it is important to evaluate our relationship with our spouse as it relates to money.

When we discuss the positive and negative aspects of this part of our relationship, not only will communication improve, but we might feel that we got just a bit richer!

With that in mind here are some of the most common relationship styles when it comes to finances:

Combined but ignorant: In this relationship your money is pooled together, and one person handles the finances. The downside is that one spouse is almost completely uninvolved.  They don’t know what the financial situation is, and have little to no part in decision making.

This leaves the partner that handles finances with the full burden that money can be.  If it fails it is entirely their fault and it often is overwhelming to have that responsibility.  Not only that, but the spouse that is ignorant can blow up the budget with one swipe of a card because they don’t know what is happening with their money.

Combined but controlling: This scenario is similar to number one in that one spouse handles all the finances and incomes are combined.  The difference is that not only is one spouse ignorant of the finances, but they are kept that way on purpose.

They may want to be involved but their spouse doesn’t trust them enough, or they may not be allowed access to the available money.  It is kind of hard to believe that this scenario happens, but it does.

Separate and roommates: In this relationship it is your money and mine and we split things up accordingly.  Basically it is living with your college roommate for life.  I know that this is a very popular scenario, especially with couples where one or both have been previously divorced.

My qualm is that if we keep this huge part of our lives separate, it is like we are preparing for separation.  It can be hard to trust someone to link you money with theirs, but if we aren’t ready for that commitment we aren’t ready to marry that person either.

Combined and communicating: This is obviously my favorite scenario since I have been pretty negative about the others.  Here we have combined our money and are making decisions together on what to do with it.

Both partners know what is happening that month and what they have or don’t have to spend on certain things.  Each person has an equal vote, and while one person may take care of the actual mechanics of bill paying, they aren’t left to handle the responsibility of making all the decisions on their own.

So why is scenario 4 the best option for your marriage?

When we said marriage vows, we committed to becoming one in all areas of life, this should include finances.

Two really are better than one!  Whether you currently handle finances separately or only one of you makes the decisions, you are missing the valuable input of your partner.

In marriage, 1+1= more than two.  What I mean is, together we can come up with something even greater than we could have done separately.

When we agree on finances, we end up communicating about more than money.  Long term goals and dreams come up and we learn something new and take our relationship to a deeper place.

From personal experience I can tell you that when my husband got on the same page about money, our whole marriage got better!

What does your financial relationship look like?

If you want to read more posts related to finances, check out this post:

Contentment: Living with Secondhand and Loving It

 Want to know how my husband and I learned about finances?

Check out Financial Peace University and sign up for a local class!

NOTE:  These scenarios do not account for special situations such as gambling or mental illness, please seek professional council on how to address finances in your marriage in those or similar situations.


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