Money Is the Root of Marital Evil

couple, champagnePop quiz! Bob and Laura, who are married, are totally simpatico on the topic of money: Having a lot of dough and the things it can buy is really important to both of them. Fred and Alice, also a committed couple, place different values on money: Alice tends toward the materialist (she likes nice stuff!), but Fred doesn't think money is particularly important at all.

Who has the more stable marriage? Bob and Laura, right, because they agree? Nope! A new study has found that couples in which both partners are materialistic are actually rockier than couples in which one or both of the partners place very little value on money or things -- flying in the face of the conventional wisdom, which has long held that it's disagreements over money that threaten a marriage.

It turns out having at least one non-materialistic partner in a marriage can buoy the relationship. That actually makes a lot of sense to me.


Don't we balance many things in our relationships this way? One person takes care of the money (does the taxes, arranges the insurance, takes the car in to be fixed), while the other person tells them not to get too worked up about it. One person spends; the other makes sure the bills get paid.

Obviously, not all relationships work this way. But I find in my own marriage, I tend to carry the worry (someone has to!) while my husband reminds me to relax and enjoy myself. If we were both super Type A (that's me) or both had the temperament of a surfer dude (that's him), the marriage wouldn't work as well.

However, the study, published in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, found that couples in which neither partner was materialistic were the happiest and most stable of all.

Which carries its own lesson: It's important to look up from the earn-and-spend grind now and then, look around, and see what you have that has nothing to do with money. Maybe we could all stand to be a little less materialistic and a little more focused on the people in our lives. Turns out, we'd all be happier.

Is money a point of friction in your relationship?


Image via Juan Antonio Capo/Flickr

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