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Secrets to a Happy Marriage

Are Scheming, Sex, and Working Out the Secrets to a Happy Marriage?

The coauthor of February must read Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage and Dirty Dishes is causing a stir on the Internet. Much like Tiger Mom Amy Chua, a piece in the Wall Street Journal, this time about maintaining a happy marriage, is to blame. Applying economic principles to spousal relationships, Paula Szuchman identified the "secrets" to a long-lasting marriage. They are:

  1. Talk less. "When it comes to nagging reminders about what your spouse still has to do after a long day working for the man — take out the recycling, walk the dog, write a thank-you letter, defrost the chicken, fix the stereo — keep a lid on it."
  2. Lose weight. "While you're at it, don't wear sweatpants around the house all the time."
  3. Do the dishes. "Do the dishes because you just might be better at them, and faster, and less likely than your spouse is to leave them out overnight."
  4. Put out. "In Spousonomics, we suggest people lower the costs of having sex in order to up demand. Keep it simple, fast and fun."
  5. Scheme. "If your friends invite you for a weekend away, no spouses, and you want to go, you naturally start thinking about how you can make this happen with minimal fuss, what you can offer your spouse in return, how to bring it up, when to bring it up, and what type of flowers to present as graft when you're in the midst of bringing it up."

Szuchman surely saw a backlash coming and followed up the piece by explaining that it's not just directed toward women. And she admits that she knows many more men who have let themselves go, and plenty of women who want to have more sex than their husbands. She says her message is really about staying healthy, pleasant, and willing to compromise. Do you find it refreshing, or offensive?

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