Could Your Spouse Be Hiding Secret Debt?

By Scott And Bethany Palmer for

Coming home from vacation is so hard! While you’re swinging in a hammock in paradise you forget your long list of things-to-do, your bills, your diet and your boss. Coming home is a startling return to reality.

Josh’s return home was especially startling.

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Home from Maui with his new bride, he went to their bulging mailbox to retrieve the mail. He wondered how two people could get this much mail in just one week? At least the wedding and honeymoon bills hadn’t arrived yet. He hated to think of the bills they racked up in the last few weeks! But a wedding and once-in-lifetime-trip was worth it and he knew he and Paige would remember this time forever.

Then a feeling he’d soon want to forget hit him. His heart sank, his stomach turned to knots, a $10,000 credit card bill?! Whose was this? Did his neighbor’s mail get stuffed in their box? Was there some other Paige McCancy? There had to be some mistake!

Unfortunately, the mistake was a lack of full disclosure. Paige hid her debt from Josh while they were dating because there never seemed to be a good time to bring it up. She thought Josh was so sweet but he always worried about money. When they started planning the wedding and the honeymoon, she figured mentioning her debt would push him over the edge. So she told herself she’d tell him later.

Like the flash floods in Maui, this rush of information has the potential to damage everything. But it doesn’t have to. The damage is done. The debt is real. What can they do now?

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1. Get all the facts on the table. All of them! Was this debt for needs ó schooling, car repairs, medical expenses, etc.? Or was it for shopping, lattes and tanning beds? There’s a reason we vow to each other about money in our wedding vows. Her debt is now their debt.

2. Get some third party assistance. We wouldn’t try and tackle this on our own. Ask someone with more experience and a fresh perspective to help you understand how you got here and how to never return here.

3. Identify your “Money Personalities.” Understand each other’s view of money. Every person approaches money differently. If you understand your spouse’s Money Personality you can head off some of the problems before they arise and talk through your individual approach to money in an open, thoughtful manner.

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It looks like Josh’s Primary Money Personality is a Saver. His Secondary may be a Security Seeker. Is Paige a Risk Taker? A Spender? A Flyer? Our quiz calculates both Primary and Secondary Money Personalities so Josh and Paige, and all of us, can deal openly with who we are and who we fell in love with.

There’s definitely some trouble in paradise but they can take this opportunity to start fresh and learn some valuable insights about each other that will help their marriage far beyond the honeymoon.

Make it Happen!
Scott & Bethany Palmer
The Money Coupleģ

Authors of The 5 Money Personalitiesô: Speaking the Same Love and Money Language

This article originally appeared on Could Your Spouse Have Secret Debt?.

Written by Scott And Bethany Palmer The Money Couple for


Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa3 years ago

Thank you

Terry V.
Terry V4 years ago


Eternal Gardener
Eternal G4 years ago

That is a no-no!

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen4 years ago

Thank you :)

JL A4 years ago

In CA there is a law about such non-disclosure between spouses where accountability can be pushed even without divorce

Brian M.
Past Member 4 years ago

The debt is no secret...though there are days when I wish I could forget about it for a few hours.

Kay M.
.4 years ago

Thank you for the great article and the good comments from the care 2 members. I grew up in a household like Sheila, but my Mom did not work, all she did all day every day ,after dad when to work, and we went to school, she would shop. She may not buy everyday, what she would do is compare prices at different stores and when she found the cheapest she would go back and purchase in bulk. That was over 30 years ago. Dad passed away, she was left to live on social security, Then that is when the real problem came, she got credit cards and started shopping again. When she came to me to help her with payments I said no, but I would help organize her payment plan and cut up her credit cards.....period. I swore I would neever get into that position, so I never got a credit card. I shop cash or check only...period.

Ana Marija R.
ANA MARIJA R4 years ago

Thank you for the article & comments.

Marie W.
Marie W4 years ago

Money issues killed more marriages than infidelity.

Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga4 years ago