Marriage and Financial Woes

Long term debts can wear down even the most resilient couples.

by Louis H. Primavera, Ph.D.

Dr. Lou Primavera

In today’s economic environment, a lot of couples can face difficulties making ends meet. While that’s particularly true for younger people, whose incomes are at starting levels and who are often saddled with heavy mortgages and student loans, even those of retirement age can feel the pinch.

We all know that money plays a vital role in the quality of living. Those who have it are generally happier, have better health, greater longevity, and enhanced status. In relationships, money can be used to show affection and support, and may provide a reason to marry or stay that way. When couples feel good about their finances, they feel good about themselves and their marriage. While it does not guarantee happiness, not having money, or more precisely enough money, can strain a relationship to its breaking point.

When we talk about financial problems, we mean a prolonged money shortfall and heavy debt. The problem with long term debt is that it lingers. We often face stressful events that are difficult and can cause emotional turmoil, but they’re usually short-lived. When the source of stress is gone, the relationship often returns to normal. But when we constantly feel the pressure to make payments, stress is always there, and stress leads to conflict.

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