I came across a new word today in the Daily Mail, “spousonomics”, the definition being an economics approach to marriage to make it work. The authors argue that all the resources in a marriage including time, finances, energy, etc., are limited resources that need to be allocated in a manner that will strengthen a marriage. The advice is that we should approach our marriage as a business venture, where in the event of things going wrong, we use thinking processes to resolve issues and apply the basic economic principles rather than emotions.
Economic theories come into play too, the paper continues. It makes reference to comparative advantage — division of labor in the allocation of duties in the home and putting values on each task. We are advised to think like economists when it comes to the losses in comparison to the good we enjoy. Then there is the demand curve in relation to sexual pleasure; this too we are informed, has a cost attached to it and having a sense of marginal costs is helpful!
There are short term decisions that have long term implications too, for example doing things now that are beneficial in the long term. When the marriage bubble bursts, there is advice for surviving those difficulties too: plot on a graph your degree of happiness, then do that again after some time, capitalize on the collapse and build afresh, we are advised. Finally, the game theory urges the two people to work out strategies that ensure best results for both parties. We are encouraged to think ahead, learn from mistakes and to be empathetic.
Reading through the article, I thought this made sound economic sense; however I am left with the question of where this leaves love, caring, devotion, etc. in the marriage equation.
The Daily Mail,(31/1/11, pp46-47) "Run your marriage with spousonomics" London, ANL