Materialism Can Ruin Marriages, According to Brigham Young Researchers

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By Allison Summers, Christian Post Reporter
October 16, 2011|8:17 pm

New research is suggesting that loving money may be harmful to one’s marriage.

A study conducted by U.S. researchers found that couples who place a higher value on money and materialism are unhappier in their marriages than couples who do not have as much of a desire for wealth and possessions.

The study, headed by professor John Carroll of Brigham Young University and published by the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, questioned 1,734 couples online and asked them how much they valued "having money and lots of things," in addition to inquiring about other aspects of their marriage such as satisfaction, stability and so forth.

Researchers found that those who placed a high emphasis on materialism scored 15 percent lower on almost every other facet of marriage examined and were found to have poorer communication skills and conflict resolution. One in five couples who were questioned were found to have both partners placing an equally high emphasis on materialism, and while those couples were better off financially, money appeared to be a major source of conflict. These couples were found to be the ones that struggled the most.

"Couples where both spouses are materialistic were worse off on nearly every measure we looked at," said Carroll in a statement released by the university. "How these couples perceive their finances seems to be more important to their marital health than their actual financial situation."

Carroll believes that couples who value wealth and acquiring possessions may be unhappier because this desire to keep accumulating, along with the deteriorating economy, may cause more stress among couples, especially if it leads them to go into debt. In addition, these couples may be putting more work into earning more money or things than their relationship as opposed to couples who do not value materialism as much.

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"The wants in the long run really won’t be the biggest foundation to their happiness because it’s not really getting to what they truly need," Carroll told Toronto publication Thestar.com.

"If we prioritize relationships and keep them at the top of our focus, that really helps us from getting sucked into the materialistic messages in the culture and helps us where true happiness will be found," Carroll said. 

 

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