Fifty years ago most mothers stayed home with their children while their husbands worked. And nearly all of them had only one bank account for the entire family.
Fast forward fifty years later, and nearly half of married couples that have joint accounts also have individual ones. What are some of the reasons why that has changed?
*Less couples are getting married
*Lack of trust in the relationship
*Fear of divorce
I am sure there are more reasons than the ones stated above, but you get the picture.
Even though the reasons may seem appealing or even reasonable for some couples to have individual accounts, the whole goal of marriage is unification.
Reasons to Have Joint Account
A couple cannot be one if they separate their lives by separating their finances…. No viable marriage can survive a “his or her” relationship for long, because it is totally contrary to God’s plan. (Crown Ministries)
For the past nearly 20 years I have had a joint account with my husband, even though I am not working we both consider it our money. There is no “I’ or “me” when it comes to the money situation.
The meaning of marriage is central here.
When a man and a woman come together within the bonds of matrimony, they become “one flesh” .(Genesis 2:24; Mark 10:6-8; Ephesians 5:31).
“Has not the Lord made them one?” says Malachi 2:15. “In flesh and spirit they are His.”
Becoming one flesh is more than just referring to sexual nature, it means to share in all things of life.
Housing, food, feelings, children, economics, possessions, and finances are a few examples. The ‘yours and mine’ mentality is not healthy to a marriage.
Crown Ministries gently warns, “Unwillingness to join all assets and bank accounts after marriage is perhaps a danger signal that unresolved trust issues could still be lingering or developing in the relationship.”
One credit union consultant agrees, citing “a growing distrust between men and women on money matters” as one of the reasons driving the increase in separate checking accounts in marriages. (Boundless.org)
With money problems being cited as the number one cause for divorce, wouldn’t it make sense for some to have separate bank accounts in marriage?
Not necessarily, because the ‘his money/her money’ quickly becomes ‘his vs her’ on many other issues within the marriage. Very often separate accounts grow into secret accounts.
In order for a marriage to survive, trust is one of the most important factors and having that joint account will help ensure trust. It also leads to accountability between the husband and wife.
Those with individual accounts have reasons why they want to keep their money separate from each other, usually lack of trust is the number one reason. Just having this mentality allows a seed of distrust to grow and take root in the marriage.
Marriage is a team effort on both parts. Satan wants to drive a wedge between husband and wife, and may use money to do so. It is important that we storm-proof our marriage from the enemy’s attacks.
With a joint account you are able to keep each other accountable with money. He can see what you spend and you can see what he spends. This is often seen has a control issue, when in reality it is simply trusting the other to see what you have spent and vice versa.
At one time in our marriage I was eating out every.single.day when I began teaching. Our finances were tight, there was no extra money to pay bills, let alone have me be eating out. Yet it did not stop me.
With our joint account my husband was able to see what I was spending and encouraged me to make better choices. And this also gave me accountability because I knew he could see what I was spending. It was a win-win situation.
It is normal to fight about money. It would be strange to not fight about money at some point in a marriage. Fighting is not necessarily a good thing, but at least it means that you are talking with each other.
Having a joint account promotes communication that is a lot healthier than fighting or having disagreements over how money should be spent.
Learning how to communicate about money will ensure a healthier atmosphere within the marriage. It will allow both husband and wife to talk about the budget, money problems, and major money concerns.
When there are separate accounts, how does a husband and wife discuss their financial future when you have separate goals?
Within a marriage that has trust, accountability, and communication it promotes cooperation between husband and wife. Both spouses are more likely to cooperate towards a goal such as retirement, saving up for a vacation, or paying off debt.
It is easier to work as as team towards goals, which is easier when a joint account is helping holding those goals together. Couples who tend to keep separate accounts are holding out in case of potential problems in the marriage, and this gives them an ‘out’ in case something were to happen.
How can you cooperate if you are not on the same page?
Unity + Goals
In marriage the goal of unity in all areas should be of utmost importance. You do more than just share a bed and living arrangements. It is hard to be united if you and your husband are not sharing in 100% of all areas.
A couple unified in their money will find it easier to achieve their financial goals such as getting out of debt. You will see that having common goals brings you closer together.
According to a creditcards.com report, approximately 7.2 million Americans (4.4 million men and 2.8 million women) have hidden a bank or credit card account that their live-in spouse or partner doesn’t know about.
Brian and I learned the hard way that money problems can be very damaging to a relationship. However, during all of this we remained together both in marriage and by having a joint account. We had many disagreements on the mismanagement of money.
We often failed to communicate to each other how important the other’s opinion truly was when it came to money goals.
When we lacked marriage money goals and proper communication skills, it was nearly impossible to cooperate together towards achieving them.
Yet the joint account remained there. It never changed. We never once discussed changing it to separate accounts.
Goal of Marriage
The goal of marriage should be oneness.
Oneness in the flesh. Oneness with each other. Oneness in creating children. Oneness in living out God’s design for marriage.
We shall strive to have no secrets from each other.
We shall serve one another.
We shall pray for one another.
We shall raise our children together.
And in the area of how we handle finances, there shall be oneness as well.
Training Keepers of the Home