Husbands and wives take it in turns to win arguments while unmarried couples do not, a novel experiment has found.
Rather than always battling it out to be the one who prevails, married couples tend to back down after they have won a previous argument.
Economists looking at the issue drew their conclusions from a study of 82 couples, who were asked about their preferences for two outings.
They were asked - individually and then together - whether they would prefer a meal at a famous restaurant or a night at the theatre.
If they disagreed they were asked to agree on a collective decision.
They were also asked if they would prefer a day's karting together or a dance class.
Researchers found that husbands and wives took it in turns to get their own way - but unmarried couples did not.
The researchers, led by Alistair Munro, professor of economics at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, concluded that married couples "focused on maintaining fairness in their relationships".
They will present their findings this week at the Royal Economic Society annual conference, at Royal Holloway, University of London.