How do couples deal with diverse perceptions about finance in marriage ?


Q: It’s normal for married couples to have different opinions on money management, but if one of them works so hard to make the family’s income and the other spends so careless, there can be a conflict there. What is your best advice to couples those who have a big spender partner? Let’s say a husband has just found out that his jobless wife has taken out a huge loan or acquired high credit card balances, or has been hiding bills and shopping around unwisely. How can this situation be best handled? What can the husband do to reach a compromise? Is it a good idea to defy the wife right away?

A marriage is built on the foundations of respect and affection for each other and the relationship’s welfare. Therefore, the objective is to communicate this in a manner such that both parties embrace a sense of promise, thoughtful and discipline in achieving this fundamental objective-

  • Have an open dialogue on how one person’s over spending affects the overall goals for the future.
  • Converse and come to an arrangement to set bounds and margins on what your family’s realistic spending for the month should be
  • Be open and transparent about liabilities, debts, loans with each other such that both of you feel equally responsible for clearing them with controlled spending
  • Set a clear budget for the month on the “requirements” and the “desirables” – set priorities

Q: Is it wise for couples to keep joint or separate bank accounts? If both couples are earning, for instance, is it good to keep a joint account for their paychecks and monthly bills? Should they agree on a monthly budget?

It truly depends on the couple and how watchful and responsible they are on spending and expenditures. This decision should primarily be driven by:

  • Sense of Responsibility to keep each other “in the loop” as far as their respective earnings, savings and balances are bothered.
  • A sense of obligation to keep each other well-versed when the accounts are accessed for withdrawals.
  • Respect and regard for each other’s incomes
  • A shared sense of commitment to meticulous spending
  • A shared sense of obligation to save for the future
  • A clear and open discussion between the couple on their salaries and their goals for the future

Q: Based on your relationship/ couple counselling experience, who is often the big spender in the marriage, is it the wife or husband? Why? Does family background or culture have something to do with this?

Expenditure is not necessarily gender based. However, upbringing and attitude towards money and spending in the past can impact their current style of expenditure.  To get to the bottom of this path and establish a controlled sense of spending, it is important to understand how an individual views money-

  • An object of preference?
  • An object of power?
  • An object that is a status symbol?
  • An object of authority?
  • An object that makes you “feel and look good”?
  • An object that is a source of comfort during times of sorrow and sadness?
  • An object that is valued and treasured?
  • An object that is a necessity for persistence?
  • An object that supports to secure your future?


Relationship /Couple Counselling Psychologist , OPENMINDS Center, DUBAI


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