Financial Infidelity: Are Money Fights Normal?

At some point in your marriage, it’s going to happen. You can count on it.

You’ve both had a long day at work, the kids are bouncing off the walls, and your spouse casually mentions that they just spent $75 on that thing they’ve been talking about the last few months.

“Oh, that’s nice,” you sarcastically comment. “Do you think I could have been a part of this decision?”

Your spouse gets defensive, and the game of verbal tennis begins. Over the next 30 minutes, this loud conversation slowly devolves into a heated discussion then into a back-and-forth shouting match punctuated by a pair of slammed doors.

The kids scamper to their bedrooms. The dog hides under the couch. The neighbor pruning his rose bushes wonders what in the world all the ruckus is about.

Your money fight might not be so dramatic—or loud—but it’s going to happen. And, sadly, for some couples these arguments aren’t a small bump in the road. Instead, they’re a major roadblock that has the potential to end their marriage. A recent study conducted by Jeffrey Dew of Utah State University said that those who have money “disagreements” once a week are twice as likely to divorce as those who argue once a month.

Whether or not a couple has savings is another important issue. That same study found that a couple with no savings and $10,000 in debt is twice as likely to divorce as a couple with $10,000 in savings and no debt.

Related: 5 Quick Ways to Build Your Emergency Fund

One fight turns into two fights turns into three fights until the financial stress, bickering and blow-ups become a trend. Maybe one person wants to get things in order while the other is willing to continue on with life as normal—debt and all.

To succeed financially and relationally in a marriage, a couple has to be on the same page. It’s almost impossible to do this if you have separate bank accounts, argue about money all the time, and face constant financial stress in your marriage.

The remedy is to sit down together, figure out where your money is going, and listen to each other. Don’t be one of the growing numbers who are letting their marriages end because of money problems. If you’re having disagreements all the time, then address the issue now, before it’s too late.

A great way to get on the same page with your spouse is to make a budget together. Learn how to create one here!