How Does Financial Stress Affect a Marriage?


Stress over finances can devastate a marriage. The affects of financial distress can include blame, panic and lack of intimacy. In some cases, unresolved financial issues can lead to divorce. It is important for a couple to work together to resolve issues that bring about financial stress. Marriage takes two partners to work. Both people must be dedicated to being open and honest while dealing with financial issues and their affects on a relationship.

The Blame Game

  • Financial stress can bring out the worst in a person. When a couple experiences financial stress, due to a job loss or living beyond their means, it can cause each partner to blame the other. Perhaps a wife blames the husband's love of golf and the costs associated. Maybe the husband feels the wife goes on too many shopping sprees. Partners may blame one another instead of taking responsibility for personal financial choices. Come together and create a financial plan that eliminates unnecessary spending for both partners. Explore options like having separate personal accounts and one household account for household bills.

Panic Attack

  • Money problems in a marriage can create panic. Couples may worry how to pay the mortgage, utilities or car payments. Financial worries can tear a couple apart or bring the couple together as a team to solve the problem. Instead of giving in to the panic and worry, create a plan of action. Couples in financial crisis should make use of financial planners, advises licensed marriage and family therapist Mary Jo Pedersen in "How the Financial Downturn Affects Marriage." Couples can turn to financial institutions for money advice as well as reputable online financial counselors.

Lack of Intimacy

  • Financial woes affect the level of intimacy in marriage. Perhaps a wife feels her husband is not providing for the family as well as he could. Maybe the husband feels the wife should have a strict budget. Lack of intimacy can lead to frustration and feelings of separation between partners. A couple should share fears and feelings with one another. Sharing emotions and resolving issues together will increase your level of intimacy. A lack of intimacy coupled with fear and anxiety from financial stress is a sure recipe for disaster in marriage. Use this crisis to come together, not move further apart.


  • Financial problems often lead couples to divorce. Couples lose sight of the relationship that existed before the financial issues. People become consumed with worry and fear which destroys the relationship if left unresolved. Identify two or three pressing financial issues and create a plan of action to address those particular problems, advises clinical psychologist Seth Meyers in his Psychology Today article "How Financial Problems and Stress Cause Divorce." By creating and implementing a plan, the couple comes together as a team to work on financial issues.

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