Instead of genuinely fighting wars of words about a subject in order to be the victor, parters who are married have been found to back down if they won the previous disagreement.
This ‘taking in turns’ strategy was revealed after studies were done with 82 couples, who were asked their preferred option on two outings.
Couples were asked (both individually then together) whether they would prefer a meal at a famous restaurant or a night out at the theatre.
If their preferences conflicted they were asked to agree somehow on the preferred choices.
The second event choice given was a day’s karting together or a dance class.
Research showed that husbands and wives took it in turns to get their own way – but unmarried couples did not.
The researchers were led by Alistair Munro, professor of economics at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo. The studies concluded that married couples “focused on maintaining fairness in their relationships”.
Findings will be presented this week at the Royal Economic Society annual conference, at Royal Holloway, University of London.