Forget politics and religion - these are emotionally-charged issues, but when it comes to relationships, money management is one of the biggest topics of couples' arguments. Money certainly would be a concern if there isn't enough of it to pay the bills, but even couples who are well-off can disagree when it comes to money management.
That's because many arguments about money aren't actually about money; they can be about a difference in perception, values and/or goals, a struggle for power within the relationship, or resistance to change.
Perception and values are formed as we age. They can change as we gain knowledge and experience or as our situations change. Remember when you were a child and a shiny quarter left beneath your pillow from the Tooth Fairy was an exciting event? Now, as an adult, you may not even stop to pick one up off the sidewalk.
Couples don't need to have the exact same perceptions and values, but they need to understand how each other views these important concepts. For example, one person may think his/her worth is based on the amount in his/her bank account, while another thinks it's more important to spend time with family than to build a solid stock investment portfolio. These two are likely to disagree about money management ... unless they understand each other's perceptions and values.
The key to avoiding the dreaded money debate is through communication. Begin by having an honest discussion with your spouse about your financial history, current spending habits and short- and long-term financial goals. If you disagree, don't escalate the discussion to an argument; simply find a way to calmly work out a compromise.
You and your spouse may never fully agree on monetary issues, but frequent communication will help keep disagreements to a minimum. Throughout your relationship, your financial plans will likely change, so re-analyze your money goals periodically. Be flexible and make adjustments as new situations arise.
Working out a financial plan takes effort and discipline. Talking about your views, setting goals, and continuing to communicate will help develop a lifetime of trust and stability.