The idea of sharing finances in marriage has been on my mind a lot recently. It’s possibly because I have had a few conversations with different couples the past month on how they run their finances. I found out that not every couple puts all of their earnings in one pot to pull from, and I found out how different this idea of combining money in marriage, can mean to everyone.
When I say “separate finances,” that includes: private bank accounts, separate credit cards, or dividing the bills. I don’t understand why couples do this. I understand that there is a transition that needs to be had in the financial department when you get married. It wasn’t easy for me to open up my financial situation to Trevor when we were engaged. To be honest, it kind of felt like my spending habits, and past financial situations were being judged. But after I realized what was really happening, that Trevor just wanted me to not feel on my own anymore, I felt much better about it. So I can see that it takes some getting used to, but it shouldn’t go unconsidered.
I just feel like not being willing to share finances, goes against some of the principles that a marriage stands for: selflessness and unity, being the main principles. Maybe some of you have a separated finance marriage, and it’s working great, and is not causing stress. That is great, please write me and tell me how you make it work! However, even if you do make that plan work, is there a chance that another plan could work better for your marriage? Whether you already have a set plan, or are considering other ideas, I would like to make a few points on why I think you should stay away from separating your finances.
Why I think couples should stay away from separating their family finances
I think that by being willing to provide for someone else, it is saying that you fully care about them, you love them, and you want to help improve the quality of their life. I immediately felt the quality of my life improve when Trevor and I first started to share our incomes. It was showing selflessness for each other. When we were engaged, we starting getting used to paying for each other’s living expenses, and sharing our belongings with each other. On a few occasions, I would say things like, “Can I take your car?” or “I don’t have cash, will you pay for this?” He would correct me and say, “No, Amy, it’s OUR car,” and “No, Amy, my cash is your cash, WE will pay for this.” I loved it. It brought us so much closer knowing he felt that way about OUR money.
One thing I don’t miss about being single, was that sole responsibility of all the living expenses. I felt like it was a constant worry, and a burden. Since Trevor and I became a team in sharing that responsibility, it has become less of a burden. I feel that if Trevor and I were to split those living expenses up, that burdening feeling of being on my own would come back. That’s a lack of unity, which I don’t think should ever be felt in a marriage.
I spoke with a couple who paid for nearly everything separately, and they fell into a rut when the wife had a child, and stopped earning an income to stay at home with their child. She was used to having her income to buy clothes, and other things she wanted, but when she had to rely on her husband’s income from that point on, she felt guilty about anything she purchased. Though her husband knew he was now the sole provider of their family, he felt a little possessive of his money being used, and she in return felt guilty, because of the plan they had gotten used to for so many years. The time period it took them to overcome this obstacle, showed a drop in unity within their marriage. Since Trevor and I have a “what is mine is yours” attitude already established, I don’t feel worried that I’ll feel like this when the time comes for me to be a stay-at-home mom.
To me, financial privacy is like a secret.
Secrets can come off as lies, and lies can cause contention. The fact of the matter is, that selfishness and a lack of unity in marriage, is opening the door for the adversary to attack. Think of all the problems that can stem from that! Lack of confidence and dependability, heartache and sadness, but ultimately distrust. Every couple I have talked to that has private finances, or who split the bills separately, have run into these unnecessary problems and anxieties that I have described. Don’t let something as greedy, materialistic, and temporal such as money, damage the eternal relationship with your spouse. Sharing is caring.
If you are interested in finding out some more beneficial tips to managing family finances, the “One For the Money” pamphlet produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is a great source we have referred to in our marriage.