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Communication, Money and Sex in Marriage

Marriage is a legally-sanctioned contract between two people. The contractual marriage agreement usually implies that the couple has legal obligations to each other throughout their lives or until they decide to get divorced.

In many cultures, marriage is regarded as a vital tool in the preservation of morals and civilisation. Its inherent orientation to the bearing and rearing of children also contributes to its distinctive structure, including norms of monogamy and fidelity. [1] Public policy is strongly in favor of marriage based on the belief that it preserves the family unit.

In Nigeria, there is a huge cultural importance attached to marriage. Marriage is an important institution in the society and it is expected of both sexes in order to be responsible members of the institution.

Nigerian societies create, perpetuate and protect the marriage institution because it provides ‘social goods’; a term for the societal benefits derivable by the whole and the individuals from it.

Like every union, marriage is not without problems.[2] About one-half of the first marriages of young adults today are likely to end in divorce. For second marriages, the projected level is closer to 60%. [3]

Overall, the results indicate that the most often cited reasons by couples deciding to end their marriages include sexual related problems (59.6%), too much conflict and arguing (57.7%) and financial problems (36.7%). [4]


Communication comes from the Latin words "com" and "munis." Com means "together with” and "munis" connotes a gift of self, a strengthening of the relationship, and a binding of oneself with the other person.

When we communicate, we try to establish a “commonness” with someone.[5] That is, we are trying to share information, an idea, or an attitude.[6] Marital adjustment is positively correlated with the capacity to communicate.

Effective communication in marriage is extremely important because it enables members to express their needs, wants, and concerns to each other. Open and honest communication creates an atmosphere that allows a couple express their differences as well as love and admiration for one another, which makes them able to resolve the unavoidable problems that arise in a marriage.

Conflicts, however deep, can be solved by effective communication. Conflict in marriage is unavoidable and can help couples become more mature in their marital life. [7] However, it tends to be the source of marital breakdown if not dealt with wisely.

Quality communication in marriage is defined as the interpersonal, transactional, symbolic process by which marriage partners achieve and maintain understanding of each other.

Our egos build defenses that can affect our relationship with others. Some of these defenses can include:

● Reaction formation, or over-compensation for some real or imagined weakness.

● Displacement, or scapegoating, i.e., placing the blame on someone or something else.

● Projection, finding one's own weakness in another.

● Introjection, or attributing to oneself, the good qualities of another.

● Rationalization, or self-justification

Good communication

Three characteristics of good communication are

● Dialogue (as opposed to monologue)

● Discussion (rather than debate)

● Listening (not just talking). [4]


Money can help you and your partner pay for the things that make your life nice. Unfortunately, it can also cause some serious clashes. [9]

In a survey by Ally Bank, 36 percent of couples reported that money was the biggest source of stress in their relationship. How couples spend, how they save, and how they share and manage the household income can influence a lot more than just paying the bills. [10]

One aspect of financial decision making is who has the final say over major decisions about spending in the home. [11]

Patterns of spending within a household reflect not only the sources and amount of the household's income, but also who controls money within the household. [12]

Expenditure decisions have been found to be a main source of conflict and disagreement between couples, particularly when one partner feels they have less influence over spending than the other [12]

Other factors leading to unresolvable money problems in marriage, includes

● Financial Infidelity: This is where one partner makes secret money decisions; saving, investing or spending, without informing the other partner.

● Being too judgemental and controlling

● Lack of communication.

Communication is key to any healthy relationship, and discussing financial decisions is no exception. [13]

Money clashes sometimes begin by not having money conversations early in the relationship. Money is critical for financial and relational well-being, yet financial communication is often considered taboo.

Before marriage, It's important that both partners know where a couple stands financially in order to establish common financial goals.

Partners ought to have regular conversations about their finances. These conversations should be about setting joint financial goals both of them agree with, working together to create a budget that works for agreed goals, and deciding how both of them can spend and save in ways that works for them and makes them happy.


Safe and pleasurable sex is one of the main factors which influence marital satisfaction. Sex is linked to intimacy, which is important for the bond couples ought to share. [14]

A good number of couples experience sexual dissatisfaction in marriage. [15]

For males, the most common complaint involved too infrequent intercourse, followed by failure of their partner to reach orgasm and concern with their own sexual adequacy. For women, five of the six most prevalent complaints involved difficulty with becoming sexually aroused or reaching orgasm.

Some of the common problems surrounding sex in marriage includes

● Lack of openness about partner's sexual performance

● Lack of openness about sexual preferences

● Unwillingness to experiment

● Sexual desire differences

● One party being the first to initiate

Regardless of these, there are things couples can do to maintain and improve sexual satisfaction in marriage, one of the most important being improving communication.[16]

Communication in your relationship is one of the most effective ways of improving your sex-life. With better communication comes increased closeness – and increased closeness leads to better sex. Talking about sex is crucial to any marriage, as communication is significantly and positively associated with sexual satisfaction and marital adjustment. [17]

Improving and promoting communication, problem solving, self-disclosure, empathic response skills, sexual education and counseling in the form of cognitive-behavioral techniques based on religious and cultural context of each society is an effective step that can be taken to enhance marital intimacy and strengthen family bonds and stability. (16)


1.What is Marriage

Harv. J. L. & Pub. Pol'y 245 (2011)

2. Marriage, Divorce, and Living Arrangements: Prospective Changes

PAUL C. GLICKFirst Published March 1, 1984

3. Reasons for Divorce and Recollections of Premarital Intervention: Implications for Improving Relationship Education

Shelby B. Scott, Galena K. Rhoades, [...], and Howard J. Markman!po=0.480769

4. Scott SB, Rhoades GK, Stanley SM, Allen ES, Markman HJ. Reasons for divorce and recollections of premarital intervention: Implications for improving relationship education. Couple Family Psychol. 2013;2(2):131–45.

5. How communication works

Wilbur Schramm

1954, 3-26, 1954

6. Navran, Leslie


Navran, L. (1967). Communication and adjustment in marriage. Family Process, 6(2), 173–184.

7. iMOM. How to understand conflict in marriage [Internet]. 2007 [cited 2021 Apr 22]. Available from:

8. The Form and Function of Quality Communication in Marriage

Barbara M. Montgomery

9. Money Causes The Most Stress For Couples

10. Household spending, personal spending and the control of money in marriage

Jan Pahl

Sociology 24 (1), 119-138, 1990*********

11. Conflict and Decision Making in Close Relationships, Hove: The Psychology Press.

(Kirchler et al., 2001Kirchler E., Rodler C., Holzl E. and Meier K., (2001),

12. Vogler C, Lyonette C, Wiggins RD. Money, power and spending decisions in intimate relationships. Sociol Rev. 2008;56(1):117–43.

13. “You Have to Look at Finances as a Joint Venture, Whether or Not You Have a Joint Account”: Exploring Strategies Couples Use to Successfully Communicate About Money

Renee Bourdeaux &Maggie Bright

14. Rahmani A, Alahgholi L, Merghati Khuee E. How does sexual satisfaction relate to marital satisfaction among Iranians? Int J Obstet Gynecol. 2009;107(2):S558–9.

15. Snyder DK, Berg P. Determinants of sexual dissatisfaction in sexually distressed couples. Arch Sex Behav. 1983;12(3):237–46.

16. A Review of Marital Intimacy-Enhancing Interventions among Married Individuals

Maryam Kardan-Souraki Zeinab Hamzehgardeshi Ismail Asadpour Reza Mohammadpour Soghra Khani

17. Satisfaction with Sexual Communication in Marriage: Links to Sexual Satisfaction and Dyadic Adjustment

William R. Cupach, Jamie Comstock

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