We interviewed hundreds of couples for Spousonomics. We talked to everyone we knew about their marriages. We collected a lot of great stories. Here’s one that shows the value of a smart trade-off.
Ever since she was 15, Lindsay had her own car. But when she got married, she and her husband sold their cars and bought a Honda–to share. After they had their daughter, they made a rule that whoever took her to day care would keep the car for the day, leaving the other person home without a ride (they both worked from home most days).
This didn’t bother Jeff. But it made Lindsay kind of crazy. “I felt trapped,” she said. She missed being able to get in HER car, when SHE wanted to and just drive. She hated being home all day with a narcoleptic dog and an unreliable bus schedule. “Hands down, the biggest trade-off of getting married was giving up my autonomy.”
Money was tight and a second car seemed excessive. But the more she thought about it, the more she realized that putting some money toward a second car might have a huge impact on her happiness. This was thinking at the margin–looking for small ways to make big changes. They could cut back on organic almonds and magazine subscriptions if they had to. After much negotiation, they bought a $1,700 used Saab. No car seat allowed.