5 Ways to Make My Marriage More Pareto Efficient

A few months back, Paula fessed up to ways she could make her marriage more Pareto efficient. It was a big deal because once she posted ways she could make her husband’s life better without making her life any worse, he could clearly use them against her.

Pareto efficiency means there’s no simple change that would make either person happier, or just as happy. So if there are things you can do to make your partner happier–and they don’t actually make you any worse off (and really, what makes you THAT worse off?)–then your marriage isn’t yet Pareto efficient.

But like Paula, I believe in the Spousonomics dream. Give an inch, go a mile. So dear husband, here’s my list.

Five Things I can do that won’t make me worse off but will improve your life a lot:

1) Kinder, gentler, softer tone.

2) No more calling you for advice on every decision, like whether to let the exterminator into the house to plant toxic goop on the floor (which our daughter eats off of like it was her dining room table).

3) No more making fun of your woefully bad estimates of how long things take to do, like packing for a three-day family trip  (not to nitpick, but last time you said half-an-hour and it took us almost two once we packed, fed Ella, fed Tess, I pumped, you packed, Ella peed, Tess pooped. Diaper change, snack check, iPod synch. Two hours, that is.)

4) More hugs, less hostility (since it’s not your fault that my editor held the story, the dude with the sketchy ZZ Top beard pushed too hard in the subway, and the Manhattan preschool scene is, um, not rational or reasonable).

5) Sprouts. Lots of them, every kind, every meal. Or every meal but breakfast and lunch.

Bonus: No more existential crises about living in NYC. At least this week.

Erin Collins on Flickr

Posted in negotiating

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