Marriage and Money: 7 Ways to Make it Work

Last week Ruth shared a wonderful story about how a married couple got on the same page financially and started improving their finances and their marriage because of it. This got me thinking about what it takes to make marriage and money work. I have seen married couples think oppositely about money more times than I can count. 

They say that money is the number 1 cause of divorce. I’m not sure if that’s statistically accurate, but I’m willing to bet it’s among the top three reasons for marital discord. The reason that married couples struggle so much with money is that they’re often coming from 2 completely different backgrounds when it comes to how they learned to view, spend and manage money.

Those differences don’t have to be a relationship deal-breaker, however. You can come from different money backgrounds and still make marriage and money work. Here are some tips on how to unify your money views with your spouse and use them to grow your marriage stronger.

7 Ways to Make Marriage and Money Work Well Together

  1. Talk About it. Not talking about it will only lead to frustration. When one, the other or both people don’t feel free to vent their feelings and struggles in marriage, it almost always leads to subconscious (or not-so-subconscious) resentment. Even if there are some heated moments, sharing your feelings, thoughts and fears about money (in a non-accusatory way) will help set the stage for the next step, which is to…..
  2. Make a Plan. It may take some time and some compromise, but by working together to make a plan for your money, you and your spouse will avoid many misunderstandings and fights about money. P.S. Don’t just take another couple’s plan and make it your own. Devise the plan for finances and the way of managing money that best suits you individually and as a couple, even if that plan makes no sense to others.
  3. Have Girl/Guy Money. I love this phrase, coined by my friend Deacon over at Well Kept Wallet. If each marriage partner has a set amount of spending money each month, it gives each spouse some money to spend as they wish. This is important in order to be sure that each person has some independence where money is concerned.
  4. Address Issues Quickly. If there is an issue with money in the marriage, it’s important that it is addressed and resolved quickly. This will help make sure a little money issue doesn’t turn into a big money issue.
  5. Make Sure Each Marriage Partner has a Retirement Fund/Plan. It’s tempting in marriage to only have one person have retirement funds because the money as a whole is often seen as “ours”. I find this most often in marriages where one spouse is a stay-at-home parent. It’s vitally important that each spouse has proper retirement savings, even in a shared-finances situation.
  6. Be Willing to Understand.  Even if you’re not on the same page regarding your spouse when it comes to money, you can learn to understand why they do things the way they do, and why their views on money are so important. By trying to understand your spouse’s point of view, you will better be able to understand their thought processes and better be able to work out compromises because of it.
  7. Be Willing to Compromise. Compromise is key, both in marriage and in money management. Be willing to practice a give and take strategy as you learn to manage money together.

By following the above 7 steps, you can help secure your financial future and your marriage as well. If you’re married or considering marriage, make a choice to commit to the above steps today.

What’s your best marriage money advice? Share below in the comments section.  


*Photo courtesy of Kelly Sue DeConnick

8 comments on “Marriage and Money: 7 Ways to Make it Work

  1. I think its important to discuss money before you are married, so you can get a sense if you are on the same page with your partner. If already married and didn’t have that discussion before hand, communication is the key. One of the best tips I’ve heard is having a set amount of fun money for each or a set amount of money each can spent without having to have the others okay. This will help prevent misunderstanding, arguments, etc.

    1. That’s definitely ideal but so many people don’t think about it because they’re too busy being “in love”, LOL. I agree on the fun money – makes things LOTS easier. Great comment, Brian!

  2. These are great tips! I think the biggest thing to remember (or to realize) is that things don’t “just work themselves out”. Apathy is not a well-traveled path to a successful marriage! With that in mind, an engaged couple can begin using these tips so that the honeymoon phase doesnt last just through the honeymoon 🙂

  3. Great advice, Laurie! #5 is important for us because we are tempted to rely on the teacher’s pension that I’m very fortunate to have coming my way. If we live frugally – which we plan to do – it should be fine for the two of us. But there’s a “still small voice” in me that says, “No. Not a good idea.” I’d be interested in hearing more about why this isn’t the way to go. #7 made me think, “Yes, compromise. But don’t be a doormat.” Compromise has to go both ways in a marriage. So often, one partner does too much of the compromising.

    1. #5 was born mostly out of seeing women friends get the shaft big time when their husbands left them without hide nor hare of any retirement or other money because they had stayed home and raised the kids and not thought about their own retirement plans. Happens way too often, and I’m sure some guys have been the victim of this kind of stuff too. GREAT point about compromise in marriage – it does have to be a two-way street!

  4. I think “Talk About It” can apply actually to every facet of marriage, quite honestly, not just finances. Any issue can fester and become a bigger issue than originally thought, if both partners don’t communicate.

    Love your post Laurie 🙂

  5. Great ideas! We have separate finances now but are considering how we can combine the m in the future. I love the idea of having his and her money set aside to spend each month independently.

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