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Does a Bad Economy Lead to Happier Marriages? — Dollars and Sense

Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Flickr

While a depressed economy may be bad for your job prospects, a new study finds it could actually be good for your marriage.

Working with the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, psychologists Lisa Diamond and Angela Hicks discovered spouses who at least partially blame the overall state of the economy for their lousy personal financial states are more likely to experience higher relationship satisfaction.

More than 600 American couples were asked about the state of their marriages and their finances, and what they believed was to blame for any problems they were experiencing on either front. The results showed 48 percent blamed both the economy and their partner, 42 percent blamed neither, and only three percent blamed just their partner.

The researchers theorize, then, that the partners in the most satisfied couples were the likeliest to place some responsibility for their money woes on factors outside their relationship — such as the national economy.

Men, however, tended to report increased relationship satisfaction only when none of the blame for the family’s financial issues was directed at them, leading Dr. Diamond to believe the societal role of the male breadwinner — dated as it may be — is still firmly ingrained in the minds of many men.


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