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How money wrecks marriages


-Relationship experts reveal coping strategies (2)

There’s no denying it, money is arguably the leading cause of divorce in the world.

Money issues – caused either by a lack of it or too much of it – are a big strain on the marriage relationship, even leading to divorce in some instances.

According to a Citibank survey, 57 percent of divorced couples cited money problems as the primary reason for the demise of their marriage.

In a 2012 study which looked at 4,500 couples, Sonya Britt, a Kansas State University researcher, noted that arguing about money is the top predictor of divorce. She added that couples who argued about money early in their relationships – regardless of their income, debt or net worth – were at a greater risk for divorce.

Also, in September 2011, researchers at the University of Missouri (USA) found that couples who receive government assistance are more likely to split. Some of the issues cited by various experts as potential problems that may arise bordering on money include: communication around money, power struggle over who controls the money, sabotage by spending money outside the budget by the one who feels that he/she has no power, lack of self-worth around having a low net worth and fear of not having enough.

ENCOMIUM Weekly sought the thoughts of marriage, relationship experts and life coach on the issue, and they gave some helpful insight…


‘The extent to which financial challenges cause strain depends on will power of the parties’

  • OLUWATOYOSI ALABI, relationship expert
Alabi Oluwatoyosi

Alabi Oluwatoyosi

(Total femininity redefined blog)

Would you say money is a major cause of marriage break up?

In my opinion, money isn’t the major cause of marriage break up. However, I believe it is a strong factor that can cause a major strain in marriages if not handled properly, especially when children are involved in the union. Money is very important in meeting individual needs, how much more the needs of two or more people with unavoidable bills to pay. The good thing is, many committed couples still choose to stick together during financial crises, however, this doesn’t change the fact that they may remain married but not totally happy.

I should also add, however, that not every couple who choose to stay together have found means of resolving their financial challenges and this has limited their tolerance level with one another which creates room for unhappiness, dissatisfaction and feelings of inadequacy.

To what extent can this be a problem?

There are no specific way to measure the challenges lack of money can cause in a marriage. This is because, for some, it may be a major issue which either or both parties may have given up trying to resolve, while for others, they may manage to put this challenge under control even if it has to be a constant struggle for them. So, I would say it is relative. The extent to which financial challenges cause strain is dependent on the will power of the parties involved. By this, I mean how much they are willing to tackle this challenge and overcome it.

Too much of it or a lack of it, which is a bigger problem?

Lack of money poses a big problem in marriage. When needs are not met in a household, there tends to be tension and pressures which may lead to crankiness, disagreements and sometimes strife (depending on the extent).

Also, the feeling of low self esteem may come to play for the man because by design, he is the provider, especially when his wife isn’t particularly the understanding type.

Not every woman knows how to massage her husband’s ego. If this happens, it won’t be long before the man begins to feel incapable to provide. It may even spur him to indulge in illegal means of making money so as to step up as a man and impress his wife. As for having too much money, the only challenge that may come as a result is not being prudent enough in spending or getting carried away or distracted by it. This can lead to mismanagement of funds. Investing well and saving appropriately is very important in sustaining the financial status of wealthy couples.

How can this problem be tackled?

In solving the problem that may result from the lack of money in marriage, couples need to consciously and deliberately be in unity.

However, to get to that point, there has to be a level of leadership from the man and supportive roles from the woman. It helps when they decide to work as a team.

The establishment and maintenance of unity will spur them to join forces with a firm resolve to make their financial struggle a thing of the past.

Constant communication and transparency also helps. All of these factors will give rise to the ability to plan, have a vision, set goals and carry out constructive action plans on how to gain financial freedom. While these processes are ongoing, patience with one another is very important, and I would love to emphasise that women should do all they can to wave off every temptation to disrespect their husbands particularly during this period because there is a likelihood that he may be over the edge and get a bit touchy. There is a very high possibility that the period of financial strain will be over one day, however, the feeling of disrespect may never leave the mind of the man for a lifetime.

Even after the issue of finances have been resolved, couples may find themselves tackling other issues that sprung up from this particular challenge which could have been easily averted. A woman should also find means to improvise and curb expenses to the barest minimum so as not to be in demand of money all the time. She also needs to cultivate the attitude of saving, no matter how little.

In as much as I don’t advise women to deliberately take up the position of providing for the family. I encourage moral support, recognition of business or job opportunities and seizing it while encouraging her husband to do same. The responsibilities of planning and taking steps to financial freedom doesn’t rest on the man alone, especially when it has come to the stage where the lack of money is beginning to threaten the marriage. Also, the place of hope cannot be over emphasised here.

With synergy, couples can eradicate the claws of financial stains from their lives, step into financial freedom and then sustain the wealth they have created.


‘We come from different homes/background, so we see things differently’

 -ADEYINKA AKINOLA, relationship counselor

Would you say money is a major cause of divorce?

Adeyinka Akinola

Adeyinka Akinola

The main problem with money is how it’s spent. We come from different homes/background, so we see things differently. In some homes the women don’t work/earn money and have a say in the man’s spending. While others the women work and are given financial duties. If the couple belong to different background like mentioned war is brewing. Many men don’t like their wives knowing how much they earn so that… but if certain ground rules and discussion took place during courtship it reduces d friction. I believe that if both share the same values and are working together on the same goal how much he earns won’t be a problem. That way they can plan the money for their own good. Just that sometimes we are all selfish by think of only ourselves. Marriage entails a lot of sacrifice from both parties. Main aim is to keep the other happy even if it means not having some things.

How do couples tackle this issue?

If a wife knows her husband’s dreams and what he wants to achieve, she should help him accomplish by being supportive. But also the man should look towards the womans own good. That way she won’t be unnecessarily demanding. If she understands the man should not take advantage of her.


‘Openness can also help couples’ – DAYO LADI-OMOTUNDE, Relationship and Family Counsellor

Dayo Omotunde

Dayo Omotunde

Do you agree that money is a major cause of marriage break-up?

Money is a vital aspect of marriage. Money helps for smooth running of family affairs in the areas of providing suitable accommodation, feeding, taking care of children and basically meeting needs and paying bills.

Money is definitely not a major source of marriage break up, however money matters  whether it is too much money, inadequate money or even its lack thereof. Financial management is key for any marriage to survive, else families will live from hand to mouth, barely subsisting or probably be immersed in huge debts.

To what extent can money be a problem?

Issues like stinginess or a lack of financial openness is another side of the divide to be explored, where one party earns X amount of money but never declares openly, instead always claiming there is no money. Such can put severe stress on a marriage, leading to an eventual break up. Really, there can only be too much money within a family when there are no financial goals or plans.

However, this situation can put stress and strains on spouses when their partners makes unwise financial expenditures like funding shopping sprees for self and other extended family members, possibly, concubines. On the other hand, a lack of money in a marriage can foster anger, resentment and eventually lead to constant arguments and rows which may lead to a break up.

Too much or a lack it, which is a bigger problem?

Of the two options, lack of money is a dreadful experience which can bring out the worst in people, often leading to terrible social vices like women going into prostitution and men into armed robbery in a bid to get some money.

How can couples tackle this problem?

Couples can tackle this by adequately preparing and planning for their future. Intending couples ought to have stable incomes and a projected flow of income while couples who are married ought to be financially sound by attending financial management master classes, where they can learn the basics of financial management like inculcating the culture of saving first, before expenditure and not go at it the other way round. Financial openness can also help couples plan better for their future through saving plans and towards successful execution of projects like building their own house, etc.

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