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Money Fights in Marriage? They May be Healthy

The majority of married couples argue about money at one time or another during their marriage. Many studies have suggested that it is one of the most common reasons why couples divorce. However, not all money disagreements will lead to divorce and, in fact, can actually be healthy for a marriage by allowing the opportunity to “clear the air” if there is an issue that is brewing between the couple. The key in using these arguments in a healthy way is to figure out why the arguments are occurring and how to resolve them.

There are many reasons why couples fight about finances. Some of the most common include:


  • If one spouse earns more than the other spouse, there can be resentment that builds up on both sides, especially if the spouse who earns less is spending more than they earn. This issue can be magnified in couples where only one spouse is bringing in an income.

  • Each spouse approaches finances from a different prospective or has different goals than the other. For example, one spouse may be more cautious and only wants to put money in investments where there are guaranteed returns, whereas the other spouse is more willing to put funds into investments which yield higher returns but pose a higher risk of loss.

  • Their personalities are different and so their approach to what role finances play in life may be different too. One psychologist uses the example of a couple with limited funds where this reason could cause major problems between the two. One parent is the “fun” parent and the other is the “boring” parent. The fun parent wants the children to have the greatest childhood and buys them expensive toys, electronics, clothes and takes them on all kinds of fun outings and trips. The boring parent feels money should be spent to meet the children’s needs and that there needs to be limits on what extras, if any, the couple can afford.


Couples should realize and accept that it is okay to argue about money. In order to gain the benefits of those arguments, and not have them turn into deeper issues that erode the marriage, they should make it a point to “disagree agreeably” while arguing. The goal is to come up with a resolution to the argument, so it is important to respect the other spouse’s opinion, even if you do not agree with it. Couples should have a goal of how they want the issue to be resolved and be willing to meet each other in the middle.

There are marriages where the issues, whether about money or other matters, have so divided a couple, they decide ending the marriage is their only resolution. If you are considering divorce, contact an experienced Chicago family law attorney to find out what your legal options may be.

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