Should a Husband and Wife Have Separate Bank Accounts?
By Ashley Willis
Money is one the biggest issues that couples deal with in marriage. And, one major decision that spouses often ponder is whether or not they should keep separate bank accounts or share their funds in one account together. Below are some important things to consider when making this decision.
This first one will remind you of what marriage is all about…
1. Marriage is about joining together–not separating.
The heart of marriage is two people becoming one and melding all aspects of their lives together as much as possible. Finances are a big part of this. I have heard couples state that they are reluctant to join bank accounts because one spouse has a lot of debt coming into the marriage. I understand this apprehension, but when we enter into marriage, we shouldn’t hold anything back from our spouse or expect him/her to hold anything back from us. This includes good things and hard things, like debt. Instead, we must collectively approach all issues. Create a financial plan and work to remove the debt together. Neither spouse should feel like he or she has to handle financial matters alone. We must be partners in everything to have a strong, thriving marriage.
This next one will tell you the truth about how your financial decisions impact your spouse…
2. Financial decisions in marriage always affect BOTH spouses.
Whether you have a joint account or separate accounts, you both will be affected by the financial decisions of one another. Therefore, it’s important that both spouses always talk to one another about their spending and saving. When a couple decides to keep separate accounts, they often operate under the illusion that they will simply split up the bills and take care of their share on their own. But, what many couples fail to see is that this shuts down the open communication they should be having about their finances. And, this can cause a lot of confusion, frustration, and fighting. Sometimes, having a joint account can be helpful in keeping both spouses in the know of what in coming in and going out financially. Whatever kind of account you both decide to have, be sure to talk about your budget, savings, and spending with one another.
This last one has to do with how much you are willing to trust your spouse…
3. Secrets and lies ruin a marriage, so as spouses, we must do everything we can to stay honest and open with one another.
This is a big one. As someone who frequently meets with struggling married couples, secrets and lies are huge wrecking balls to a marriage. Therefore, we must do everything we can to protect ourselves from falling into the downhill spiral of keeping secrets from one another or lying to each other. Sadly, separate bank accounts is one way many couples fall into this trap. It all comes down to how much we trust one another. Any time our spouse doesn’t have complete access to part of our life, we open ourselves up to the temptation of keeping secrets.
So, even if you choose to have separate accounts for a specific reason, I encourage you to give your spouse the ability to access your account information. This doesn’t mean that he/she will be checking up on you all the time; it is just one way to show your spouse that you trust him/her and that you want to share everything about your life with him/her.
Friends, please sit down and talk about these three statements with your spouse. Don’t jump to conclusions or make accusations. Listen to one another and remember that you are committed to each and other and in this together. Don’t let pride or fear keep you from considering the possibility of having a joint account. Talk about your options and make a plan together. And, whatever you decide, keep being open and honest with one another about everything.
For more on how you and your spouse can cultivate a stronger marriage, be sure to check out our HIS and HERS devotionals 7 Days to a Stronger Marriage Husband Edition and 7 Days to a Stronger Marriage Wife Edition.