New York: Do you often end up having heated discussions with your spouse over money matters? Beware, your fondness for material possessions may affect your love life and push your marriage towards an unhappy ending, says a new study.
The study found that when materialism -- the pursuit of money and possessions -- gets prioritised over other dimensions of life, it harms conjugal bonding.
Materialism crowds out other life priorities and creates a scarcity of time for other priorities such as communication, conflict resolution and intimacy. It thus decreases the importance and sense of satisfaction in a marriage.
"Marriage dissatisfaction occurs because those who highly value money and possessions are less likely to value their marriage and are thus likely to be less satisfied in their relationship," said lead author Ashley LeBaron, Professor at the Brigham Young University (BYU) in Ohio.
Further, materialism may also be associated with a possession-oriented rather than a relationship-oriented approach to happiness.
In other words, materialistic spouses may be seeking happiness in possessions, rather than people, which means they end up putting less time and energy into making their marriage a success, the researchers noted, in a paper published in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues.
Despite the findings, the researchers believe that changes can be made by couples to solve this issue.
"Many people are not fully aware of their materialism or the degree to which the pursuit of money is becoming an unbalanced priority in their life," explained Jason Carroll, Professor at BYU.
"It is helpful for spouses to evaluate and openly discuss the time patterns in their lives and make sure they are devoting enough time to prioritize and strengthen their marriage relationship," Carroll suggested.
For the study, the researchers asked 1,310 married individuals to fill a questionnaire in order to measure their materialism, perception of marriage importance and marital satisfaction.