When we think about infidelity, or unfaithfulness, our minds rush to a sexual affair. However, there are many forms of unfaithfulness.

“I couldn’t believe it when I found out about his hidden checking account,” Jennifer cried as she shared the specifics of her situation.

Having been married only one year, with this being her second marriage, she felt very hurt and betrayed when she discovered monies her husband, Gerald, had not shared with her.

“I didn’t really think it was any of her concern,” he said during their counseling session. “It was my money, and I know she has some of her own as well.”

“I’ve told you all about my money, Gerald,” she said abruptly. “Not telling me about this has really caused me to distrust you.”

“I don’t really see it that way,” he said defensively. “I didn’t think it was any of your business.”

“How could it not be my business?” she said, wincing at his words.

He remained defensive, citing many reasons and excuses for not sharing about his hidden bank account. The fact of the matter is that his actions created a huge rift in their relationship that they are now trying to repair.

Jennifer and Gerald’s situation is not unique. Whether it involves a hidden bank account or monies spent without your mate knowing about it, faithfulness and transparency in the area of money is just as important as faithfulness, honesty and transparency in other areas of your life.

Consider that fact that relationships are built upon trust, transparency and predictability. Money, like sex, is a fragile area, capable of evoking all kinds of emotions. Money tends to be a raw spot for most couples, necessitating even more caution and openness. Furthermore, when the trust and openness is eroded by deception and the lack of transparency, the foundation to a relationship is also jeopardized.

Consider these principles for healthy interaction regarding money:

First, understand that money issues mean emotional issues. Determining how to spend what you make, how to pay the bills, how much spending money do we each get, all can create emotional challenges. Know that money can bring out the worst in people. Handle the issue with care.

Second, agree to a policy of complete openness and honesty regarding money. This includes where the money is, how much is there and how it will be saved and spend. View money as another aspect of your relationship requiring complete integrity.

Third, be clear with each other about your attitudes about money. Allow for no surprises when it comes to money. Know each other’s position about spending and saving. Be specific, clear and open with each other about any aspect of finances.

Fourth, handle any deception as a violation of trust needing repairs. Just as sexual unfaithfulness requires healing, so too does financial infidelity. Treat this aspect of your relationship seriously. If there are any patterns of deception, consider professional assistance to iron things out.

Finally, agree to a plan of integrity going forward, including accountability. Talk through issues such as how to best live out the policy of transparency and accountability. If there have been ongoing problems, consider a greater plan involving others who may be willing to hold you both accountable for change. Be willing to influence each other and collaborate on how this aspect of your relationship will be handled in the future.

In summary, understand that God also has some things to say about money. Scripture says, “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5). If you follow this principle you are likely to be in good shape. Money management, and a healthy attitude about it, will help you in your relationship.

We’re excited to offer a special eBook, A Love Life of Your Dreams free for you to download. Please visit our website to download this tremendous resource. While there share your feedback or send a confidential note to me, as well as receive your free eBook at drdavid@marriagerecoverycenter.com and read more about The Marriage Recovery Center on my website www.MarriageRecoveryCenter.com and YourRelationshipDoctor.com. You’ll find videos and podcasts on saving a sexual addiction, emotionally destructive marriages, codependency and affair-proofing your marriage. Please feel free to request a free, twenty-minute consultation.

Publication date: July 22, 2013