The main reason most couples fight is over money problems. If you are open with each other and encourage financial communication, the money problems will go away, making life a lot easier. My wife and I can be classified as D.i.n.k's (double-income-no-kids). We both make about the same amount of money, and contribute equally to the bills. I am not saying our method is right or wrong, but I do know it works well for us.
Separate but Equal
Since my wife and I have our own separate incomes, we also have our own separate bank accounts. After openly communicating about our finances, we determined our monthly cost of living by adding up all of our monthly bills: Mortgage, car payment, utilities, cell phone, gym membership,...etc. and established a total dollar amount. For security, we also decided to add an additional $200 hundred dollar buffer each month, to come to our total monthly cost of living. We each contribute half of the total monthly cost of living into a joint checking account. All of our bills are automatically deducted from our joint checking account as described in Never Pay Bills Again.
What's Mine is Mine
The left over money in each of our bank accounts is ours to save or spend as we see fit. If my wife wants to buy 10 pairs of shoes she can; and if I want to buy new power tools, I can. We take turns buying groceries and picking up the bill when we go out to dinner.
Less Stress Brings Us Closer
Before you start to say my marriage sounds like a business agreement, understand that without the stress of money looming over our heads, we are happy to spend money on each other, and do so frequently. I like taking her out for nice dinners, and she will surprise me with new clothes. Having a financial game plan may not sound like the most romantic thing, but it actually allows you to start being romantic. Not having a game plan will only lead to arguing.
It's nice to have control over your own money. I take pride in knowing that my extra hours of work, won't be consumed by my wife’s shopping, and vice-versus. We can also show our generosity and love for each other without jeopardizing each others bank account.
There is a strong male instinct to want to be the provider, and pay for everything. If you can do this on your own, great; but in today’s society it is tough. By having separate accounts, I can volunteer additionally to pay for things according to what I can afford, and still feel like the support stone of the family.
Again this is only what works for us, you may have your own methods. Tell me what works for you, or what ideas you like.