10 Signs of Marital Market Failure

Source: U.S. Army

I just went back to work after baby #2. In general, it’s been great. It’s nice to sit at my desk without a small person demanding to see Katy Perry and Elmo on YouTube, and I really dig going to the bathroom without anyone asking if I plan to pee or poop.

But the transition at home hasn’t been so smooth. My return to work coincided with two weeks of back-to-back work dinners for my husband and early-morning breakfasts, not to mention a crisis in Japan which meant lots of late night phone calls. I felt like not only was I back at work, but I was 100% in charge of the kids. Which meant fighting about the fact that I felt like I was 100% in charge of the kids. (What happened to our comparative advantages?!)

A week of constant bickering was evidence that our marriage market was failing.  We’re working on how to reset it, rejiggering our comparative advantages now that we have two kids instead of one, and two careers instead of one and a maternity leave.

Fortunately, I know I’m not the only person to experience this. In addition to two weeks of tension and intermittent silent treatments, here are some other signs of marriage market failure to look out for:

1) Burned-out kitchen light bulbs that go unreplaced for six weeks

2) Military push ups sound better than sex

3) A bottle of wine. Per person. Per night.

4) A raised bump in the middle of the bed and sheets that haven’t been washed since last obligatory lovemaking session, seven months ago

5) Indecision, especially around what to have for dinner, what to do Friday night, whether to go to bed at 9:30 or 9:45

6) Love handles, man hooters, hairy legs

7) Eagerness to go to dentist—on a Saturday

8) Another dive into “The Brothers Karamazov” to fend off romantic advances

9) Newfound interest in woodworking

10) Soul death

Posted in arguing

5 Responses to 10 Signs of Marital Market Failure

  1. Jeff Smith says:

    I recognize that Chicago economists generally see fewer market failures than do others, but I am somewhat missing the market failure here. For example, if the kitchen has many lights, and you are both in the midst of a transitory upward shock to the value of time, why isn’t it optimal to leave the burned-out bulb unreplaced for a while? Similarly, isn’t deferring non-essential leisure activities, such as sex, and personal maintenance, i.e. the love handles, also potentially optimal?

  2. I just heard you on CBC radio, what a refreshing perspective!
    Too bad you were not around 31 years ago when I was where you are now.

    In case this helps: I found the adjustment to 2 kids harder on the marriage than the initial adjustment to parenthood, and heard the same from others. Be prepared to weather some tough times. They do grow up and it gets better again.

  3. Pingback: Fab Posts Friday: Chalkboard Paint Fun, Marriage Market Failure, Gratitude, and More! | Man Wife And Dog Blog

  4. ManWifeDog says:

    Hey Jenny! LOVE THIS LIST! In fact, I love it so much I included a link to it in my Fab Posts Friday roundup on Man Wife and Dog Blog! Hope you enjoy. Congrats on the new baby! I’m off to see if there are any signs my marriage may be having a market fail moment.

    Fab Posts Friday: Chalkboard Paint Fun, Marriage Market Failure, Gratitude, and More!

  5. Clint says:

    Confucius says: wife who corners sex market supply and demand.

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