Islam advocates marriage as a sacred covenant, a partnership built on trust, compassion, and fidelity. A married life can be defined as a blissful one as long as couples strengthen these foundations. Unfortunately, not all couples find it straightforward to maintain a harmonious bond.
When challenges such as financial infidelity strikes in, partners feel that they are on the verge of divorce. Still, it is possible to overcome the situation by learning how to save marriage after financial infidelity.
Let’s dive in.
What is Financial Infidelity?
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Financial infidelity refers to the variety of deceptive actions regarding finances. For instance, a spouse secretly spending on items or creating bank accounts without the knowledge of their significant other is said to commit financial infidelity. The practice can just as be unacceptable as having a secret affair outside marriage.
Islam strictly frowns upon financial infidelity as it breaks trust and leaves one partner feeling betrayed. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“He who cheats is not one of us. Deceitfulness and fraud are things that lead one to Hell.”
When two people engage in marital relationship, they are required to be transparent regarding financial matters. They should make a plan about their savings and investment and follow it accordingly. If a person is in debt, they should discuss it with their partner before marriage so that there are no unexpected spendings later on.
Examples of Financial Infidelity
The actions involving financial infidelity can come as trivial or significant. Regardless of the extent, it is still a transgression Muslims should avoid committing. Below are the examples of such actions:
- Purchasing expensive items or services without the knowledge of a partner
- Using a partner’s name to borrow money
- Lying about an item’s price tag
- Using money from a joint account to pay debts
- Owning secret credit cards or bank accounts
- Making less contribution than the agreed-upon share to a joint account
- Stashing away large sums of money without letting a partner know
- Taking money from a partner by lying about its purpose
Causes of Financial Infidelity
The key reason behind financial infidelity is a lack of communication about money. Couples might not feel the need to talk about money management either because it makes them uncomfortable or it doesn’t concern them. But, little do they know that this dismissal can lead to detrimental effects on their relationship.
Another reason why a person engages in financial infidelity is they are unable to control their desire. In this situation, the person’s goal is to attain pleasure upon owning an item. This practice is known as impulsive buying, and it often stems from stress or sadness. So, if a partner is going through a hard time, they are likely to spend funds anyhow.
Moreover, fear can drive a partner to spend on items. Shops offering sales means items are likely to be sold out quickly. If your partner wants to be one of the lucky customers and fears of missing their desired product, they will be inclined to use the money available.
In other cases, an argument can cause a partner to seek revenge by spending money. This kind of behavior can cause serious trouble in your marital life.
How to Overcome Financial Infidelity?
When a partner engages in financial infidelity, the other partner might feel it is impossible to overcome the situation. As long as you know how to save your marriage after financial infidelity, things will get back to normal. Below are the steps to recovery.
1. Communicate Openly
First and foremost is open communication. There is no better solution to getting back together without having a conversation. Sit with your partner and ask them about the reason for spending money. Don’t forget to ask what made them hide their action from you. You should also let them know how you felt as a result.
Make sure to be respectful towards your partner and listen to what they have to say. Stay calm as you speak and avoid making judgements.
2. Explore Each Other’s Needs
Every human being has a range of needs, such as having a sense of belonging and financial freedom. These needs should be taken into account even after marriage. For example, if your spouse wants to gain financial freedom, it is ideal to let them have a separate bank account or a budget for their personal expenditure.
As long as both of you understand and respect each other’s needs, it will be easier to overcome the situation.
3. Discuss Your Values Regarding Finances
A person’s values and beliefs regarding finances differ from one to another. Some might see money as a means to make ends meet while others simply see it as a social status. These values often stem from what they have been taught by their family.
For instance, your partner wants to use money to purchase the latest luxury handbag while you strive to pay the rent and bills. Failure to understand each other’s values about finances can cast a shadow on your relationship. Therefore, it is a good idea to discuss both of your views regarding money.
4. Talk About Money Goals
In a successful marriage, couples learn about their goals and help each other to attain them. In other words, they encourage each other’s growth. Since money is involved in the process, a certain amount should be set aside to reach each partner’s goals.
If your spouse wants to choose a different career path, and so wants to take courses, you should encourage them. Doing so will make them feel valued and motivated to reach their goal. To rejuvenate your relationship, it is crucial that both of you discuss your goals and set a budget.
5. Set a Budget
To avoid debt, it is necessary that you spend less than what you earn. It is possible to do so if you set a budget for bills, groceries, and personal needs. These vital aspects should be covered first before you plan to spend on other items or book a vacation.
Your spouse might not know about how you want to allocate money for different purposes. Therefore, it is a good idea that you have a discussion with them and define a budget.
6. Make Joint Account Rules
Many couples tend to create a joint account to be used for anything shared. It can be for the household, children, or small business. If you have a joint account with your spouse, make sure to let them know that they don’t spend the funds on anything other than the stated purpose. For personal expenditures, create a separate account for each of you.
7. Establish Shared Responsibility
Another way you can save your marriage after infidelity is by sharing responsibilities. Teamwork among spouses not only results in fast achievement of goals but also fosters a healthy relationship.
Regarding financial matters, you and your spouse can work as a team. Let one of you handle the finances while the other audit them. That way you can know whether the effort leads to improvement of the situation. The offending partner might be aware of their spending from then.
You can set up monthly meetings with your partner to review the budget and know where money is being spent.
8. Know Your Boundaries
Just because you are a married couple doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have boundaries. If you had shared your online bank account password with your spouse prior to them committing infidelity, it is time to restrict access. Your decision should be respected as every individual has their own rights.
Talk about what feels appropriate for you and your partner so that they don’t repeat the mistake.
9. Seek Help
If you are unsure of how to manage finances, you should seek help from a financial advisor. Their role is to provide strategic advice with the aim of achieving financial goals.
Additionally, you and your spouse can take online courses on financial management. This life skill is never taught in schools, which can be one of the reasons why a person commits financial infidelity. Having sound knowledge regarding this subject will help you manage your finances better.
What Are the Effects of Financial Infidelity?
Like other types of infidelity, financial infidelity can have a negative impact on your relationship with your spouse. It can make a partner lose trust in the offending spouse. The issue needs to be handled carefully if you want to save your marriage. Below is a list of the possible outcomes of financial infidelity.
- Loss of trust
- Frequent conflicts
- Falling into debts
- Feeling betrayed, unloved, and not understood
- Being always concerned about the offending partner
- Suspecting the offending partner for other forms of infidelity
- Removal from a joint account
- Separation or divorce
1. Can My Marriage Survive Financial Infidelity?
It is possible to save marriage as long as both partners are willing to work towards it. The process can take some time as the relationship needs to be rebuilt and trust to be regained. It is important to stay calm and have patience as recovery takes place.
2. Can Financial Infidelity be Forgiven?
According to Islam, committing financial infidelity is considered a crime. Allah will forgive the offending person if they sincerely repent their actions. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
“If a person repents sincerely, his previous bad deeds will be erased and the reward for his good deeds will be restored for him.”
If you don’t want a divorce or separation, you must forgive your spouse. Although it may not be easy, your goal will be to move forward together.
3. Is Financial Infidelity a Reason to Divorce?
It is possible to state financial infidelity as a reason for divorce. This happens when both parties are unable to have open communication and make an effort to rebuild their relationship. Although divorce is permitted in Islam, it should be treated as the last resort.
4. Is Financial Infidelity Serious?
Financial infidelity is synonymous with cheating. Committing the crime just for once can easily wreak havoc in a marital relationship. There is a loss of trust, a feeling of betrayal along with other effects. It is a serious issue that can result in divorce if spouses fail to tackle the matter.
There’s nothing that can be as hurtful as losing trust in your beloved spouse. It was because of trust that your relationship was established. If you are in such a situation, your best bet is to try saving your marriage. Divorce should be considered only when there is no way to rebuild the relationship.
Therefore, you can reduce the chances of divorce by learning how to save your marriage after financial infidelity.