I’m married for a second time and my new husband is insistent that we have separate bank accounts.
We both work and contribute to the household finances, so as far as I’m concerned, any money that goes into the account is “our money.” I don’t understand why there needs to be “his money” and “her money.” I actually don’t even know how much money he has in his account. He just divides up our monthly bills and we pay them separately. It seems so disjointed and weird. Should a couple have their finances combined?
Money is such a powerful force in relationships. It has so many emotional and relational implications. While there are no hard and fast rules about how couples should structure their finances, it’s important to have trust and unity around money. One of the best ways to create this trust and security is for each person to commit to full transparency around the family finances.
I’ve worked with couples who have very complex financial arrangements complete with multiple businesses, investments, and bank accounts. I’ve also worked with couples who only have one checking account. While knowing the specific details of every single transaction might be easier for the couple with one checking account, having access to the information about the finances in any setup creates tremendous security and trust.
When a partner knows they have the ability to see the numbers (even if they don’t care to), it creates emotional safety. On the other hand, anytime someone keeps something from us, it is human nature to become more suspicious and insecure. A good marriage is based on mutual respect, trust, and security.
The word “marriage” means that two things are joined together to create a new and unified whole. When marriage partners open up their finances to the view of each other, it creates unity. While the money doesn’t have to necessarily be united in the same account, joint access to the information creates the unity couples need to feel secure.
Your husband may have had bad experiences with trust and money in his previous relationship. People have strong and compelling reasons that drive how they manage their finances. Slow down the conversation and see if you can stay curious with him enough to find out why he feels so strongly about this arrangement. It may not be personally related to you.
Again, the goal isn’t to make your finances fit a certain template, but to have unity and security. Some couples never see what’s going on with each other’s finances, but they know they could if they wanted to. That’s the key. The security comes from knowing your partner is willing to be fully open and transparent with everything. When we hold back in our marriages, it disrupts the oneness that distinguishes marriage as an ordinary relationship between two people. Hopefully you can better understand your husband’s strong feelings about the finances and create the unity you seek in your new marriage.
Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.
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