Washington: If you want to lead a happy married life both the partners just need to economize their time and effort. Jenny Anderson and Paula Szuchman talks about how couple can economize their effort in their book ''Spousonomics''.
Common wisdom suggests that happy couples share responsibilities like laundry, dishes and cleaning.
And according to a survey by the Pew Research Center, the most important things in a successful marriage are faithfulness, sex, and sharing household chores.
But the authors say that while dividing every chore may seem fair, economics says it is folly.
"If you’re doing half and I’m doing half of each task, then the time we’re spending on everything is actually greater than if we specialize," Szuchman said.
Take, for instance, a hypothetical couple, Jack and Jane. It takes Jack 30 minutes to do the laundry and 20 minutes to walk the dog. Jane can do the laundry in 45 minutes and walk the dog in 25.
If they each do the tasks half the time, it would take them a total of 420 minutes per week.
Even though Jack is better at both tasks, it’s in the couple’s interest to split responsibilities according to ability and take advantage of what economists call comparative advantage.
"Everybody has to do something. This is a system for dividing it up in a way that’s more efficient," Szuchman said.
It all boils down to simple supply and demand. In business, when the cost of something goes up, the demand goes down.
"This can be true for sex as well. When you make it cheaper -- and we don’t mean in monetary terms, we mean in terms of time and energy -- demand for it can rise," Anderson said.
“Couples can have "cheaper" sex, the economists say, by finding different times of the day. Make it a priority and don’t wait until you’re in bed ready for sleep”.
And on disagreements and fights, the economists say the old advice to keep talking and never go to bed angry, does not work well.
Economics says that sometimes, at least, the best thing is to simply shut up and stay angry.
"We hate to lose. Economists have quantified that we hate to lose twice as much as we like to win," Anderson stated.
So to combat that instinct, they say, it’s better simply to go to bed angry and wake up in the morning with a clear head.
And even when frustrations boil over, Szuchman and Anderson says it’s vital to remember how great marriage can be and try to make things work.