I want to marry him — but can’t we keep our money separate?
Q: Do you think couples need to combine money to have a healthy marriage?
I’m getting married in two months and we are considering keeping everything totally separate. He makes a lot more than me and spends a lot more than me, and I just feel more comfortable not getting annoyed by his spending. Also, he has student loans and I do not.
A: There are no “shoulds” here, and even if there were, my guess is you’d want financial advice from someone who doesn’t routinely find forgotten cash in her coat pocket.
But here’s the deal from a psychological standpoint: a satisfying marriage means that you share your lives, your dreams, your plans and your setbacks. Many of these, like it or not, involve money.
So, while the ins and outs of who has what account number may vary (and indeed, some couples find relief in having certain money in individual accounts), it’s nonetheless going to be counterproductive to take the stand that everything is separate.
This isn’t just because of day-today tediousness, though that’s significant (do you go halfsies on orange juice? The unexpected new roof?). Rather, it’s because of the mentality of marriage. Individual debt and unwise spending hold both of you back, and individual triumphs are something for a couple to celebrate, together.
Why cut each other off from the joint experience?
Bonior, a clinical psychologist, writes a weekly relationships advice column in The Washington Post’s Express daily tabloid and is author of “The Friendship Fix.”
A satisfying marriage means that you share your lives.