When Marriage Gets Messy – Finances

The #10 most referenced reason Marriage Gets Messy: Finances.

You might think that a lack of cash flow is the number one issue causing messes where money is concerned, but I don’t think that’s the case.

While a drained bank account can certainly put an added strain on marriage, more money isn’t always the solution. Sometimes, more money just makes more messes. As you will see with many of these issues, they are interwoven with each other. Mountains of money can create just as many messes as digging ourselves deeper into debt when couples don’t communicate, have misaligned priorities, involve outside influences in their decision making, and don’t invite God into the discussion.

For this week’s edition of  I’m joined by Emily Stroud. She is a certified financial manager who knows true wealth comes from God. She has an insightful post on important questions for married couples to discuss, ideally before they say, “I do.” If you haven’t already talked through these 5 points, NOW is the right time. Even if you have addressed them before, it’s good practice to revisit financial goals at least annually.  Click here to continue reading Emily’s post. And don’t miss her freebie budgeting tool for subscribers! Then be sure to click around and see if her services might help your marriage go from mess to masterpiece where money is concerned.

Here are some strategies I’ve seen minimize the messes money makes in marriages.

6 strategies that minimize the messes money makes in marriage. #whenmarriagegetsmessy #finances Click To Tweet

Establish Priorities Prayerfully

You’ve got to love your honey more than the money. That sure sounds cheesy, but it is true. We must make marital preservation more important than the bottom line in our bank accounts. Invite God to help you make this a reality and then ask Him to show you His priorities for the money He blesses you with. A mutual understanding that all we have comes from above is critical in establishing proper priorities for our money. From that starting point we can better decide with God and our spouses where the money should be spent.

Communicate Constructively

Communication skills are critical where finances are concerned. We must be able to articulate our attitudes and assumptions about money. Discussing spending habits and savings goals honestly and respectfully goes a long way toward understanding our relationship with each other and money.

Attack Debt Dutifully

If you have debt, don’t let it keep accumulating. Stress increases when the money runs out before you pay the bills. Dave Ramsey agrees paying down debt is the first step toward establishing wealth. Agree to attack debt first.

Save for Specifics

Once you’ve attacked debt, you can consider how you’d like to start saving. How much does your family need in an emergency fund? What big purchases loom in the foreseeable future? College? A new car or a house? Vacation?  I suggest opening separate savings accounts for major purchases to help you identify that money with a specific, planned expense. This way you both know the money is for something and you’ll be less likely to dip into it.

Be Deliberate About Details

Marriage Gets Messy FinancesThis gets us each month when the credit card bill comes. My husband makes the money in our family and I spend most of it. That’s a recipe for toxicity. If I feel threatened and get defensive when he asks where I spent all the money, the discussion ceases being constructive quickly. It has been important for us to establish a budget spreadsheet so he can see exactly where all the money he makes goes each month. We reevaluate each time he is promoted, we move, or make a major purchase. Occasionally, it has also been helpful (and sometimes painful if I haven’t been entirely upfront about some of my more frivolous purchases) to do a complete review of our expenditures for a month. It’s a good gut check when done for the purpose of staying on budget, not laying blame. Finally, set a limit to the amount either of you will spend without consulting your spouse. It should be a number you’re both comfortable with in order to limit unexpected overspending and all the ensuing arguments.

Present a Unified Financial Front

Come to a mutual agreement on when and how to spend, save, invest, and give money. If you don’t have a clear understanding of the financial needs in various stages of life, I recommend consulting a professional together to determine your plan. Then don’t allow anyone outside of your marriage to sway you from the plan you devise or criticize the goals you’ve agreed upon.

Instead of allowing money to mess with our marriages, let’s commit to mastering our money.

Instead of allowing money to mess with our marriages, let's commit to mastering our money. #whenmarriagegetsmessy #finances Click To Tweet

Additional Resources on Marriage and Money

From Forbes, 5 Financial Mistakes that Ruin Your Marriage  and 10 Ways to Prevent Money From Ruining Your Marriage  

From AOL’s personal finance section, 7 Signs Money is Ruining Your Marriage 

From Crosswalk, Don’t Let Debt Destroy Your Marriage


Don’t miss the other posts in this series:

     10. Finances

     9. Unmet Expectations

     8. Adultery

     7. Outside Influences

     6. Complacency

     5. Selfishness

     4. Misaligned Priorities

     3. Yoked Unequally

     2. Communication Breakdown

and the #1 reason marriage gets messy is because God Isn’t Invited


Marriage Gets Messy Finances


Linking Up With

For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne EllerThought Provoking ThursdaySusan B. MeadFaith Filled FridayGrace and TruthFaith and Fellowship FridayGrace and Truth FridayGood Morning MondaySoul SurvivalMonday MusingsRah Rah Link UpTell His StoryWoman to Woman WednesdayWomen With Intention WednesdaySitting Among FriendsTestimony TuesdayPlanting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday.

20 thoughts on “When Marriage Gets Messy – Finances

  1. Such important wisdom here, Liz! I think a lot of people forget this: “Sometimes, more money just makes more messes.” My husband and I have gone through ups and downs with finances as all marriages do. I completely agree with your tips. We unfortunately always forget your first piece of advice-establish priorities prayerfully. Thanks for that much-needed reminder!

  2. Thanks so much for writing on this, Liz. This is such an important topic that I feel is little addressed in our “niche.” You offer so much practical wisdom here. This is so helpful. I need these reminders. 😉

  3. These are great tips! Being on the same page financially can make or break a marriage relationship. It seems the biggest thing is open, honest communication and making plans together for handling finances.

    Super post, Liz!

  4. This is a great post! Finances can really cause a rift in a marriage. It is important to set goals together and to always work together to tackle debts and work towards goals. Thank you!

  5. What a wealth of tips from both you and Emily today, Liz. Not always a detail that’s talked about much pre-marriage, is it? Perhaps that’s partly why it creates such friction. Thanks for sharing today, friend. xoxo

    1. Gosh, no! But somewhere around 22% of marriages that end in divorce claim finances to be a significant contributing factor in the failure. We ought to be talking about it all the time. Not just talking or arguing, communicating in a constructive way and compromising for the sake of our marriages! XOXO

  6. Great ideas, Liz! Money can be a painful issue, for sure! I think the key is to invite God into your spending–it really makes you reevaluate whether you ‘need’ something or just want it.

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