Materialism_web

Materialism Buys Problems

A quick troll through some pop lyrics will tell you variously, “money can’t buy me love”, “money changes everything”, and “money, money, money, it’s a rich man’s world”. So who is right? Does money change everything or is it powerless to procure things of real value like love and happiness? A new study might have the answer.

The study involved 1734 married couples. Each couple completed a relationship evaluation. Part of the evaluation was to establish how much they value “having money and lots of things”. In other words, each couple was rated for how materialistic they are. This was then matched against their happiness in their relationship.

The results showed that on average couples who say money is not important to them score between ten and fifteen percent better on marriage stability and other measures of relationship quality than couples where one or both are materialistic. In fact, couples where both spouses showed as materialistic were worse off on almost every measure studied.

What seems to happen as materialism increases is that there is eroding communication, poor conflict resolution, and low responsiveness to your partner.

In twenty per cent of the couples, both partners admitted a strong love of money. Though these couples were better off financially, money was often a bigger source of conflict for them. How these couples perceive their finances becomes more important to their marital health than their actual financial situation. So despite their shared materialism, materialistic couples’ relationships were in poorer shape than couples who were mismatched and had just one materialist in the marriage.

All this is not to say that you can’t have material wealth and be happy, it just seems that if you make material things your goal then happiness gets lost somewhere by the wayside. It might be a rich man’s world, but it’s probably only rich folk who want the whole world. As for happiness; it’s free.

The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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