How to Avoid Money Mistakes in Your Marriage

By Bill Arbuckle
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Close up of a woman's hands counting a stack of one dollar bills
Once you identify these money mistakes in your marriage, you can take steps to get your finances — and your marriage — on track.

It’s one of the top causes of conflict in marriage: money. And many couples make the same money mistakes over and over. If couples don’t make an intentional decision to stop making these mistakes, they could eventually wind up talking to a divorce lawyer. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, once you identify these money mistakes in your marriage, you can take steps to get your finances — and your marriage — on track.

Mistake No. 1: Thinking it’s only about the money

When it comes down to it, the green stuff isn’t really causing the problem. Money is just a magnifying glass that supersizes the issues couples bring into a marriage. Issues like control. Fear. Insecurity. The feeling that someone is taking advantage of you. Maybe you’re dealing with these issues in your marriage, but chances are your spouse doesn’t know you’re struggling with fear or insecurity. So, sit down, have a safe conversation (with no dollar signs attached) and share your story with your spouse. Your spouse needs to know what you’re thinking and feeling to make good decisions about the family budget.

Mistake No. 2: Playing on separate teams

Sure, money decisions are tough. And money mistakes make marriage difficult. But fighting about money never solves the issue. It’s possible to have separate views about money and still agree on the best path forward for your family. One spouse may be a spender while the other is a saver, but rather than see each other as adversaries, think of your spouse’s money style as complementary. A saver looks to the future and puts money aside. A spender sees the need and looks for ways to solve it.

Mistake No. 3: Winging it

The best way to deal with money is to have a plan. Some families use a simple budget while others turn to organizations like Crown Financial or use budget planning tools and resources like Mvelopes, Money Life Coaching and Financial Peace University to minimize their spending and maximize their savings and retirement. Having a plan means sitting down with your spouse, discussing where you want to go financially, picking a tool that works for both of you and then sticking with it. While the conversation may not be easy, it’s worth the time and trouble to avoid common money mistakes by talking about the future of your finances.

How to find help

Because money mistakes cause so many conflicts in a marriage, it’s always best to pray with your spouse about your finances. If you and your spouse struggle over money, you don’t need to feel ashamed about turning to your church or a financial advisor who can help you find common ground and develop a plan that works for you both.

Want to learn more?

Check out our money management suggestions at Focus on the Family.

© 2020 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. Originally published on

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