Some debt is avoidable. Buying a house, for example, is something most feel is worth the expense. It can also cement a relationship because it’s a demonstration of partnership and commitment. It’s avoidable debt that’s the problem — buying a house that’s beyond our means, or spending money in a one-sided manner (a husband buys a boat even though his wife hates boating). For the former, couples may have cutbacks that are too extreme; for the latter, one partner may resent having to give up something to pay a debt for something from which they receive no benefits. In fact, that kind of debt can tell a lot about their marriage. When one partner puts a couple into debt to meet his or her needs only, there’s some question as to that person’s commitment to their partner.
Regardless of how debt occurs, it makes arguments hard to avoid. There can be accusations, such as the husband doesn’t earn enough or the wife spends too much, or vice versa. Partners are likely to blame each other for their situation and scrutinize each other’s purchases. When there’s not enough money, some couples might come to feel that the costs of staying together outweigh the benefits.