Friday, March 29, 2013

Is it Okay to Keep Financial Secrets in Marriage?

In the past, being married meant that your finances were joined together, too, and having separate checking accounts raised just as many eyebrows as sleeping in separate beds. Today, having individual accounts is the healthy norm. But that also makes it easier for spouses to be unaware of what goes on in the other person’s financial life.

A financial (money) secret is financial activity you don’t tell your spouse. Whether it is lying about the true price of a purchase or concealing extra cash, money secrets threaten marital relationships because they breach the trust between spouses. Some people believe that financial secrets can be as harmful as infidelity because of the secrecy and lies that may be involved.

Why do spouses keep financial secrets?

People keep money secrets when they know that their spouses will not agree with their financial decisions. Some people want some form of control over their finances without input from their spouses. Sometimes, it is a form of rebellion or passive-aggressiveness. Having a “secret stash” all their own is a way for them to retain a sense of individuality. Financial freedom and wanting to avoid conflict are powerful motivators for hiding financial activity.

It was clear that while money problems stress marriages, keeping financial secrets—especially ruinous ones—can lead to divorce.

If you are keeping a money secret from your spouse, ask yourself why you feel it is necessary. Is this habit helpful or hurtful to your relationship? Are you covering up an addiction or emotional problem that needs to be addressed? If your goal is to establish a marriage of trust and confidence, you should think about coming clean. Secrets from your spouse are deceptions. Deception erodes marital trust.

If you should discover a money secret your spouse is keeping from you, react with caution. Try not to jump to conclusions, and avoid emotional confrontations that will put him or her on the defense.
And remember that no matter how tough joint financial matters can get, working them out is part of your commitment to your marriage and the love of your life. It will earn rich dividends beyond those on a bank statement.

The question therefore is; Is it okay to keep financial secrets in Marriage?

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