We all make mistakes in marriage. We are each of us human and we’re fallible and fragile, no matter how much we love our spouses. The important thing is to identify the mistakes we make and start over with new behaviors and attitudes. Better yet, identify common mistakes and learn to avoid them altogether!
The Prevention magazine website has a great article called “7 Marriage Mistakes Even Smart Couples Make” and it gives a rundown of some common and avoidable marriage mistakes that anyone can make. The list is based on a new book that applying to marriage the laws and truths of economics. The book, “Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage & Dirty Dishes” has a unique perspective that authors Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson think can help many couples.
Here are 3 of what we think are the most common marriage mistakes even smart people make:
1. Splitting the work 50/50.
You would think this sounds like a good plan, but Szuhman and Anderson say it leads to counterproductive score-keeping that can cause some more serious issues later.
It’s better to use a system similar to what economists call ‘comparative advantage,’ where each of you is responsible for what you’re best at, relative to other tasks. You might handle all the bills, grocery shopping, and laundry, while your spouse sweeps and mops and fixes things when they break. Some weeks, you’ll end up doing more, other times it might be 75/25 in his favor—but you don’t keep track because if your husband handled the grocery shopping, you might end up with a pantry full of Tostitos.”
2. Waiting until you’re in the mood to make love.
This mistake is easily made by the smartest of couples. It seems logical, but it’s also a slippery slope that can deteriorate your love life.
The economist George Loewenstein developed a theory called the hot-cold empathy gap, which says we have two selves: a cold, clear-headed rational self and a hot, impulsive emotional self.”
Your emotional self might not want to make love because you’ve had a bad day, feel fat or want to watch your favorite show. Your cool-headed self will make love because it communicates love and affection, makes your spouse happy and is good for your marriage. Listen to your cool-headed self. besides, once you get started, you usually get in the mood!
3. Assuming a rough patch is the end of the world.
This is especially common in new marriages. You expect things to be perfect and when they’re not, you assume that the marriage was a mistake, when marriages actually go up and down, just like the economy.
Embrace the rough patches and borrow a concept from economics called ‘creative destruction,’ or innovating in the face of crisis, and think up a novel solution to an issue that keeps dividing you.”
Please check out the article to see the other seven common marriage mistakes and the authors’ innovative use of economics to avoid or correct them.