Stop the Money Madness

Through the years, you'll clash over cash—whether you have a lot or a little.

It has been called "the last taboo." No matter how open we've become about other areas of our lives, money continues to be treated with an evasiveness that would do our Victorian ancestors proud.

Actually, you may not want to discuss personal finances at your next dinner party. But it's essential that you and your spouse learn healthy ways to talk about money. And while the size of your bank account is significant, it's the meaning you assign to money that makes the biggest impact on your marriage—for good or for ill.

Early Years

From Me to We

While running errands after work, Jill noticed a great sale on bath furnishings. She picked out a colorful shower curtain with coordinating towels and accessories. She couldn't wait to show Greg! He wouldn't believe it.

Jill was right. He didn't believe it. How could she spend all that money when they already had a perfectly good shower curtain and several sets of towels they received as wedding gifts just six months earlier?

Within minutes, they were in the middle of another heated argument over finances, each trying to make the other "see reason." It wasn't their first money conflict. Jill objected to what Greg spent on golf outings. He objected to her buying a new dress for an office party. And on and on.

Family therapist Chloe Madanes, of Washington, D.C., says marriage may be the first relationship we encounter that is based on collaboration rather than on competing individual preferences.

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May 25

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