When Money is the Monkey in the Middle of Your Marriage

We were standing in the aisle next to the ice cream freezer at Target when I realized how marrying your opposite can create matrimonial chaos.

I had a hankering for cookies and cream ice cream, but my man was balking at the price. He wanted to know why the size of the container had shrunk while the price had escalated. He huffed and puffed and refused to put the container in our grocery cart.

Seriously? It’s just ice cream. Who cares how much it costs? A girl needs her chocolate fix.

I went home hungry and confused that evening. This was the first of many epic battles over the way we would spend our hard earned dollar.

I grew up in a home where I was the spoiled only child of doting parents. If I asked for a toy, a sparkling new doll always appeared under the Christmas tree. My husband was raised in a family of four where mom stayed home and cut coupons to make ends meet. He wore hand-me-downs and rode a bike purchased at a garage sale.

Money was the monkey in the middle of my marriage. Thankfully, over the course of the last five years, we’ve learned to “play nice” and tame the taunting wild beast called the budget.

How We Got Money out of the Middle:

  • We created a budget that we both agreed upon that included a bit of cash for spending on whatever we wanted within reason.
  • We picked a rational, objective person to stand in the middle to help us compromise. I like to call our financial planner our money marriage counselor.
  • We committed to full disclosure before spending big. Any purchases over $100 must be pre-approved by both spouses.
  • We invested time and learned how to work together wisely. Taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace course at our church helped us develop a game plan to move forward financially as a couple.

Is money the monkey in the middle of your marriage? Sit down with your spouse this week and talk about taking proactive steps toward taming the budget.


A life-long educator and mentor, Lyli Dunbar serves as Associate Director of Curriculum and Chair of the Department of Liberal Arts at Trinity International University Florida. She married her Prince Charming in her 40’s and has a heart for encouraging singles in God’s waiting room and connecting with other couples through a weekly small group in her home. Lyli enjoys traveling with her husband, laughing with good friends, and reading a well-written novel in her free time. Connect with Lyli through her blog at 3dlessons4life.com or on Twitter.

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