Myth #2 — Finances (or any other area of disagreement) are the number one cause of divorce.

Dave Ramsey, the respected financial advisor, often uses this “statistic” in his speeches and radio shows. We like Dave Ramsey and sometimes refer couples struggling with finances to his program, but the fact is that he is wrong on this pronouncement.

Certainly a case could be made that squabbles about money are prevalent in many marriages that end in divorce. But it is not what ended the marriage, just as disagreements over children, careers, or in-laws do not end marriages. Even infidelity does not necessarily end the marriage.

What ends most marriages is the couple’s inability to deal with their conflicts in healthy ways. There is nothing wrong with conflict in marriage, it is inevitable and simply represents a different way of looking at things. But if we do not learn to deal with conflict according to true principles using learned skills and tools, unresolved conflict will continue to mount and turn into blame and contention.

The real killer of marriages is not disagreement but pride. When a couple is unable to approach an issue and one another with a sense of openness and humility, and instead remain determined to prove themselves right, to defend their turf by tooth and claw, then differing opinions about finances and other hot topics become unsolvable and eventually the couple starts believing the utterly ludicrous concept of “irreconcilable differences.” Yes, they are irreconcilable if two people filled with pride and a need to be right can’t be open to another’s perspective or are unwilling to take shared accountability in finding the best solution to their marital issues.

Finances never have ended a marriage. The refusal to deal with them and one another in healthy and accountable ways has ended many.