Problems Caused by Lying About Finances in Marriage

Financial problems often become apparent in the early days of marriage when spouses are adjusting to sharing each other’s lives. In her book, Lies at the Altar, Dr. Robin L Smith states that couples may lie to each other about their income and spending habits.

Financial Lies That Spouses Tell each Other

Money is a highly emotive issue and often involves control and domination issues. The partner who earns more may feel that he or she is entitled to be in charge of the finances. Common lies concerning money and spending include the following:

  • Hiding a purchase to avoid arguments about the cost and necessity of it
  • Lying about the cost of a purchase to avoid an angry reaction from a partner
  • Putting aside money in a secret account or a hiding place
  • Bringing debt into marriage without informing a partner
  • Using money set aside for bills for something unnecessary such as impulse buys
  • Wasting money on alcohol, drugs or other addictions
  • Loaning money to friends or family without discussing it with or telling a spouse
  • Keeping an increase or bonus as a secret and using the money for personal enjoyment

Financial Lies in Marriages can Harm Relationships

Any kind of lie can damage a marriage and cause emotional pain. The spouse who has been lied to feels betrayed and trust is broken. These effects are amplified if they discover the truth by accident rather than through an admission of guilt and an apology.

Marriage partners lie about money for various reasons but most of these can be linked back to the fear of a partner’s reaction. Typically lies told are for the following reasons:

  • Selfishness – wanting personal spending money with no accountability
  • Avoidance – not wanting to endure endless arguments over small luxury purchases
  • Independence – wanting to retain individuality and some power over decision making
  • Fear – of going without or lowering living standards

How to Solve the Issues of Financial Lies in Marriage

Good financial management in marriage is essential to keep the household running smoothly. The best way to do this is confront problems as they arise and communicate openly about feelings and solutions. Talk to a spouse and find out what motivated the lies about their spending. It is essential that couples show respect to each other and aim at reaching an agreement that suits them both. Personal spending money is important but the amount needs to be agreed upon. It is also important to forgive past mistakes and not drag them up into future conversations.

Financial lies in marriage can cause a lot of strife and strong emotions such as anger, fear and hurt. If spouses can learn to communicate openly about spending and other money issues, they will learn to handle money better as well as respecting and understanding the other person’s needs and desires.