Making sense of money in marriage



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This 14-year longitudinal study extends previous research on money in marriage by using multiple measures of money to predict seven dimensions of marital quality. Data collection began when the couples were newlyweds and extended through the first decade and a half of marriage, thus making it possible to examine the effects of money on marital quality across time. Overall, the findings indicate that money affects marital quality. Specifically, low income was associated behavioral negativity over the entire course of the fourteen year study. Low-income couples who were content with their financial situations were more satisfied than low-income couples that were unhappy about their financial situation. The effects of money on marriage increased over time such that by the time couples were nearly a decade a half into marriage couple’s income was associated with both positive marital behaviors and marital satisfaction. Similarly, the link between financial satisfaction and marital satisfaction emerged over time. The implications of these findings as well as directions for future research are discussed.