Such a pattern highlights another dynamic researchers found, when one partner is highly materialistic and the other is not.
Relationships usually fair better when partners share priorities and values, but researchers found that the opposite was true in this case. When only one partner was materialistic and the other not, the non-materialistic partners seemed to buoy the marriage, resulting in higher levels of satisfaction, communication and stability in marriages made of mismatched couples when compared to dual-materialistic ones.
"Spouses that are mismatched on materialism may do better in their relationships than spouses with shared materialistic values because at least one spouse may possess more 'other-centeredness' and 'emotional readiness,'" said Laura Frame, clinical psychologist and supervisor of the Supporting Healthy Relationships Program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.
The findings will be published today in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy.