One in three Americans say hiding money from your spouse is worse than physically cheating. That extra bank account you keep open or that credit card your wife doesn’t know about could drive a wedge in your marriage. Money problems are among the most common causes of divorce, second only to physical/emotional infidelity. Read on to learn the value of monetary transparency in your marriage.
What Is Financial Infidelity?
Financial infidelity involves any form of hidden money. This could be a checking account, a savings account, a credit card, or even cash stashed under your mattress. Marriage is a partnership, and each person should be seen as an equal partner. If a large sum of money is being kept from the other person, that creates an instant feeling of inequality.
How Hidden Money Hurts Your Relationship
Hiding money from your spouse sends two signals: 1) you do not trust your spouse with money, and 2) you are doing something with the money that you don’t want your spouse to know about. Both scenarios create trust issues, which can quickly crumble even the strongest of marriages. Of course, you can overcome trust issues through couples counseling. If you can avoid them in the first place though, that’s even better.
How Much Should You Know about Your Spouse’s Money?
It’s important to note that many couples thrive without complete financial transparency. In other words, you don’t have to know about every dime in your husband’s account, and he doesn’t have to know about every dime in yours. You should create a level of money communication that matches your lifestyle as a couple.
Most couples work well by having three primary accounts: one for each of them and one joint account for the household. Each spouse deposits money into the joint account for household bills, and then the remaining money goes into the individual accounts. If savings accounts are involved, the savings may be joint or individual, depending on the couples’ needs. Example: husband checking, wife checking, household checking, emergency savings, vacation savings, personal savings accounts.
Both partners should have access to the joint accounts, but the other accounts can remain separate. However, if that creates a sense of mistrust, you may need to have transparency among all accounts. This is something you can work out during your couples counseling sessions in Bingham Farms, MI.
What If My Spouse Is Bad with Money?
If your spouse has a spending problem, you may need to have control of some of your money. This is something that you should work out together as part of your conflict resolution strategies. Rather than hiding money at that point, you are simply preserving money for the household. Your spouse knows about the extra account but does not have access to it. This is no longer financial infidelity. It is necessary money management.
Working through Financial Struggles with Couples Counseling
Every couple faces issues with budgeting, spending and saving. These problems may get worse after job loss or a major purchase (new house, car, etc.). You can work with your couples counselor to minimize financial stress and create a clear line of communication in your household. Talk about money in a healthy manner, and find a financial balance that works for both of you. This will reduce your overall stress and make it easier to conquer obstacles as a couple.
Contact Heron Ridge Associates at (734) 454-3560 to learn more about our couples counseling programs in Bingham Farms, MI.