One of the biggest threats to your relationship is financial infidelity. You’ve probably heard of this: one or perhaps both people in a relationship commit an act of deceit like hiding or lying about purchases, bills, bank accounts, how much they earn or even how much debt they have.

Financial Infidelity Is Rampant

A recent survey from the National Endowment for Financial Education finds two in five people who combine finances with a partner admit to lying to their significant other about money.

People who are keeping things from their partner or spouse need to own up to their behaviors immediately. Only then can couples work together to improve their financial well-being.

Tips For Talking About Money

Having conversations about money can be awkward, but it doesn’t have to be something that causes tension, anxiety or confrontation.

Couples should talk often and openly about money. In doing so, you have a better chance to build a more stable relationship both emotionally and financially.

Start by understanding who you are financially, which you can do by taking the Life Values Quiz. This 20-question quiz helps people identify their values and understand how those values affect the financial decisions they make. It’s especially useful for couples, because it helps them identify how their money values are alike or different and spotlight the areas they need to work on together.

Set Joint Goals

Talk about what you and your partner each want financially out of life, and choose goals, big or small, that you want to achieve as a couple. Discuss what changes each of you can make in your money habits to help you reach those goals. Then write down a game plan that is realistic, that you are both comfortable with and that you are both willing to follow.

Compromise

You may think your way is the best way, but your partner has other ideas. As a couple you may decide to have a joint checking account for household bills while maintaining individual accounts for personal spending. There is no right or wrong answer here.

But agree that neither of you will make a large purchase, say anything over $100, without first discussing it with each other.

Make It A Date

Set time every month, “a money date,” when you will discuss how you are progressing towards your goals. Whether it’s during dessert after a nice meal or a walk around the neighborhood, make it a priority to keep each other updated.

Be Positive

Don’t hold past mistakes against your partner. If you are negative or angry when you talk about money, your partner will get defensive, and a productive conversation will be over before it gets started. Be encouraging and forgiving and offer to help.

Couples should talk often and openly about money. In doing so, you have a better chance to build a more stable relationship both emotionally and financially.