If “Black Friday” put a black mark on your marriage, you’re not alone. A recent survey found that 6-out-of-10 people said that holiday spending creates tension in their households. But psychologist Dorothy Cantor says that holiday spending really just magnifies the financial issues that cause trouble all year long. So, here’s how to fix 3 money traps that ruin marriages:

  • Materialism. According to a study in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, couples who valued money because it can buy fancy things were the least satisfied with their marriages, and were more likely to get divorced. Interestingly enough, it didn’t matter whether the couples were rich or poor, even those who could afford what they wanted were unhappy.
  • Conflicting values. Jeffrey Dew is a professor of Family Development at Utah State University. His research shows that when one spouse believes their partner spends money foolishly, it makes them 45% more likely to divorce. That’s because it can eat away at their respect for their partner. Of course, the definition of foolish varies. For example, some people consider buying even one lottery ticket a waste of money. So if you have big differences when it comes to money, set aside a specific amount that each person can spend any way they want.

  • Not having a plan. Nancy Anderson is a director of the website financialfinesse.com. And she says that many of us don’t realize that we create anxiety by not having a clear understanding of where our money goes. To decrease stress, she suggests making a budget and a list of long-term goals. Then, review your spending on a monthly basis, and your overall progress at least once a year.

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