Friday, March 04, 2011


A new twist on “Home Economics?”

Spousanomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes

By Paula Szuchman, and Jenny Anderson – (Random House; February 2011)

Since its recent release, this book has been soaking up gallons of ink in newspapers, magazines and blogs. No, we haven’t read it yet, but with the upcoming event “Loving Every Minute with You” - And finding more time for “Us” on our spring calendar, the subject naturally piqued our interest.

To begin, the authors ask:

“Have you ever gone to the “dark place” after a fight about who does the dishes more often?

Do you worry that your job is destroying your marriage?

Have you ever sat up at night, remembering how much more fun married life used to be?”


Let’s just assume that many couples could answer “unfortunately, yes” to at least one of these questions at some point in their marriage.

So what comes next?

“Spousonomics” looks at every marriage as “its own little economy with a finite number of resources” (hours in the day, money, sex drive, patience, skill, etc.).

Makes sense….

The practical solution, according to the authors, is to apply “bedrock economic principles” to the home front (thereby maximizing the returns on the largest investment of your life), such as:

  • Division of Labor (Or, Why You Should Do the Dishes)
  • Incentives (Or, Getting Your Spouse to Do What You Want)
  • Trade-offs (Or, The Art of Getting Over It)
  • Supply and Demand (Or, How to Have More Sex)
  • Moral Hazard (Or, the Too-Big-to-Fail Marriage)

It works, some say, because it “doesn't discriminate between the sexes, and eliminates many of those who's 'right' and who's 'wrong' judgmental arguments.”

Postulating that the principles of economics can be the key to marital bliss is indeed an interesting twist. We’ll follow-up with some more details, but for now, we’d love to hear your initial reactions.