I’m late to discover it, but I was recently reading a different WSJ.com story when I found “The Secret to a Happy Marriage: Do the Dishes, Put Out, Don’t Talk So Much” on the list of most popular articles.
On Valentine’s Day, Paula Szuchman, an editor at the Wall Street Journal and co-author of the new book “Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage and Dirty Dishes,” blogged five tips to a better marriage that apply economic theory to relationships.
Szuchman introduces her five tips by saying:
One of the first things people say when they hear about the book is something to the effect of, “Isn’t that kind of unromantic?” Well, yeah. But what’s romantic about dishes, laundry, diapers, bills, mortgages, in-laws, TiVo, company picnics, circular arguments, BlackBerries, hamsters, PTA meetings, and all the million other little things that go into a marriage and detract from the actual romance between two people who once loved each other so much they decided to keep each other company for the rest of their lives?
All that stuff is the business side of marriage, and to navigate it successfully, you don’t need chocolate hearts. You need sound reasoning. You need to be practical and efficient. You need to allocate your scarce resources wisely and make smart trade-offs, so that at the end of the day, you can enjoy the company of that person you promised to have and to hold until death (death!) do you part.
Since we arrived in New Orleans for a wedding, and I am a girl who cries at weddings, we spent several days steeped in that special kind of romance. Who could argue that the spark of your first kiss to the first I love you to the moment you agree to wed aren’t magic?
But one of my first editors, Maria Stuart, taught me that romance is not a dozen roses once a year, it’s your beloved holding your hair while you throw up. So why couldn’t it be romantic to cooperate better on the roommate part of being married so you have more time and energy for enjoying each other?
As you probably gathered from the headline of her article, Szuchman advocates having sex more, talking less, and not worrying so much about 50-50 division of housework. She also says you should lose weight and scheme — or as she says, think strategically.
You can read the whole piece here. Then come on back and let me know if you agree with her theories?
More about marriage:
- 10 marriage lessons learned in 10 years of marriage
- Marriage tips from 10 years of marriage, part II