The Frugal vs. Spender Mindset in Your Marriage


Q: My husband is a dreamer and I'm a realist. We don't have a lot of money. It's really hard now because whenever he wants to do something fun, I'm the one holding back because of the money. It's affecting our marriage because we don't get to go on dates and things like that. I'm the one who's sitting here counting pennies and he wants to go splurge on a nice dinner or something.

A: This is a very common problem. Before you were married, it felt good to have your date spend money on you; it's altogether different once you're married and you're trying to live within a budget and set financial goals. Which suggests that if you're one of those frugal people and your spouse says, "OK, let's go out and do something fun,” you should confess that it creates insecurity and it's scary for you. Confess that when you hear about spending money while you're counting every penny, you fear that you're going to spiral downward with your finances. At this point, your spouse needs to be willing to exercise caution with those decisions so that you can feel secure. At the same time, however, you need to think about your marriage. Figure out a way that you can set aside a few dollars a week to do something fun. Maybe you can't go out for an expensive dinner, but can the two of you head to a fast-food restaurant or get dessert somewhere? How about going to a movie during matinee hours? Do whatever it takes. Your spouse needs that fun time and wants to spend it with you. Count yourself blessed! And then look for creative ways to make it happen.

Our book 40 Unforgettable Dates with Your Mate gives ideas about ways to connect with your spouse on a date and gives practical steps for arranging the date. Each date has an expense range, from very expensive to free! Each date is designed for husbands to meet wives’ love needs and for wives to meet husbands’ love needs. You can tailor the date to match your spouse’s particular preferences. The questions at the end of each chapter provide you with discussion prompts to use while on the date. The communication can be a very practical and inexpensive way for you and your spouse to connect.

This post is an excerpt from our book, The Great Marriage Q&A Book.