Tired of the same old relationship advice? Why not try applying some economic principles to your marriage? The authors of Spousonomics suggest that by treating your marriage as a marketplace, you can allocate your resources more efficiently and create a more fulfilling relationship. Here are seven surprising mistakes you might be making in your marriage, and how economic principles can help fix them.
These are faults in marriage that can be fixed by relational economics. Unbelievable, but so very true! Follow these principles and you will be happy in your marriage! The economy of relationships is the law!
Fairness versus comparative advantage
One of the mistakes you might be making is trying divide household chores 50/50. But constantly keeping score and striving for perfect sharing can lead to arguments and resentment. Instead, try using the economic principle of comparative advantage. Each partner should be responsible for tasks, in which he is the best, instead of trying to divide everything evenly. In this way, you can allocate time and energy more efficiently and avoid unnecessary arguments.
The hot-cold empathy gap
Another mistake many couples make is waiting until they are "in the mood" for intimacy. But in reality, we're not always in the mood, and waiting too long can lead to months of sexual frustration. Economist George Loewenstein developed the concept of the hot-cold empathic gap, which suggests that we have two selves: the rational, cool self and the impulsive, emotion-driven self. The key is to listen to your cool self and prioritize intimacy even when you're not in the mood.
Acceptance of rough patches
Relationships go through ups and downs, just like the economy. Instead of assuming that a rough patch is the end of the world, try to embrace it as an opportunity for growth. The concept of creative destruction suggests that innovation often occurs in times of crisis. Use this principle to find new solutions to old problems and strengthen your relationship in the process.
Staying up all night to resolve an argument may seem like a good idea, but it can actually do more harm than good. The longer you argue, the more exhausted and resentful you become. Instead, recognize the economic principle of aversion to losing and prioritize the long-term health of your relationship over immediate victory in an argument. Sometimes it's better to go to bed angry and wake up in the morning with a fresh outlook.
The power of transparency
Assuming your partner can read your mind is a recipe for disaster. Instead, use the economic principle of transparency and clearly communicate your needs and desires with your partner. Don't expect your partner to know what you want - tell them! This simple principle can help prevent misunderstandings and strengthen your connection.
The value of commitment
We all have good intentions, but sometimes we don't keep our promises. The solution? Use commitment tools to keep yourself accountable. Send your partner a text promising a back rub, or schedule a personal workout session to force yourself to take care of yourself. These small steps can help build trust and show your partner that you value their needs.
Finally, don't underestimate the power of small changes. Instead of making drastic all-or-nothing decisions, try making gradual changes to improve your relationship. Cook several meals together on the weekends or hire a cleaning service to relieve both partners. By making small changes over time, you can create a more effective and fulfilling marriage.
Research has shown that applying economic principles can be effective in improving relationships. One study found that using the concept of comparative advantage to schedule household chores leads to greater relationship satisfaction and fewer conflicts. Another study showed, that using commitment devices such as setting specific goals and deadlines can help couples keep their promises and build trust.
In addition, the hot-cold empathy gap has been extensively studied in the context of decision-making. One study found that people are more likely to make impulsive, emotion-driven decisions when they are hungry or tired, and acknowledging this fact could help them make better decisions.
Incorporating economic principles—relational economics—into your marriage helps allocate resources more efficiently, communicate more clearly and build a stronger, more fulfilling relationship. By recognizing these common mistakes and applying economic concepts to address them, you can create a more effective and satisfying partnership.