Is materialism bad for your marriage?

Money and divorce © Tom Schmucker | Dreamstime.comAfter my neo-minimalist rants a while back, I ran across the article Do More Things Bring Less Love?, a study of materialism and marriage

The short answer to the question in the title is YES! In a study of 1,700 couples, it was found that those who were the least materialistic enjoyed their marriages the most, and those who were the most materialistic enjoyed their marriages the least. There were also some insights as to why this is true. For example, those who scored high on materialism also tended to score high for marriage killers like blaming, complaining, and criticising.

Another interesting finding of the study was that rich, poor, and those in-between have the same rates of materialism. So being materialistic does not make you rich and being less than well off is not a (valid) excuse for materialism.

Bottom Line: If you are materialistic, it’s hurting your marriage. If your bride is materialistic, it’s hurting your marriage. If you’re both are materialistic, your marriage may be deep trouble.

The Fix: Is being materialistic something you can change? I am of the opinion that we can change just about anything we believe or feel if we choose to do so and work at it hard. Maybe knowing it could cost you your marriage, or at least make your marriage horrible, will be enough motivation to work at changing it.

Speaking of money (this is a horrible segue!) the year end donation challenge I issued 13 days ago is doing very well – we’ve hit 70%. THANKS to all who have helped with that. If you think what my bride and I do is worthwhile, would you consider helping us get to 100%?

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2 Comments on “Is materialism bad for your marriage?

  1. Doesn’t the article focus more on narcissism rather than materialism? As I understand it, narcissism leads to both materialism and bad marriages. So helping a materialistic narcissist become a spiritual narcissist (what a concept!), may not help out his marriage too much.

    • @John – The article I referenced did say “Spouses who scored high on materialism tended to score high also on narcissism. ” As I read it that was not as strong a correlation as some of the other things. Certainly narcissists are going to be materialistic, but not all who are materialistic are necessarily narcissistic.

      If we see narcissism as a spectrum, those who are not “full blown” can probably change.

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