Money is the main source of marital pain

November 8, 2005 — Leave a comment

� Salt Lake Tribune

Why is it common to hide money from a spouse?

Let’s be honest. Financial infidelity exists in one of every three marriages. The No. 1 item most likely to be hidden from a spouse? Money!

Because so many couples now have separate accounts, the temptation is even greater. Even couples on solid financial footing are at risk for money mayhem; after all, it is one of the top three reasons couples divorce. The other two? Sex and in-laws.

Consumer debt has reached an all-time high. Many couples today are credit rich and cash poor. They feel compelled to do as well as their parents did without as much time in the trenches. Our driven society is fast-paced, from quick tips to quick loans, and we want it all now!

A colleague disclosed how his buddy learned to cleverly store his golf clubs in the car trunk. What his wife doesn’t know is that, one by one, each club has been replaced with a brand new shiny number. Lucky for him, most golf clubs look alike when covered by a sock!

Ladies, are there any clothes or shoes hiding in your trunk or closet? Perhaps someday that new item will suddenly appear and you’ll respond to your husband’s questioning with, “Oh, I’ve had this for a long time!” (I suppose there’s some truth to that depending on how long you’ve been stashing those new shoes!)

Retail-therapy is alive and well. When you’ve had a bad day, where do you go? Shopping! Many people share the view that shopping is a sane way to cure whatever ails you. It certainly looks innocent enough, right? It’s not illegal or immoral. But, there is a price to pay. And the price of broken vows and promises is expensive. Unhappily married folks report they are four times more likely to withhold financial information from their partners than their happier married counterparts. Financial friction occurs not because of the amount of money couples spend but because of the unspoken expectations they have and are afraid to discuss about money. More often than not, both parties have noble money-management goals, just different perspectives.

When big spender marries cheapskate, they can live happily ever after if they apply a few rules to spousal spending. Finger pointing won’t help your finances. Seeing yourself as a separate and responsible business partner will. It’s not the accounts that will save you, it’s your accountability. But, for many, it will be yours, mine, and ours! Nothing wrong with a little money to call your own and spend as you wish, as long as you don’t take the money and run.

What do you think? Why is it common to hide money from a spouse?

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Dr. Liz Hale

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