This BYU study says marital strife ensues when he thinks she spends too much money

The perception 'true or false' that a wife spends too much money leads couples into marital and financial strife.

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  • AlaskanLDS Juneau, AK
    May 4, 2018 11:21 a.m.

    I understand how concern that your spouse is spending too much money can turn into financial worry and conflict.

    As a woman, I used to be stressed at my husband's spending and then I recognized that he was picking something better and of higher quality than what I would choose. While his choices competed with my saving goals, I have learned that I am a beneficiary of his excess. As long as we had the money, there is no reason for me to worry.

    That does mean that we went over budget on a car and had to scrimp for a few months as we rebuilt our savings, but it had ABS, additional airbags, and other safety features that have protected me while driving in the winter. The conflict also kept us from buying a house for several years. Finally I decided to get out of his way in choosing a house and I couldn't be happier. Yes, it was above the artificial allowance I had set for purchasing a house (still well within our means), but it is in a better neighborhood, of better construction, and provides the space he craves. I may still roll my eyes about the big screen television but thankfully there is a lot less conflict since I started appreciating his eye for quality.

  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    Sept. 5, 2017 3:13 p.m.

    I'll throw in a vote for the "mad money" suggestion. Budget out what's needed for expected bills and so-on, make reasonable allowance for unexpected/variable bills, budget for monthly food costs, and with what's left, decide on a reasonable allowance (aka, "mad money"). If you want something that you can't afford on your allowance, then you have to talk it over and decide if you want to pay for it from the common pot.

    A solid budget will solve most problems. Even if you aren't perfect at keeping to it, just having a goal to strive for will do a lot.

  • gca626 South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 29, 2017 3:07 p.m.

    Worf, totally agree. Strife indicates fighting over things other than the real problem. So we have a spouse that can't identify their dissatisfaction, or does not bring it up for whatever reason. Both are communication issues. Marriage is all about facing issues or dropping them totally.

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    Aug. 29, 2017 12:17 p.m.

    I know this data is from last century. But, Spencer W. Kimball asserted that in his experience counseling husbands and wives, most serious marital discord comes down to one cause (even if the couples won't bring themselves to admit it to others). And, it isn't money/spending, in-laws or how to raise the kids.

  • FelisConcolor Layton, UT
    Aug. 29, 2017 9:48 a.m.

    "I find this really hard to believe and something smells like card stacking here."

    When reading modern "research" on the causes of family problems one must always remember this key fact:

    No matter what the problem is, it's always the husband's fault.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2017 8:32 p.m.

    Most marital fights are over money, sex, in laws, how to raise and discipline children. Obviously, communicating, working together, and being willing to consider the other person's point of view goes a long way. Money is power and usually those earning it have the upper hand with power. Or, those earning the most represent the power. Sometimes it is about power struggles more than about who spent what.

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    Aug. 28, 2017 8:11 p.m.

    pcran- Got to look at something to get those grant dollars (Tax monies). You are right on target with your comment.

  • Commenter88 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 28, 2017 4:29 p.m.

    So am I wrong in inferring the the corollary is:

    Voicing concern over a wife's spending habits is a destructive force in the marriage, but voicing concern for a husband's is not?

    I find this really hard to believe and something smells like card stacking here.

  • pcran84 South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 28, 2017 4:10 p.m.

    Never a shortage of studies that state intuitive rules-of-thumb. I'll get a grant and come up with a study that asserts that people who read more are much more likely to be intelligent.

  • myownway Orem, UT
    Aug. 28, 2017 3:55 p.m.

    "This BYU study says marital strife ensues when he thinks she spends too much money"

    Fixed the headline for you.

    Almost all of the couples I know have a woman who doesn't work or earns less than the man earns, and in the ones where I have observed strife over spending it is because the woman is buying expensive status symbols that are more than the couple can afford. Impartial7 points out that some wives earn more than husbands, and in those situations I have observed the wife has a much greater appreciation for the value of money so these types of fights are less common.

  • Commenter88 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 28, 2017 3:30 p.m.

    You might avoid problems by remembering this simple rule:

    If you spend $50 on a tool and your spouse is upset because you didn't discuss it first, that might be a reasonable position.

    If your spouse then spends $700 on a machine without discussing it with you, then that is a red flag.

    If you bring up the double standard and your spouse asserts you are "controlling," then you have much bigger problems, no matter how much you want to make it work.

    Most relationally aggressive people live through life making accusations and putting others on the defensive so that their own behavior does not get questioned. I think that underneath this study, you'd find it's not so much the words as the accusatory personalities that tend to degrade the financial communication, and the marriage in general.

  • Utefan4Lyf West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 28, 2017 3:29 p.m.

    @Musketman: I completely agree. I'd love it if my wife occasionally bought something just because she wanted it. I consistently hear "well I don't really need it." Of course it does make it easier for Christmas and birthdays, as long as I remember.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Aug. 28, 2017 3:25 p.m.

    Money/spending, sex, and how to raise the kids are likely to remain 3 of the most common areas of marital disagreement.

    And of course, when talking about real marriage, between a man and a woman, there will always be gender differences. To the haters, notice that the article talks about the perception husbands have about how their wife spends money. It also discusses the perception of wives about how their husband spends money.

    Turns out, men and woman react differently to these things. Big shock. Men and women are different.

    But for those looking for a reason to bash BYU or the culture of Utah, small things like facts don't much matter. Just bigotries looking for a reason to vent.

    As Dave Ramsey points out, how we spend money is really a window into what we value. Conflicts there will certainly put stresses on a marriage.

    It is well to discuss these matters as a couple progresses toward marriage. Good communication will avoid or solve many problems. But fundamental differences in (financial and other) priorities might well indicate that a couple are not likely to make a good partnership.

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    Aug. 28, 2017 2:48 p.m.

    One more point. Your social group, with women earning as much or more than their husbands is not the norm in America (and definitely not in Utah). Check out the wage gap article recently publish by Deseret News.

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    Aug. 28, 2017 2:38 p.m.

    I appreciate your perspective.

    It seems like we all want to see sexism in everything these days. This study seems to have a sexist slant, but the study results ring true to me.

    The study specifically said that it is men thinking their wives spend too much that leads to significant marital strife. Women thinking their husband spends too much also leads to strife, but not as much. Seems about right to me. Women tend to be more forgiving and tolerant of their husband's quirks.

    One takeaway is that more men need to grow up and be less judgmental and more tolerant and understanding, like their wives.

  • Musketman Stansbury Park, UT
    Aug. 28, 2017 2:24 p.m.

    I have the exact opposite problem. I dont think my wife spends enough on just her. Not the kids, or the house hold, just her. I tell her all the time, go out and buy something just because you want it, not that we need it!

  • Me, Myself and I The Promised Land, UT
    Aug. 28, 2017 2:04 p.m.

    Obviously this could go either way, with either the husband or the wife spending too much. Finances have long been attributed to marital problems. Did they really need a study to come to this conclusion?

  • Old Jake Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2017 1:35 p.m.

    The answer is to make more money AND keep your spending in check.

    Don't let money rule you. Geez. Get a night job cleaning something once a week. That pays for a car right there for not a lot of work.

    Comparison is root of unhappiness. Just live your life and be happy.

  • Holy-Schamoly-What Baloney Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 28, 2017 1:31 p.m.

    Why all the BYU bashing? That wasn't the subject of the article at all. Talk about getting off on a tangent...

    I am grateful my wife wasn't into designer clothes and expensive jewelry, just as two examples that would have given me heartburn. On the other side, she had to force me to buy new clothes as I wasn't into that, either. We both dress adaquatly.

    I gave her the pay check and she paid the bills and ran the house. I could trust her and she verified anything she had a question about. We were both generous when it came to tipping for services like a cab ride, someone working in our yard or a restaurant meal. I told her I'd rather be known for being generous than being a tightwad.

    In some marriages, what the husband makes is "theirs" and what the wife makes is "hers." I never quite understood that. But I am glad I didn't live under the draconian rules patriotstate suggests as spontaneous purchases, not taken to extreme but being reasonable, can be rewarding. A spouse deserves to occasionally be pampered or surprised for either a special occasion or no reason at all. That often produces positive results, even tears of gratitude.

    Aug. 28, 2017 1:30 p.m.

    It took research to determine this?

  • don17 Temecula, CA
    Aug. 28, 2017 1:26 p.m.

    As Worf said in the first comment it comes down to communication. Other comments have attacked gender based on biases learned or built up. A couple recognizing the need for communication and then fairly analyzing their own strength and weaknesses and their collective strengths and weaknesses will help limit the issues discussed here. Set goal, set perameters and learn how to achieve them. My parents did this. Dad was good at making money and mom was great at handling the family and business finances. That formula worked well with us kids as well. Communicate respectfully. I do not ever remember my dad writing a check and I do not remember my parents arguing on money.
    If you need help might I suggest any books you can find from Dave Ramsey. He will save your family if the issues you have are tough. The best 20 dollars a family can spend is on a book by him. He is on the radio too. His works should be part of every high school graduation requirement.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Aug. 28, 2017 12:43 p.m.

    Kind of a sexist slant. Many of the guys that I know, have wives that make as much as them, or in some cases more than them. I'm sure that wasn't the target zone of a BYU study, but it's real life.

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    Aug. 28, 2017 12:29 p.m.

    "Believe me this strife due to spending problems can and does go both ways."

    Certainly. The study doesn't deny that.

    "but it often is the male who has bad spending habits."

    The study doesn't deny that either.

    "I am not surprised by the study's emphasis on wives spending too much (considering the source)"

    What do you mean by that? I know you hate BYU, and this seems like just another jab, but it seems like you are implying that BYU thinks men are superior to women. The study is simply saying that the man thinking the woman spends too much is more likely to result in marital strife than the woman thinking the man spends too much. It wasn't an absolute "women spend too much and it makes the man mad so they get in fights" kind of a finding, yet you almost make it sound like it.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    Aug. 28, 2017 12:24 p.m.

    Unfortunately, many women will judge a man based on looks, and money.

    Not a formula for a happy, and smooth marriage.

  • patriotstate Cedar City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2017 10:23 a.m.

    Really simple:
    1. Discuss and agree on all spending beforehand.
    2. Do not enter a store (brick and mortar or online) without a list, and buy NOTHING that is not on the list.
    3. Buying something on sale that was not on the list is not saving money.
    4. Be accountable for everything that you purchase.
    5. Hold your spouse accountable for everything that they purchase.

    ... if only we could do this at my house !

  • annieq Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2017 10:20 a.m.

    When we had kids at home I did most of the shopping for groceries and clothes. I also registered the kids for school and was aware of all the expenses for that. Obviously I spent most of the money and I am sure a lot of other wives out there do the same to take care of our families.

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    Aug. 28, 2017 9:57 a.m.

    Believe me this strife due to spending problems can and does go both ways. I am not surprised by the study's emphasis on wives spending too much (considering the source), but it often is the male who has bad spending habits.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    Aug. 28, 2017 8:29 a.m.

    Lack of communication.