When asked the most common reason marriages end, the vast majority of people say "growing apart." There's no argument that that's a common reason couples split. However, the average American has no idea there's a much more insidious, frequent, and preventable cause plaguing the marriages of even the most compatible people—money.
According to a national survey executed by Edelman Intelligence, more than half of divorcees say financial conflict played a role in their breakup—with 20 percent going as far as to say it was a key factor. But why? Most people know how much their partner makes before they tie the knot. Barring unrealistic expectations and flat-out deception, how could finances drive a wedge between two people who were otherwise well-suited to each other?
Think about what makes two people compatible: They share interests (triathlons!), priorities (family first), and lifestyle preferences (staying home to watch movies on a Friday night). What people tend to forget (or don't realize to begin with) is that the way you deal with money is a big part of your lifestyle. But, unlike how you spend your weekends or whether or not you like cats, your financial habits aren't something it's easy to discover in the course of a dating relationship. Sure, you know if your partner is comfortable picking up the check. But do you have any idea what their credit score is?
Turns out, the knowing makes all the difference. Almost without exception, surveyed married couples knew much more about their partner's finances before they got hitched than the couples who didn't last.