Do The Dishes, Talk Less: Secrets To A Happy Marriage?

Remember when The Rules came out? In a nutshell it explained how a return to traditional ways and values could rescue modern day marriage. Like having dinner ready for when your husband came home. Not arguing. Always being up for sex.

The uproar was brutal. Women all over the world saw The Rules as a manual on how to become a subservient wife, not an equal partner in a marriage.

Well, an editor at the Wall Street Journal has just co-authored a new book called “Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage and Dirty Dishes” and it’s set to stir things up all over again.

Paula Szuchman says there are lessons to be learnt – from economics no less – on creating a successful marriage. Some of these are:

1. Talk less:

Don’t overload your spouse with the unnecessary. If they’ve just been at work all day and you bombard them with petty details about the neighbour’s boiler or the bargains at the supermarket, they are going to explode with information overload. Szuchman says the same rules apply when arguing: stick to the point and don’t drag in every thing they’ve ever done wrong.

2. Lose weight:

We all tend to get a bit lazy after we’ve shacked up with someone, but Spousonomics advises couples to ditch the excuses and lose that post-marriage weight. It’ll make you as a person healthier and happier, and in turn your relationship will benefit.

3. Do the dishes:

Take a deep breath. Szuchman says while we all think we have equal relationships, does your partner really help out as much as you like? And doesn’t that cause unvented frustration? So the book is basically just saying: do the dishes and keep the peace.

4. Put out:

The #1 reason couples say why they’ve stopped having sex? Too tired. And according to the book, this simply helps marriages fail. So do something about it, the same way you do your actual job: you wake up and you go for it. Keep it simple, fast and fun.

5. Scheme

Keeping to the business side of things: think strategically. That may sound cold and calculating, but think of it like playing a game. Szuchman says “marriage is really just a two-person repeated game. In the game, each person is trying to achieve the best results possible, given the limitations that there’s another person involved.”

What do you think? Are these ideas too harsh or do we need a strong dose of reality to save modern day marriage?