Are Money Battles Tearing Your Marriage Apart?

Marriage Power Struggles - Money

Money has the potential to unify or tear down a marriage.

In this video I talk about how our beliefs about money show up in marriage and 4 steps you can take to overcome this common conflict.

How do you feel when you think about talking to your husband about money?

Dread?  Frustration?  Peace? Confident?  Empowered?

Money can be a complicated topic in a marriage because every one of us comes into our relationship with a money story.


A money story is the ideas and beliefs we have about money.

These can be given to us by our parents, developed by our life experiences, or created entirely in our mind.  However they come to us, they can be very deeply rooted in our identity. Most of us have money stories that we’re not even aware of.

We all have beliefs about:

  • Where money comes from
  • What happens when we get it
  • When we can expect it
  • Why there’s never enough of it
  • What it takes to get a lot of it

Some people believe that money comes from hard work.  Others believe they manifest it. There are people believe that they have very little control over what happens to their money.  There are others who know they will always get money every week. Many feel frustrated that there’s never enough. And all of us have an idea of what it takes to get a lot of money.

If you don’t know your money story, the best way to find out is to pay attention to your thinking about other people’s money.  Do people with a lot of money inspire you? Do they make you feel envious or less than? Do you assign labels to people without money?

All of these help to uncover your complex relationship with money.  The way you treat your money is a big indicator of how your own money stories.  They’re there, whether you recognize them or not. The same it true for your husband.

The big question to ask yourself when it comes to your beliefs and ideas around money is “Are these beliefs serving me?”  Are these beliefs getting you closer to the life you desire?

Remember, beliefs are thoughts we accept as true.  We get to decide what to believe in our life. Including what we believe about money.  What matters is if the thoughts we have are moving us towards the direction we want to go.

How does this play out in marriage?

Our husband will have his own money story and his own beliefs about money.  Both partners bring these beliefs into the relationship. When you beliefs align and they serve your goals, then money can become a connecting point for you both.

Many of couples aren’t that lucky.  If you’re lucky, you will have some areas of alignment and some areas where you could improve.  If you are philosophically out of alignment, then money may be a major source of conflict in your relationship.

But this doesn’t mean that all is lost.

This is where having a relationship grounded in trust and respect can help you move through these differences as a team.  If you’re not there yet, start by developing a culture of trust in your marriage. It’s one of the bedrocks of a good relationship.

What’s behind the money power struggle?

Behind every money conflict is a battle for control.  Control is always about fear. When fear and control triumph over trust and compassion, that’s when the battle over money begins.  These battle can quickly evolve into me vs. you. Or even worse, my interests vs. the best interests for our family.

End the power struggle over money

Transitioning from adversaries to comrades is a process that takes time.  There are things you can start with right now that will speed up the process.  Here are a few steps you can do to get started:

  1. Work on the trust and respect in your marriage
  2. Become aware of your money stories and how they impact your finances
  3. Become aware of your husband’s money stories and how they impact your finances
  4. Look for the disconnects around money that are having a negative impact
  5. Take intentional, compassionate action to find the money compromises that allow you to work together as a team

Money is a major source of stress and conflict in many marriages.  Your doesn’t have to be one of them.

For  more insight on how money impact marriage, here’s an interesting poll on Money in Marriage from Money Magazine.

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