Which is more likely to cause your marriage to end in divorce – too much money, or not enough?
The perception of not enough money.
With, perhaps, the rare exception of a couple in which one of the spouse’s is totally disabled, there is almost never not enough money to sustain a marriage or family.
A married couple can almost always live more cheaply together than they could apart, so when a couple (and their children, if there are children) is dangerously poor and one of them accurately blames the other for their plight, it is because one of them is not pulling his/her weight.
When a couple’s/family’s income is sufficient to meet their needs, then if the marriage breaks up over “not enough money” it could be because 1) both spouses mismanage their money; 2) one of the two spouses mismanages the money; 3) one of the two spouses has an unrealistic view of how the money should be spent.
When a couple’s income is more than sufficient to meet their needs, then if the marriage breaks up over “not enough money” it is usually because at least one of the spouses has a problem that he/she/they believe(s) spending money will cure or numb. The divorce arises when either:
- the overspending leads to insolvency (this is when people start buying expensive vehicles and other items on credit, gamble, and otherwise live beyond their means in the hope
- that getting all the fancy stuff will ease the pain. It’s a very easy trap to fall into); or
- even though there is still plenty of money to meet their needs and them some, one or both spouses realize(s) that “there ain’t enough money in this world that could keep us together.” In other words, in such a situation the problem isn’t too much (or too little) money.
Precious few of us will ever have more money than we know what to do with. So know that if money is a concern in your marriage, you’re in good company.
If Uncle Eric may offer his brief statement of a remedy to most (not all, but most) marriages that struggle over money issues:
- you need to take “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish” seriously. You need to make your marriage more important than either of you alone (because it is). You need to consider every dollar of each of your earnings “ours” (legally it is—your spouse owns with you everything you earn and vice versa) and each of you needs to view spending the marital income wisely as a solemn duty to the other.
- You need to live within your means (for many couples setting and sticking to a budget is all the marriage therapy they needed).
- You need to make spending decisions on most things jointly (each of you must have a little money to spend as you choose, but major purchases need to be jointly made).
- You can’t have secrets from each other when it comes to income and spending money.
- You need to save a portion of your income for emergencies and for future needs and wants.
Do these things with a sincere heart (even when it’s tempting not to do them) and your marriage will not break up over money.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277