Separate Finances and On Their Way To Divorce

Tammy says her husband wants a separate checking account. How does Dave feel about those in a marriage? Dave thinks it's a disaster waiting to happen.

QUESTION: Tammy on Twitter says her husband wants a separate checking account. How does Dave feel about those in a marriage? Dave thinks it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

ANSWER: I think it’s a disaster. A lot of couples have separate checking accounts, and it is the core breakdown in communication and the core breakdown in their communication about money, too. Money flows to what’s important to you—saving, paying bills, investing, buying things, giving gifts. How you handle money reflects your value system. Jesus said, “Your treasure is where your heart is.” When you don’t have combined money in a marriage, it says very plainly you don’t have a combined marriage. You are lacking in unity. You are lacking in communication. You are lacking in cooperation that is gained when you force yourself to do that because you have to or you’re going to bounce a check.

When we do a budget and handle our money together in one checking account and live our lives unified, we are sharing our dreams. We are sharing our fears. We are becoming more and more unified. It’ll add a level of unity to your marriage like nothing else will do. Marriage counselors often use the budget and the single checking account as a marriage healing tool.

When someone wants to separate their money, there are several possible reasons. There are two that come to mind. One is that you’ve been misbehaving, and they’re tired of dragging you along, so you need to quit acting like a financial boat anchor and be a grownup, work together, and stop being irresponsible. That’s the first step toward divorce if that’s the case. The separation of finances is the first step to the separation of the marriage. The second reason that I most often see people want to separate their finances is an unhealthy level of independence. The very nature of a quality marriage is that you are interdependent. You’re not a good husband when you want to be independent of your wife. You’re not a good wife when you want to be independent of your husband. It’s the very nature of marriage. These theoretical things where you operate your marriage like it’s a joint venture—what a wimpified way to run your marriage! What a horrible way to run your marriage! You’re not living your lives interwoven with each other.