Solving spousal disputes with Science!

Yesterday I bought two outdoor-thermometers to settle a minor dispute between myself and my husband.
It was a beautiful, hot (for here), sunny day, but with a nice breeze, and he wanted to keep the windows closed. I wanted them open.

We started out with two different sources of information, can’t be helped we learn from difference places.
So, I have read plenty about the science of greenhouses, and had always thought that allowing light through windows and not having them open, would result in that condition.
My husband had read science about heat transfer, which suggest that keeping the windows closed can keep a cool house temperature regulated due to keeping the air as a mostly closed system, like a thermos but with windows.

So we both agreed that keeping shades drawn on the windows was a good idea, but I’m not sure that keeping them closed is such a wise choice.

If a house is heating up due to secondary factors (absorption of heat through the roof/walls/windows if poorly insulated) then keeping it a mostly closed system is impossible, and not having moving air would be more detrimental than helpful.
Of course, my husband pointed out that there is reason to believe that based on insulation in the floor and walls of our house (apartment) may be pretty okay, sound suppression is good here. However that’s for the floor and inner wall, as I pointed out it might be cruddy in the roof and outer wall section since in the winter it gets quite cool easily, and for shedding or keeping heat those areas are more important.

Ergo, we both had points, but clearly needed more data.
Thus the thermometers.
Both are the same model, one for the outside, one for the inside, and we’ll compare the temperatures. If they are often reading the same, we can have it either way and it won’t matter.
If one reads hotter than the other, we’ll know which way to keep things.

We both acknowledge that it may vary based on the day, it also may vary based on the time of day (In fact I’m sure it will.) however, either way it means we have a focus and data to discuss. So instead of being in a deadlock of having differing opinions, we can make informed choices based on testing and checking solid information.

Sometimes all you need is a little science.
(Laymen science, but gathering data and testing it is science none the less.)

Fact checking and solid data collection can fix a surprising amount of disagreements. It’s something my brothers and I have always done, but incorporating it into disputes with my husband has provided a good middle ground where both of us can know it’s not emotional bias guiding the others stance.
Differing opinions on the abstract or social issues are an exception to this, some things are more about emotional swaying and would have to be resolved with emotional appeals or sometimes logical propositions if one can be made.
So there will still be some disputes which can’t be easily resolved… But if we “science” most of the things, they are few and far in between.
This has been working quite okay for us. πŸ™‚

So far, in this particular case, we’ve kept the windows closed all day, and the temperature has been the same inside and out, so we know we are able to chose to have it either way, and it doesn’t have to irritate the other. No need for fighting if we both know it makes no difference. Tomorrow maybe we’ll have them open all day and see if there is a difference then.
Probably we’ll repeat this process several times, (Having a larger sample size often yield more accurate results. ;D ) but throughout there’ll be no more need for argument, only discussion.
That makes me happy, makes us both happy in fact.

How do you solve your disputes?
Do you think this would work for you with your family or spouse?
Any suggestions?


5 thoughts on “Solving spousal disputes with Science!

  1. Oh I only wish this would work with my husband! But science does not come easily to him (he’s humanities trained) and he seems to think that data can still carry emotional bias. I envy you this strategy in your relationship πŸ™‚

    • Ah man, yeah I could see why that would be a struggle. I wish for your sake that he was more open to it, because it really does provide a good neutral ground.

      I kind of see where he might be coming from, in that data can we twisted by choosing a method that most supports a personal theory, (Like if my husband had picked the coldest most secluded spot in the house for the thermometer) which is why double blinds are needed in good science. But the humanities do use data for statistics though, and it has to be gathered somehow.
      For individuals, this is why we both have to collect it, and both get a say in how to collect it.

      There’s a chance we couldn’t agree, in which case we would do both our ideas and then compare and/or average them. If data is going to have biases, they’ll have both our biases, and where they line up will be the truth. (If he’d stuck it in the coldest place then I’d have stuck two more up, one in the hottest place, and one in a neutral spot.)
      Maybe he could agree to that kind of thing? Like knowing that you’d both get to seek the truth.

      Seeking the truth though, is actually the reason this method can be hard for a lot of people, I think.
      Both parties have to want to know the truth, and they have to want to know it more than they want to *feel* correct.
      That’s hard, because risking finding out you’re wrong is hard.
      But, I think it’s better to be wrong for the right reasons than think your right for the wrong reasons. Learning includes a lot of finding out that it’s okay to be wrong, and it’s okay to not know. πŸ™‚

  2. Pingback: Power in relationships | In & Out, Up & Down: Dysthymia Bree's Musings On Mental Health and Psychiatric Wards

  3. As a scientist who lives with an IT dude. We often say ‘stand back I’m going to try science’ πŸ™‚

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