Mo' Money Mo' (Marriage) Problems

How much you value money can make all the difference in your relationship.

| October 14th, 2011

How important is money to you? That answer means a lot for your relationship.

In a study of 1,734 married couples, those who (in so many words) said “I don't care too much for money” were totally right that money can’t buy them love—or at least a stable, happy marriage. These non-materialistic couples scored about 10-15 percent higher on several measures of relationship quality than their materialistic counterparts.

COLUMN: The Truth About Money & Happiness

It turns out, those materialistic couples who admitted they loved money, had more fights over it—even though they were better off financially. Having two materialistic people in the relationship was significantly worse for relationship quality than having just one materialistic partner.

Money-hungry couples were more likely to have poor communication and conflict resolution, as well as low responsiveness to each other. Why? Aside from fights over money, author Jason Carroll suggests that the partners may spend more time focusing on possessions than the relationship itself.

Fortunately, there are practical ways to decrease materialism in your relationship.

Gratitude is associated with wellbeing, and some research shows a link between gratitude and less materialism.

MORE: Express Gratitude for Less Materialism, More Happiness

“Gratitude is more broadly creating a focus on your relationship to your community and the events that surround you, rather than a focus on yourself.” says Psychology Advisor Art Markman, Ph.D.

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