Image: Couple arguing © Randy Faris, Corbis

Communication is a cornerstone of a successful marriage, and nothing undermines communication like deception. Unfortunately, money is one of the most common things people lie about, and untruths on that topic can pose a serious threat to any marriage.

Habitual lies on such things as income, spending, gambling and debt can test the fabric of any union and ultimately erode the level of trust -- a vital part of any relationship.

A MoneyRates.com/MSN.com poll, conducted between Jan. 16 and 20, asked respondents which of the following financial lies they were most likely to tell their spouses. Review the results to see whether you're likely to tell any of these lies to your husband or wife:

1. 'We're not made of money!'

Claiming you can't afford something you just didn't want to buy: 39% (3,764 votes).

Sharing the resources that go into a household budget is a matter of compromise. Even if you are the sole or primary breadwinner, there needs to be some consensus on financial matters, including major purchases. If you reflexively use the excuse "we can't afford it" to shoot down requests that you don't like, you face a conflict the next time you want to buy something that is equally discretionary.

This kind of discussion comes up frequently when the needs of children are involved, and unless you and your spouse reach a thoughtful consensus, you risk always being the "bad cop" in your kids' eyes.

2. 'I can't remember the exact price.'

Downplaying how much you spent on something: 27% (2,594 votes).

People often feel guilty when they overspend, and they tend to sound guilty as well. How much did that cost? "Oh, it was on sale" or "I don't know exactly -- it wasn't much." If these answers sound deceptive, it's because they are. This kind of deception can create suspicions that may be worse than the reality.

Perhaps worst of all, you may also be reinforcing your own bad spending habits. If you won't be accountable to your spouse, chances are, you won't be accountable to yourself for how much you spend.

3. 'What credit card bill?'

Concealing how much debt you have: 9% (876 votes).

People come into relationships with all sorts of baggage: health problems, childhood traumas, emotional scars from past relationships and so on. Financially, a common form of baggage people bring to a relationship is a debt burden. The instinct to lie about it comes from the fear that a potential spouse won't want to share in your financial problems.

However, since debt doesn't go away easily, it is almost inevitable that you will eventually be caught in this kind of lie. If that happens, it's anyone's guess whether your spouse will be more upset by the credit card bill itself or the fact that you didn't feel comfortable disclosing it earlier.

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