Money is perhaps the biggest and most constant source of stress that most of us will face. It is no surprise, then, that money issues also a major source of tension in marriages and a frequent reason for divorce.

This problem has been studied by everyone from sociologists to marriage counselors to financial professionals. A recent article in Business Insider combined observations from a number of these observers and identified about a dozen financial behaviors or scenarios that put serious strain on a relationship.

Stressors involving primarily the behaviors of one spouse include:

  • Financial infidelity (being dishonest or secretive about spending)
  • Making major impulse purchases, especially without conferring with the other spouse
  • Refusing to compromise on spending habits
  • Accruing significant credit card debt

There are also problems that arise when couples simply don’t see eye-to-eye about money and they haven’t taken the time to address or resolve the disparities. Stressors include:

  • Having very different attitudes about how money should be spent
  • Having very different saving/spending priorities and plans for the future
  • Not having serious, honest and productive conversations about money

Finally, there are times when couples either experience financial emergencies or simply spend unwisely together. These scenarios can also cause a lot of stress, including:

  • Spending too much money on their wedding (to the detriment of future plans)
  • Living beyond their means
  • Experiencing significant unexpected expenses and not agreeing on how to address them

Financial compatibility is something that few of us consider when getting married, but it turns out to be very important. This isn’t to say that couples can’t become financially compatible, but it takes work and careful personal awareness.

Interestingly, a prenuptial agreement can be a tool that actually strengthens marriage and prevents divorce because it requires a couple to have honest, difficult discussions about money before getting married. In doing so, each spouse may rethink his or her own financial priorities.

If you’d like to know more about prenuptial agreements and how they work, please contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.