Perception of high spending causes marriage problems

family law

If someone believes their spouse spends too much it is likely to cause rows and tension, even if that belief is not true.

Husbands are more likely to think this of their spouse than wives are, according to a new study by American researchers. As a result, they are more likely to instigate arguments about money with their spouses. These findings held up regardless of the couple’s income or whether or not they actually spend a lot of money.

Study co-author Ashley LeBaron is a graduate student of Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah. She explained that “spouses’ perceptions of each other’s spending behaviors [sic] were so predictive of financial conflict” that it led the researchers to believe “perceptions may be just as important, if not more important, than reality” when it comes to issues involving money within relationships.

Another author was Kansas State University associate professor Sonya Britt-Lutter. She urged couples to “communicate about finances, especially early in marriage” and warned them not to believe that “financial problems will magically go away when circumstances change”. The results of this study demonstrates that “circumstances weren’t the issue … perception was, and perception doesn’t always change when circumstances do”.

This sentiment was supported by BYU Family Life professor Jeffrey Hill, another co-author. He explained that in order to resolve these conflicts “couples can benefit from clinical help, whether that be a financial planner or a marriage and family therapist”.

The researchers gathered data from BYU’s ‘Flourishing Families Project’, which has monitored around 700 families since its inception in 2007.

The study was published in the academic Journal of Financial Planning.

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Stowe Family Law Web Team

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