Trust between spouses is a critical element of nurturing the relationship. This goes beyond physical, emotional, and mental monogamy. For us, trust was a critical first step in the joining of our finances. I was reminded of this when I read J's posting yesterday on budgetsaresexy.com where he discusses his latency in merging finances with the Mrs.
She and I initially established our budget by category, as most do. I suggested we put cash in envelopes to keep to it, but she was hesitant to carry around so much cash. Thus, we elected to deposit a lump sum for the categories she would be in charge of (food, entertainment, clothing, etc.) into her account (now held jointly).
I very quickly began to monitor her spending by reviewing statements online. Though I never confronted her directly, the spending on lattes began to eat at me, showing itself in unhealthy ways (primarily pointed comments and jabs).
After a couple of months, it came to a head in a loud verbal spat. After processing the new information, I had to make the decision to trust her judgement. No longer did I give myself the right to monitor the little expenses.
There have been rough times, especially when the account nears zero at the end of the month. However, I no longer give myself the right to audit the way the money is spent. As such, She has become much more responsible, and I've seen a noticeable difference in they way the money is spent (far fewer lattes). But most importantly, it removed much of the tension I had created by failing to trust her.
The moral of the posting is that trusting your spouse is an active choice I highly recommend.