We had our second marriage workshop tagged “Couple’s Clinic” a few days ago and it was fantastic. One of the issues discussed that raised a lot of questions bothers on finances. We tried to look at the most common issues in marriage that bring about disagreements between couples and I am sure you will be surprised if money didn’t feature on that list. And the issue of couples having a joint account came up. In order to have more people benefit from this discussion, I have decided to write a post on it.
There are no clear instructions on this when we search the Bible, but we can apply godly wisdom in dealing with this kind of issue. The first thing that I will advise couples already married and those intending to marry is that whatever you can’t finish or better still whatever you can’t sustain in your marriage it is better you do not start it. And I say this with money as a focus.
There is absolutely nothing wrong in couples having a joint bank account, but when it gives the devil an avenue to attack your marriage then it’s important that you avoid it. Having a joint account or not does not in any way affect the issue of trust in marriage. If as a wife you don’t trust your husband, sharing a joint bank account with him will still not make you trust him. And likewise, for the husband, having a joint bank account will not in any way result in trust in the marriage.
Quite a lot of couples share the same bank accounts and they are good for it and a handful of couples share the same bank account and they feel choked by it. The truth of the matter is that masculine material priority differs totally from a feminine material priority. A wife may want to buy a skirt or a wig, or a hair extension and as far as the husband is concerned those a trash. And in the same vain a husband might want to buy an expensive wrist band and the wife sees it as absorb and a waste. And there the trouble begins. What men need money for are most of the time totally different from what women need money for. But that is not to say that I condemn having a joint bank account, but if it has to be done, then it should be done with a level of wisdom such that it doesn’t give room for any marital crisis in the future.
It is a nice thing if both couples have separate means of income. If for any reason there is the desire to save between couples, they can decide to have a joint account whereby they both maintain a certain level of contribution periodically for the family. And if both couples are working and doing this, then it’s very okay.
But in a scenario whereby both the wife and husband are working and earning a salary and have decided that they put all of their salaries in one joint bank account, I fear that might be a time bomb waiting to explode. This has absolutely nothing to do with trust but the fact that the wife who might most likely feel choked from this arrangement after a while, will need to always seek her husband’s approval for every spend in her life even though she is working and earning income. And the same goes for the husband. Invariably, one of the parties will start to hold back some of his/her income to meet personal needs and this will, in turn, break down trust and openness in the marriage.
A typical example of this was shared at the just concluded marriage gist and what I advised such a wife to do is to begin to look for what she can do that will fetch for her a second source of income whereby she get money to do what she wants to do without having to feel choked seeking husband’s approval to meet her needs.
Another possible way was for her to speak with her husband and gently and lovingly explain to her husband that the arrangement is not working well for her and as such she will need to be allowed to retain a fraction of her income in her personal account to cater for her personal needs.
Not having a joint bank account does not in any way reduce or improve the level of trust and openness in marriage. I don’t share the same bank account with my husband, but if I need to save money such that I won’t have any reason to touch it, I give it to my husband for safe keeping and he returns my money to me when I demand it. But not that I condemn the act of couples having a joint bank account in any way. I will say this to couples, never rush into any decision making out of momentary emotion that you feel, it is important that you consider the long-term effect of your decisions. Any decision or agreement that has the potential of dividing you or causing disaffection between you two in the long-run, then it’s important you don’t enter into such agreement.Love and trust in marriage are not subject to a joint bank account.