Help! My spouse won't stop spending

You're a saver. Your spouse is a spender -- maybe even a big-time spender. Is your marriage doomed?

Not necessarily.

Financial experts say that communication is the key to crafting a successful marriage -- even when one spouse would rather sock away money and the other prefers to spend it until it's gone. The worst case? When the spending spouse and the saver don't talk about their financial issues until a giant credit-card bill forces them to address the problem.

"It's all about communication," says Leslie Tayne, founder of Tayne Law Group, PC, a law firm based in the New York City area that specializes in debt assistance. "Too often, spouses hide their spending because they don't want to deal with the repercussions. The other spouse is taken by surprise when they receive this huge credit-card bill. That's not the way to handle the situation. This can put great stress on a marriage."

The better approach? Spouses need to talk out their financial problems before they can resolve them. And those spouses who are spending so much that they're building an insurmountable pile of debt? They need to identify why they are spending so much and take steps to stop their dangerous financial behavior.

The power of communication

Tayne suggests that married couples meet once a week for an hour or so to discuss finances. This holds true even if spouses generally agree on how money should be spent. In cases where one spouse wants to spend more than a partner is comfortable with, these meetings become even more important. If both spouses are honest during the discussions, there at least won't be any surprises on future credit-card bills.

But what of those spouses who hide their spending until it's too late? Brenda Hendrickson, author of the book "How to be a Frugal Millionaire, " says that it's important for married couples to determine why one spouse is spending so much.

Maybe a spouse is lonely or bored, and spending money at the mall is an outlet. Maybe the overspender has too much free time and not enough to do with it. Or maybe the spending is a result of a deeper psychological issue.