Materialism decreases marriage satisfaction

A new study by a Brigham Young University professor reveals that the way couples view money may have as much impact on their marriage as how they spend it.


The study, guided by Jason Carroll, analysed the attitude towards money of 600 couples from various ethnic, religious and economic backgrounds. The research found that couples where one spouse is highly materialistic are 40% more likely to have marital problems linked to financial issues, regardless of income level.


Materialism can put a strain on a marriage and could decrease marriage satisfaction even in higher-income couples, according to Carroll. He adds that couples with similar finances, but with different outlooks on materialism, could react to the same situation in different ways.


A couple that places a premium on having the best will experience financial stress when they can’t afford it, which could decrease their satisfaction within the marriage. If a couple doesn’t give importance to material items, not being able to afford them causes less or no stress.


“Financial problems are as much a result of how we think about money as how we spend it,” said Carroll, who he hopes the study will reach young couples planning their lives together. “I hope some thought and discussion will be given to what their financial standards are.”