Do YOU Demand Valentine's Gifts?

If your Valentine's Day is all about lavish gifts, your relationship could be on the rocks, new research suggests, according to Daily Mail. 

Researchers analyzed married couples found that higher levels of materialism were linked to a decreased sense of importance of the institution.

The most materialistic were also less happy in their marriage, according to the findings.

Dr Jason Carroll, a professor of marriage and family studies, said couples should avoid focusing on things and instead spend time on their relationships. 

 Psychologists see materialism as valuing money, possessions and outward or tangible signs of status above more internal or interpersonal sources of fulfillment.

That love of things and appearances is thought to come from two place: social messages - through media, family and cultural values, for example - that suggest that we should see these as important, and from insecurities and fears, according o materialism psychologist Dr Tim Kasser's. 

Plenty of research has established that materialism can lead to misplaced expectations of happiness and destructive behavior.   

Dr Carroll said: 'We know materialism can lead to poor money management and that leads to debt and strain.

'But financial factors may not be the only issue at play in these situations  [and] materialism is not an isolated life priority.'

Materialism's problems go deeper than compulsive spending, which, experts say comes from anxiety and the desire to fill a void, rather than attempts to prove worth. 

Dr Carroll and graduate students Ashley LeBaron and Heather Kelly said the findings shed light on what may be one of the roots of the 'dissatisfaction caused by materialism.'

They surveyed 1,310 individuals to measure materialism, perception of marriage importance and marital satisfaction.

Each was given statements such as 'Having nice things today is more important to me than saving for the future' and 'Having money is very important to me.'

Those who agreed with them most strongly were more likely to see marriage as less important - and have less satisfaction from it.

Dr Carroll said that materialism may crowd out other life priorities.

It creates a scarcity of time for other relationship priorities such as communication, conflict resolution and intimacy.

The researchers also found materialism may be associated with a 'possession rather than relationship-oriented approach to happiness.'

In other words materialistic spouses may be seeking happiness in possessions rather than people - meaning they end up putting less time and energy into making their marriage a success.

The study is a continuation of Prof Carroll's previous research on the topic which found when both spouses focus solely on the 'for richer' part of their vows there could be trouble.

LeBaron, the study's lead author, said: 'Marriage dissatisfaction occurs because those who highly value money and possessions are likely to value their marriage less - and are thus likely to be less satisfied in their relationship.'

Despite the findings Dr Carroll believes changes can be made for couples to solve materialism issues.

He said: 'Many people are not fully aware of their materialism or the degree to which the pursuit of money is becoming an unbalanced priority in their life.

'It's helpful for spouses to evaluate and openly discuss the time patterns in their lives and make sure they are devoting enough time to prioritize and strengthen their marriage relationship.'