I saw this article today about each partner in a relationship having an allowance that they can spend as they want without question by the other partner. I guess it makes sense for most people. With the hubby and I, our finances are a bit different.
When we got together 30+ years ago, we purposely kept all of our finances separate (I was 20 with student loans, a new car and payment, I had just bought a house, and had no desire for anyone to tell me how to spend my money; hubby was 40 with 5 kids and alimony and had always been the breadwinner/money spender with no desire to hand over financial control in the relationship). Fast forward to today and our finances are still separate (separate credit cards and bank accounts; we are both on the mortgage and the car loan due to tax purposes). Oddly enough we have never had an argument about money.
Although relationship "experts" say finances should be merged when you get married, I think each couple needs to work out what works best for them. For us, our "system", such as it is, works best for us. We each pay half the bills (hubby pays more of the bills now, I paid more when I was working and earning a lot; it's kind of based on income), we each spend (within our means) on whatever we want, and our joint goal is to remain debt free (yes, I feel bad about running up a credit card and am working to pay it off ASAP).
Being debt free and having money in savings is the best thing we can do for each other. Should one of us die before the other, the other person won't be left with a lot of debt to pay off (I've seen this happen to couples way too often, up to and including the spouse who was left behind finding out they were bankrupt after their spouse who had been juggling all of the finances dies, that was really sad to see happen). Being debt free also means that we aren't tied to jobs and (more importantly) hubby isn't having to work at 70 years old (I've also seen people who should be fully retired unable to quit working due to debt).
So while I probably don't need an allowance due to the way we handle our money, this is definitely the way to go for couples who have merged their spending so money doesn't become a big issue in the relationship. Hopefully couples will each respect the other enough (or at least care what would happen to the other should tragedy strike) that they make it a goal to become debt free and stay that way as well as have a comfortable cushion of savings. On a side note, for couples who need to learn to work together to get out of debt, Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University seems to work wonders at this.