What's Love Got To Do With It? - Treating Marriage Like a Business

In the US, 3.6 people in every 1,000 get divorced each year. In India, 1.1 people in every 1,000 do so. There are a multitude of reasons for this discrepancy, of course, but it would be difficult to ignore the fact that there are a lot more arranged marriages in India than there are here. For better or worse, it appears that approaching marriage pragmatically - rather than emotionally - leads to greater long-term success.

Journalists Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson concur on this point. Their new book, Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes, is all about treating marriage like a business. At first glance, this is pretty hard to take for the more romantically inclined among us, but the reality is that most marriages outlive the romance. 

Which is not to say that romance shouldn't be a part of the path to nuptial nirvana, it's just that the fluttering eyelids and tummies won't get the dishes done or the bills paid, and there's nothing like an overflowing sink or a lien on your car to ruin an otherwise rosy romance.

That's why Szuchman and Anderson suggest you look at the reality of life together before you blow your life savings on a fairytale wedding. Specifically, how do you plan to deal with what they term Division of Labor, Incentives, Trade-offs, Supply and Demand, and Moral Hazard? Because if you don't confront the reality, chances are the dream will look more and more like a nightmare.

Here's Szuchman demonstrating one of the principles in the book:

What do you think about treating marriages like a business. Do you think it would help relationships be more successful?