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Marriage Help Articles

Money as Part of Marital Conflict

Conflict is a disagreement by actual opposition of needs, values and interests, often between two or more individuals resulting in stress and/or tensions. It exists in a wide range of social venues and marriage is not immune to it. All marriages suffer some degree of marital conflict sooner or later.  In some instances minor disagreements in modern life could stem from: “Who is taking the kids to school?” or “Why is your mother coming over for dinner for the third time this week?”  But in other cases these disagreements turn into deeper problems that lead to marital conflict.

A lot of the couple in the United States are finding it increasingly difficult to manage their finances. Money is considered a symbol of power and a way to control others. Marriage is forcing us to share life, combine money and decide on long-term savings plans in addition to the economics of our daily life. Frequently couples are not open to talking about money as it is considered to be a taboo issue. In many instances, newlywed couples are faced with the struggle of how to deal with their finances after being financially independent. A survey found that 64% of the couples put their money in joint accounts while 14% keep their accounts separate.

It is said that how you manage your money has a lot to do with the way your parents dealt with it and that there are differences in attitudes between men and women towards money. In this time of economic downfall, married couples cannot avoid discussing money and such differences need to be addressed in order to reach common ground. More and more families are incurring major credit card debts. Women and men hide money behind their spouses’ backs and keep purchases a secret.  This is a clear sign of problems in a marriage and actually one factor that causes them. Also many couples disagree that their spending habits cause marital conflicts. This is known as “financial incompatibility.”

So, what does all this tell us? For one, it is an indicator that there is a lack of communication and cooperation in the relationship and that couples might lack the knowledge of how to deal with financial disputes in marriage. Learning how to deal with money problems can make the marriage less stressful and perhaps create a better chance for the marriage to survive. In retrospect, marriage conflict also presents an opportunity to work through the issue or issues and achieve a stronger marriage.