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Are you happy in your marriage—except for those weekly spats over who empties the dishwasher more often? Not a single complaint—unless you count the fact that you haven’t had sex since the Bush administration? Prepared to be there in sickness and in health—so long as it doesn’t mean compromising? Be honest: Ever lay awake thinking how much more fun married life used to be?
If you’re a member of the human race, then the answer is probably “yes” to all of the above. Marriage is a mysterious, often irrational business. Making it work till death do you part—or just till the end of the week—isn’t always easy. And no one ever handed you a user’s manual.
Until now. With Spousonomics, Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson offer something new: a clear-eyed, rational route to demystifying your disagreements and improving your relationship. The key, they propose, is to think like an economist.
That’s right: an economist.
Economics is the study of resource allocation, after all. How do we—as partners in a society, a business, or a marriage—spend our limited time, money, and energy? And how do we allocate these resources most efficiently? Spousonomics answers these questions by taking classic economic concepts and applying them to the domestic front. For example:
• Arguing all night isn’t a sign of a communication breakdown; you’re just extremely loss-averse—and by refusing to give an inch, you’re risking even greater losses.
• Stay late at the office, or come home for dinner? Be honest about your mother-in-law, or keep your mouth shut and smile? Let the cost-benefit analysis make the call.
• Getting your spouse to clean the gutters isn’t a matter of nagging or guilt-tripping; it’s a question of finding the right incentives.
• Being “too busy” to exercise or forgetting your anniversary (again): your overtaxed memory and hectic schedule aren’t to blame—moral hazard is.
• And when it comes to having more sex: merely a question of supply and demand!
Spousonomics cuts through the noise of emotions, egos, and tired relationship clichés. Here, at last, is a smart, funny, refreshingly realistic, and deeply researched book that brings us one giant leap closer to solving the age-old riddle of a happy, healthy marriage.
My opinion: Usually I don't read books on marriage help, thinking I've got everything all figured out. I admit now I was wrong; thanks to this book, I have learned a lot of tips and tricks to make my marriage better. The authors use common terms and concepts normally used in economics and apply it to marriage. Better yet, they throw in case studies of couples that used these approaches with great results. It helped to cement the fact that although some of these ideas seem small, they can have a big impact. Such as, when approaching the concept of chores, it's more efficient to assign tasks based on who does which chore better (quicker); this was the concept of specialization. It might not be the chore you enjoy the most, but the quicker these unpleasant tasks get done, the more time you have to spend with your spouse. Another concept I found very interesting was loss aversion. People hate losing and most arguments turn into who can win, and lose the bigger picture of why they're even fighting. They point out that it is best to "sleep on it". If it still bothers you in the morning, confront your spouse; if not, then let it go. I guess you could also call it "picking your battles" or "don't sweat the small stuff". A lot of sections of this book had me chuckling to myself and in a lot of the case studies I could relate to some of their struggles. The economics portions were quite boring to me, but it is obviously essential to the book, relating ideas in economics to marriage, and the authors did explain all of the concepts very thoroughly so that even someone with no economics knowledge (for example, ME!) could understand. All in all, this book was very informative, witty, and definitely brought up some good points. I will definitely be using some of these tips and tricks to better my marriage (guess I'll be doing the laundry from now on, even though I hate it...hey if it means more time with my hubby it's worth a shot!)
My rating: 3/5 stars
My rating: 3/5 stars