Reader Question: Ways money can kill the spark in a relationship

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Help With My Relationship

Today I have a reader question revolving around money, love and marriage for all of you. I hope after reading today’s post that you, the fans can help Alicia with your opinion. I am only one person and I know that many of you might be in the same position as her or you have been there and can offer up some support. If you have a question you want to ask please email me. You can find all the info on my contact page.

Dear Mr. CBB

I know you run a personal finance blog which I have been following for over a year but since you are a guy I thought maybe I could ask you a question about our relationship problems that seem to be creating a part in our marriage. When we first were dating we talked about money and our finances so we both knew that we were on the same page.

He didn’t have any debt and neither did I since we were quite focused on our careers and staying out of debt. Although we didn’t budget we did talk about a budget after we were married and started to budget as a couple which was great up until recently. We have no kids and are still young but I seem like I’ve jumped ship and there’s no turning back.

We have been so focused on our financial numbers that we aren’t spending any money on “us” to do things together and keep the spark alive in our relationship. I know you don’t need money to have fun but I feel that he has forgotten about me. Sometimes I wonder if he realizes that I want him to be romantic and surprise me with flowers or a special date night that he created. I don’t feel I need to tell a man how to be romantic or that I desire it. It wouldn’t hurt if once in a while if he would tell me I’m beautiful too. It’s the little things that count as well and what I miss from when we first started dating.

I often get jealous when I hear my girlfriends say that their husbands have done something special for them or I hear they are going on day trips and just doing fun stuff together. My husband has become so boring that I don’t know what to do any more, life seems lonely. I want to live my life, have fun, enjoy what my surroundings have to offer even it that means simply going to the beach and watching the waves and taking photos to keep as memories of our time living in that moment. He doesn’t have many friends and that’s because he chooses to be that way so he never goes out with anyone. It’s work and home and that’s it although on the odd occasion he may have a beer with a friend.

I do my best to surprise him but I don’t really spend money because I don’t want him to say that we went over in the budget. A budget is great and has helped us but I also think it’s become so restricting that we are letting our relationship slide. I’ve talked about it with him in the past but he says he doesn’t want to go out for dinner and could care less about the movies as we can watch them for free from the library or cheaper at home streaming them on the television. I don’t argue with him but I believe his thinking is one-sided and that has led me to search out other ways to make me happy.

He does work hard, he’s a brilliant man who is meticulous in all he does and he has lots to do around the house. When you get married and the honeymoon phase is over and if you throw away the key sometimes you find it’s hard to get it back, if ever. I worry about our marriage but at the same time when the spark in a relationship is gone, can you get it back and how? Any tips?



Dear Alicia,

Well, I can’t say I didn’t expect to get an email about relationships since I do tend to talk about them on and off here at Canadian Budget Binder and they are popular posts. I’ve said it before and it’s true that most women simply don’t want money in a relationship they want balance, they want to be loved.

Alicia is not the only one who feels alone in her relationship because of the division of work and play and how money is factored in. Sometimes we let our lives get so entangled in our goals if ever leading to success while letting the people we love take the back seat. If there is no success you may find you’ve not only stumbled at work but also at home and lost it all. Although love is supposed to be about forever and not giving up sometimes it’s hard when you are left holding both hearts.

Marriage breakdown is not always about money, I agree but many times it is. In this case I believe the problem is money and communication between Alicia and her husband. I also believe that Alicia has shut her heart from loving any further because she doesn’t want to feel the pain she feels when she’s lonely. I can tell just by the way Alicia talks to me in her email that her life is blank in many ways yet happy in others.

Alicia wants and craves to be beautiful in the eyes of the one man that she married yet the feeling falls by the side. She knows she is beautiful, every woman is but woman want to hear it once in a while whispered in her ear with gentle kisses. Women want to know that they are the only person in the world that smiles just for a while when their husband tells them how lovely they are. There’s a reason why women love Bruno Mars and why his song “Just the way you are” topped the charts. Hands up ladies if Bruno melts your heart, I’m sure he does. We all crave someone who wants us like a magnetic force. We all want to be loved, that is a naked truth that we cannot hide.

Woman are from Venus and men are from Mars there is no changing the fact that we are on two different levels especially when it comes to emotions. Some men can be dumb as nails and they simply forget while other men are very romantic, they tell their significant other how beautiful they are every single day.

Problems in relationships sometimes fall deeper than what the surface reveals and that’s why it’s important that any couple communicate their feelings. If you stop talking, if you stop feeling, if you stop being one, you will stop loving each other. You may love someone but that doesn’t always mean you are IN LOVE with someone any more.

Sometimes the hurt is too much and that is why people stray because they want to fill that void in their lives and eventually the divorce papers are waiting on the table and the spouse might not have a hope in hell trying to figure it out. Sometimes we wait until it’s too late in a relationship to fix relationship problems and it’s hard to go back. Once the damage is done, the hurt sets in, the anger takes over and we just want to move on.

Healthy relationships

When a couple works on their relationship to keep it healthy it brings together two people who grow and learn more about each other as time goes on. Any relationship that wants to stay healthy takes work or eventually some couples just settle being with the person they are with, even if they are not happy. Is that fair… to you?

Alicia, I’m not saying that all problems in relationships mean the end is near or it has come. What I’m saying is that if you believe in your heart that you want this marriage to work, then push. I often motivate people to do the right thing but if you feel that you just want out because you don’t think that your love is in the right place you need to make those decisions on your own. Both you and your husband seem very focused on your finances although he may be focusing a bit too much on the finances which in turn is leaving you feeling left out, unappreciated and unloved. Speak. Speak Loud. Speak Clear. That’s all you can do.

There is no dating doctor here at CBB, I’m just a regular guy who loves to love and I know that with heartbreak sometimes it brings a joy that we have longed for, freedom. I read a quote once that said that it’s nice to fall in love when you are young but it’s even nicer to grow old with someone you love forever. I believe in true love, I believe in serendipity I believe that we all have a soul-mate out there, we just need to find him or her.

I also believe that two hearts will call out to each other when they love each other and nothing in this world, not even money will get in the way. Sometimes the simplicity of life is easier than dealing with having money in the bank. It’s a catch 22 for some but if you can balance out your finances and your love affair with love, life and your marriage the both of you might just be able to pick up and keep on walking down the path you promised when you said your vows.

I wish you all the luck Alicia and I know that you will do what your mind and what your heart tells you to do without unguarded decisions, after all you took the time to email me for help. I’ll leave you with a few tips below about the spark in a relationship and some common relationship problems and solutions.

All the best,


Relationship problems and solutions

Failure to communicate

When we are captured by the beauty and love for someone there is never a loss for words. We can talk for hours upon hours to learn as much as we can about someone. There is this heated desire to want to get to know someone and when you can talk to them you feel sad inside. You crave them. The problem is after some time when couples get together, move in together, get married, whatever the accommodation that sexual desire and communication may fade.

In fact for most people it does fade but it is crucial to try and keep the lines of communication open and the attraction desirable. If that means talking about how your day went, plans for the week, working out together etc than do it. When couples stop communicating they are giving up on growing old together. Don’t blame shift and certainly don’t turn a blind eye. We all need to keep motivated so find an outlet and surge to the highest peak for when you reach it your happiness will be the pinnacle of all mankind. We can only create our happiness if we are happy with who we are.

Not enough fun

How to keep happy in a relationship? Easy, make sure you make time to play. I’m not talking just in the bedroom either, I mean doing things together. Too much work and not enough play ends up sinking a relationship faster than you can say…. well missed love. We can love someone so much but we put them on the back burner when it comes to building that love most times for work or hobbies. Talk about what you really want money for and plan it so that you fit your relationship into the mix. Having money and no fun doesn’t make things right.

When we give 110% to something we are passionate about we have to remember that living passion is in our face and we can’t deny that we must give just as much to those that are standing before us with an open heart waiting for our touch. Don’t put all your energy into one basket and forget about your loved ones, seek to balance your life.  Take time to plan romantic dates, surprises even day trips to go shopping and pamper each other. Keep reminding each other why you fell in love in the first place.

No savings

When couples create debt together that they struggle to pay off most times it will create some sort of tension in the relationship. I believe it’s imperative to have an emergency savings just so you aren’t always so worried if something should go wrong. Knowing you have some Cash instead of using a credit card or line of credit is worth it’s weight in terms of peace of mind.

Too much debt

Having a  high debt ratio is taxing on the emotions of many couples who struggle to pay all the bills every month. They juggle bills, credit cards and try to make ends meet so they make it to the end of the month. This entire cycle of finances is tough to manage and simply draining for some people. They can give up hope, feel they are losing the battle but it’s imperative to never give up.

Work hard to kill your debt and work as a team to make sure it doesn’t happen again. A life without debt is a life worth working hard for. It may take you some time but when the goals are in place you then have the stepping-stones to work towards lowering your debt load and saving more for the future. This creates a sense of freedom for many although it may not be independence it’s a damn good start.

Focused on financial numbers

Just like Alicia’s husband who seems very consumed by their financial numbers these numbers can tear down the walls in a relationship. The walls are a sacred place in my eyes because they encompass all the love that a couple has built together and once the walls come down the love has been set free. Money isn’t everything. I don’t want to have to say it over and over but we need to realize that all the money in the world can’t buy love and happiness. Money is good for one thing and that is to pay our way through life so we don’t end up hungry and on the streets. The rest is all just luxury to many. Staying focused is good but losing focus of what is in front of you may cost you big time.

Keeping up with others

I want, I want, I want and those are the 2 words that may just cripple you financially and personally when it comes to money. Desiring what everyone else has and trying to make it a reality can burn bridges, burn you out and burn a hole in your wallet. No one is worth the heartache you may cause yourself, your family and/or your relationship so don’t put so much emphasis on “stuff” in your life. If you want something then save up the cash for it and pay for it in full so no looming debt is upon you, if possible.

Lack of romance

Finally, I leave you with love. I don’t go around and preach that I am a Love Doctor but what I do know is that whether you are male or female both sexes crave love. If you forget about the person you were once so madly in love with, eventually they will forget about you. Eventually someone else may find them attractive, someone else may want to know more about them, someone else will catch their heart and reel them in right before your eyes.

You just don’t know it yet. Don’t be a fool.

If you want your relationship to work you have to put work into it. Plan something special for the 2 of you once a month, surprise each other, hug each other, kiss each other, and tell each other how much you love each other every single day. A simple note filled with passion is free. Most of all, smile for each other for when you both smile it tells you that the other person is happy and in love.

I hope this reader question has you thinking about how some people can kill the spark in a relationship often times without knowing it. I also hope it gives you a broader look about how you are approaching your unity of love between each other with your significant other.

There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for finding the one, the hard part is keeping that one special person in your life and never letting go. If you want to grow old, grow along the way together and share special times even if it is sitting at the beach in each others arms watching the waves together for hours.

True Love will always find a way to bring two hearts together, forever.

What do you have to say to Alicia? Share your thought in the comment section below.


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  1. Money – especially too much of a focus on it – can definitely ruin a relationship. It’s good to recognize that it’s coming between you and your partner, though. That’s the first step. It’s a hard balance, definitely.

  2. Fantastic post. One thing I’ve learned is there is a big difference in being in love & being in love with the idea of being in love . Sometimes we have a picture in our mind what we think love is. Love is flying by the seat of your pants. Taking the good with the bad. Men & women will never think alike. You have to learn to give & take . Each day is a new day . Start it fresh. Don’t carry yesterdays problems with you. If you can’t forgive & forget soon your load will be to heavy to carry. A little advice women don’t attack your mate when they walk in the door tired from work . The last thing they want to hear is about the bills,about the kids fighting or I don’t feel like you love me anymore. Cause as tired as he is & hungry you aren’t getting your message across. Trust me !! He has zoned you out !! Let him get that shower & supper . Them when he kicks back take him a cold drink & snuggle up . Tell him how much you appreciate all he does got you . Now the mind is open you have his attention . Walk softly. Let him know what you want & don’t go into a long !!! Storey or you gona get that blank look. Stay short & to the point. We talk in a story mode. Men like to narrarate a srory. In other words get to the point don’t beat around the bush ! We have a tenacy to savatoge ourselves & blame them . Just telling the truth . LOL We ask them questions & them answer them ourselves. We go on & on & them get mad when we can’t get them to talk to us. Ladies first we have to hush & let them get a word in . Yes ! We are all guilty of this . We are wired this way. So reprogram. Ask then listen. He will answer & notice you more in a positive way. I didn’t learn this over night. Not even in time to save my first marraige . Looking back I saw the role I played. It takes two to make a marraige & two to break a marraige . You have to decide If you want to be half the problem or half the solution to your marraige ? Your choice.

    1. Donna… so true. There is a time, a place and a way to approach your spouse to get the desired results. Good point that we need to get out of our own way to let the desired behavior happen! 😀

  3. I would have to agree with some of the other ladies’ comments. I think men don’t always figure things out unless you tell them. I think women often assume that their husbands can read minds or should be able to, but sometimes you have to spell it out.

    1. Kim, funny isn’t it we happily tell the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker EXACTLY what we need and want. Hubby, the poor schmoe, has to guess! LOL

  4. We’ve been married 37 years now. There are days he drives me right up the wall. Hubby is a talker, he can talk a blue streak. It runs in the family on his Dad’s side, the Irish blarney… He’s not so good at listening. I have had friends me mention that when he’s around I don’t say much, my answer is that it can be hard to get a word in sideways with him. They will think about that and realize I have point. I may not be able to get many words in but I can still nail him with a zinger or two every so often!
    He doesn’t buy flowers much, besides when the kids were born,maybe 3-4 times over the years. However he does foot the bill when I buy flowers and such for the garden. He has learned (the hard way) to check with me before he pulls anything out of the garden thinking it’s a weed.
    He spent most of the marriage working either afternoons or midnights. We all know that the crap never hits the fan at convenient times so I have had to learn to deal with the stuff that happens at night, from flooding basements to bats flying around to toilet overflows and things like the furnace and dryer breaking down. He knows I’m fully capable of handling the emergencies that happen and he appreciates that ability to stay calm and just deal with it. He has needed that ability the last few years, thanks to things like him falling off the roof (sorry Dear, your roof jumping days are over!) and him getting sick with a life threatening illness. We have managed to somehow stay together without killing each other and most importantly have held onto our sense of humour at even the worst times. The day we stop finding the humour in life………………

    1. Isn’t that the truth Christine! I sent hubby a blurb today by instant message… I knew he’d love it. A thief stole a bicycle, listed it on Craigslist and the gal he stole it from said she wanted a test ride and stole it right back! Hubby enjoys a tale like that. Laughter heals so much! 😀

  5. Great post. I have to admit that I always tell myself that it doesn’t always cost money to be romantic. It is the small things that my wife finds romantic. Opening the car door for her, making her coffee in the morning, washing her car and leaving a note on the dash. It is all about the effort.

    1. I agree Kyle! I love the little things… we are trying to wait to shop for produce until September so I can stay on budget. Hubby melted my heart when he said he saw celery for 79 cents a bunch and bought me 2 bunches out of his pocket money. It’s less than a toonie but worth a million bucks to me!

  6. It can be so easy to let things be boring. Its important to keep the spark live. I would send your partner cute texts letting them know you love them. Its doesn’t have to be expensive. Just letting them know you are thinking of them.

  7. Mr PoP and I can both be oblivious sometimes, but we’ve basically realized that it’s okay to be totally blunt with the other person about what you need. Just this weekend Mr Pop made sure I admired and appreciated all the yard work he did, and when my hair was feeling particularly soft I told him he needed to feel it and compliment me. Sounds wierd, but it works. We’re not mind readers, and we really do want to make the other person happy, but sometimes need a little hint as to what would make them happy today!

    1. I agree! The end result is more valuable than anything – a happy, contented spouse. I can speak up to make sure that happens. 🙂

  8. What a great and interesting post. I don’t know about the “spark” exactly, but I do know that now that my wife and I do not argue about money at all, it is not an issue in the house. We can focus on other aspects of the relationship…very helpful!

  9. I really feel for Alicia! I really do. I have a friend my age who seems to be going through the exact same thing (although money is not really the issue). She’s tried talking to him that they need some romantic time but he just seems to ignore that, and truthfully she is on a slipper slope since she is in communication now with another guy…quite a bit. She kind of wants to leave because she feels she has tried everything, but he still isn’t responding. BUT, she feels absolutely terrible because they have a young son and he is a very good father. The only advice I would have is to try to talk your husband about how you’re feeling and try to come up with solutions together.

    1. Like I said, once the walls come down the love has left. Your friend has already made up her mind, she’s likely falling in love with this new guy and although she feels guilty one may just outrank the other. Sometimes it’s too late once the walls are down. Cheers darling.

  10. Great reply Mr. CBB! It can be a tough one as us men aren’t always the quickest to pick up on things. 😉 That said, I’d echo Laurie’s thoughts of setting aside money in the budget specifically geared towards doing things as a couple to help build our relationship. Beyond that, communicate with him. Sometimes us men need things spelled out in black and white and made very clear. Give him a little of that and see where it goes.

  11. I have to say, my husband of almost 20 years is exactly the kind of man I wanted EXCEPT he didn’t come with a romantic button when we first met. Some woman somewhere along the line had stomped all over his romantic overtures and he was hesitant to “do the wrong thing” which translated into doing nothing. After several years of tears and disappointment that he couldn’t just “read my mind” to know what I wanted and needed…I took the bull by the horns and led our romantic life by example and by verbally telling him what I liked and needed. He’s not a stupid man, he took the hints… slowly at first but he’s gotten better at it every single year.

    I plan something at least once a month for the two of us. Sometimes it is an overnight in a hotel with breakfast included, sometimes it’s a walk or bike ride and a picnic in the park. Hubby may not be the guy to initiate very often but he certainly springs right into romantic mode with a gusto when I tell him that we have our romantic interlude for the month on such & such a date and we are doing a particular thing. He’s excited too, he’s just expressing his love more quietly & it’s my job to watch for it. Not every guy is Don Juan, mine is the most amazingly supportive guy but he needs a little guiding. I love him enough to do without all the spontaneity, most of the time.

    I had to verbally tell him that while I don’t want long stem red roses for Valentine’s Day when they are at the most expensive price of the year, but a floral arrangement that is on sale at the grocery store once or twice a year is a lovely surprise. I encourage him to buy them when he sees something pretty that he thinks is a nice price. Most recently, I was having a really tough week with my health and voila… there was the floral bouquet in my hands.

    Set up a place in the budget for his surprises for you! I regularly tell hubby how the splurge budget is doing. We agreed that either one can spend that amount to pamper the other with no joint discussion. No one has to feel guilty about robbing Peter to pay Paul… the money is there and that’s what it is for. So, if he knows we have $100 in there, he might bring me home a floral bouquet, a fancy coffee from Tim Horton’s or some nice chocolate. Also, by reminding him how much is in the account, I encourage him to spend a little of it that month. If he doesn’t take the hint, I plan something for us. I am not incapable of helping him give me what I want… and I am the only one that knows how much pampering I feel in need of in a given month.

    I like flowers and we have 5 planters in the back yard full of impatience… what’s not romantic about my guy going out every 3 days to water the plants I look at from my easy chair in the family room? He doesn’t ask for help, he just does it for me because he knows I love them. Doesn’t that say, “I love you” and “I want to give your something that makes you happy” to you? How about the times when I say I feel chilly and he offers to make me a cup of tea? Or what about the times he calls to say something is on sale that I like, should he get some? It can be anything… he’s been on a tear lately bringing celery and cantelope as his romantic remembrances.

    To me romance isn’t all about the grandiose gesture, it’s the every day things. It’s realizing I need a hug when I go over and rest my head on his shoulder and just holding me until I have had enough and let go. I love this man and I choose to accept the gifts from him that he can offer easily, rather than demand something outside of his comfort zone. How romantic would that be of me to say that I don’t care if this makes you feel awful inside, I want it?

      1. I neglected to mention, I have to work on my romantic gestures every single month too! I know some of his favorite dishes and I tell him that I am making the dish on a certain date – he gets to both anticipate and enjoy it. I love to plan movie night at home on a weekend with some sort of amazing supper we can share while we watch our movie. And the bonus is…I get the warm fuzzies for doing something loving for him. 😀

  12. Alicia, talk to your man. Really, many men don’t often know that their wives need this stuff and don’t always think that way. Maybe the two of you could agree on a monthly budgeted amount for “relationship building” or something. Most guys I know tend to think that being a “good provider” is the most important of their husbandly duties whereas us wives often simply want to be loved. Give him a chance first, work at it, even if you have to do it alone at first. Best of luck to you!

  13. An important thing I think is understanding your own needs and how the other person shows love. For example if you need to HEAR how beautiful you are, and the other one won’t say it, but will often hug you because they show love by physical touch, you may not feel appreciated. If he empties the dishwasher every night so that you don’t have to do it, that is showing you love and support, you may not notice it like you would flowers. Still you seem to be really focused on your projects and you don’t have to spend much money to focus on yourself, a netflix movie and some ice cream, a picnic in the park and some wine, there are plenty of cheap dates.

    1. Thanks for sharing that Pauline. Yes, for some they don’t need to hear the spoken word and emptying the dishwasher may mean love as well. I honestly think that hearing it from someone is the desire of many and I can agree. I like to hear that I am sexy and loved as well and I’m a guy.

  14. I say its all about choices, if she feels this way she needs to communicate it with him, instead feeling heartache in silence it cant be fixed it he isn’t aware of her feelings. as my mother always said life is too short to worry about a dirty fridge. They should be looking what they can do for free if they dont want to spend. check their area out usually during the summer there are festivals, free concerts .

  15. What a soulful post. Love your reply.

    I am probably more like Alicia’s hubs in our relationship, and all I can say is it’s an ongoing juggling act – esp as my hubs may not value money so much BUT the things he likes to do are expensive. Sigh.

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