How Materialism Can Hurt Your Marriage

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"Mo' money, mo' problems," says one study.

When you picture Bravo's "Real" Housewives, you likely think of expensive clothes, lavish and over-the-top parties, and a seemingly endless supply of financial backing from their hard-working husbands. 

But you also picture drama: Not just conflicts between the ladies, but marital issues as well. Turns out, the relationship woes we see on these shows stem from the very thing that begot them in the first place: money.

While it can buy you lots of things — as the Beatles once sang — money can't buy you loveA new study of about 1,700 married couples found that couples who were not materialistic scored 10 to 15 percent higher in terms of relationship quality than their materialistic counterparts. To define whether a couple was materialistic or not, they were asked to rate the statement "Money and things have never been important to me" based on how much it applied to them. Those who disagreed with the statement tended to score lower on questions that tested emotional maturity and responsiveness to their partners.

Yes, those who love money have more arguments about it, even if they are well off financially. Think of that stereotypical Bravo housewife — she loves money, she has money and she enjoys spending that money. That money-obsession, in itself, is the recipe for a bad relationship. Now, if her husband is just as materialistic, the result is disaster. 4 Ways To Avoid Fighting About Money

Money-hungry couples, according to the study, had poor communication and conflict resolution skills. They were also less responsive to each other. The study's authors say that a heightened focus on possessions, rather than on the partnership, is to blame.

If you're a member of a materialistic and miserable pair, there is some hope. The key to combating materialism is gratitude, experts say. The first step is connecting — you must, experts say, be grateful for the circumstances that brought your wealth, and focus on the community that surrounds you. Finally, you can combat your marital woes by spending more meaningful time with your partner: talking, not swigging expensive champagne.

Do you consider yourself materialistic? Do you feel that it affects your relationship?

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