Is keeping up with the Joneses ruining your marriage?


Is keeping up with the Joneses ruining your marriage?
Is your relationship/marriage in credit card debt? Trying to keep up with your neighbors & friends?

I am not sure how our need for perfection started, but keeping up with the Jones’ has been with us for a long time. The only way to not be influenced is to work on yourself and your own ego strength, or to be so poor you have no resources to keep up. My concern is always with the next generation. If we have to keep up, what will they have to do in order to keep up? If they are riding in limos for a 6 year old birthday party, what is there to look forward to when they go to their first special event? Our insecurity of being good enough and keeping up is inadvertently raising calloused, unhappy children. They have little joy because we have robbed them of wanting something, working toward it, and feeling the euphoria after you finally earn it. It is also adding financial stress on our marriages and we are feeling less and less joy when we purchase something new.
There are ways to stop the madness of keeping up with the Jones (or whoever your neighbor or friend is). It begins as most things do; becoming aware of what you are spending money and time on and evaluating why. Most of keeping up has to do with feeling empty or not good enough on the inside.
1. What are you afraid of if you stop trying to keep up with the social circle you are in? Will they abandon you, talk about you, and think less of you?
2. Do you have the support of your partner in cutting back? For example if he wants the big screen TV to fit in with his buddies, is he willing to settle for one not as large to stay within the budget? Or if you want the Louis Vuitton to fit in, are you willing to settle for a lesser name brand name to not go over budget?
3. When your child says they want a petting zoo birthday party at their house can you tell your child, “Wow, that sounds fun, but we don’t have enough money, how about going to the zoo for a picnic with your friends?”
4. Do you really need a caterer at your backyard party? Would a potluck work just as well, or would people think worse of you? Would you feel less than the perfect host? Is that okay, or do you need to be perfect?
5. Will your friends still love and accept you if you make your life about values such as togetherness, family get-togethers, sharing each other’s pain instead of each other’s concerns about the right cosmetic surgery, new home decor or what shoes will match your new dress? Will your kids still love you when they grow up to find most of their sports, parties, cars, enrichment classes were more about you keeping up with the Jones’ than it was about them and their interests and needs?
Keeping up with others is insidious. It builds slowly and soon we look around and say, “What am I doing with all of this junk, and how did I attract all of these negative people in my life?” You did it by not realizing you were good enough, and that you were so much more than anything you could purchase. Stop the insanity of bigger and better stuff; take back your own values, integrity, and family morals. – Mary Jo Rapini
For more information go to:
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Join me every Friday Morning on Fox 26 Houston for “Healthy Happy Hour” and learn how to make your relationship healthier.

Article contributed by

Mary Jo Rapini


For more information go to:
Talk to me on my fan page:
Tweet me: @MaryJoRapini
Read my Love and Relationships Blog on
Ask me questions on Fox26 in Houston, TX and watch every Thursday Morning at 9am for “Mind, Body, Soul with Mary Jo” and Friday Morning's at 8am for “Healthy Happy Hour with Mary Jo”

Location: Houston, TX
Credentials: LPC
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