Who is smarter, you or your SO?

I was thinking about this the other day, that in a lot of couples it seems there is ‘the smart one.’ The person who is labeled as smart is usually the one who you would pick to be on your team when you play a trivia game, or who you would call when you are on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” In our house, that would be me, I guess, but I think in most ways my husband is smarter than I am. This got me thinking a little about what we consider when we say a person is smart.

I had an easier time in school than my husband, I got good grades in most subjects, I knew how to study and take tests, I did well in things like standardized testing, I have a college degree. I can write and research a good paper. I am pretty good at trivia games and things like that. I can balance the checkbook and am better at handling the details. He had the opposite experience when it came to school.

If you look at things that really matter in day to day life though, I think my husband is smarter. He can look at anything mechanical and get an idea of how it works. He can take things apart and put them back together, he can fix almost anything. He just has a general sense of how to solve problems like fixing a car, a dryer, installing wiring for a house, plumbing, or new carpet. No one really taught him how to do these things. Even if he has never done it before, he will look at the problem or the item and come up with a solution that works, whether or not it is the textbook way to do it. So in the practical sense, he is always the one getting calls from family and friends to help them with something or to answer questions about anything from technology to home repair. He is the ‘go to’ guy. Yet I think if you asked people who was smarter, they would say me. My husband would say me, too. The only thing I get calls about is if someone needs to know the lyrics to some obscure tv theme song from the 80’s or something.

I think they are wrong, that I am good at school and things that get measured, but he is better at practical life and that is what really matters. We both got labeled as smart or not very smart early on and it just stuck with us, regardless of changes in circumstances. If you were stranded on an island you would want him with you, not me. What do you think? Are you the smart one in your relationship? What does that mean?

My wife and I are both pretty smart, but if you had to pick a “smart one” in the relationship, it would be her. I’m more known for being able to retain inane trivia, but that’s about the only thing I can hold over her.

She’s got the higher IQ, a nearly inhuman ability for handling spacial relationships, and a larger vocabulary than I have. She also reads fully comprehensively at the speed of light, although I’m not sure how that fits into a discussion of intelligence.

But then again, I fell in love with her first and pursued her relentlessly and eventually got her to marry me, so maybe that makes me the smarter one after all. :cool:

Mr. Athena and I are neck and neck as far as raw intelligence. Either that, or he’s so much smarter than me that I’m too dumb to even comprehend it. I know that he’s not dumber than me.

Not only that, but we have the same type of intelligence. We’re both decent at school, very quick to pick up new things, and logical. He’s got me on mechanical things; I have him on literary things. We’re both a bit goofy when it comes to interpersonal relations, but in different ways. Luckily, we relate to each other well.

Thanks for the replies. I am going to expand this a little and ask if people tend to be more attracted to people who are much smarter than they are, or if they tend to be the smart one in relationships. Personally, I am attracted to creativity over smarts. I like it when a guy is very skilled in something and confident in his abilities. But I can also see how a guy being a history buff, for example, would be attractive.

My husband and I are smart in completely different areas. But I did better in school than he did.

I could have written the OP.

I would add that Mr. S is also a huge repository of trivia about music, movies, some sports, pop culture, history, current events, and so on. He seems to know a little bit about everything. He reads a lot on a wide variety of subjects (whereas I tend to have pet topics and those that I avoid) and has an amazing memory and instant recall. He is very good at verbal debate as he can often see both sides of an issue and present facts for either, on the spot.

I have the higher tested IQ, math aptitude, general scholastic ability, and academic record, and I’ve always been “the brain” in my circles, but his intelligence blows me away.

I need to be with someone who is intelligent, and even though my guy doesn’t have the credentials to show it, he fits the bill quite nicely.

Velma, our household is much like yours.

Mrs. Stone has her doctorate while I dropped out of college. She can read people like an open book while I’m totally oblivious to them. She remembers peoples names and birthdays just on hearing them once and never forgets while I once took a month to learn new co-workers names and every year my mom calls me up to remind me to come over for her birthday because she knows I’d forget if she didn’t. It’s her financial acuity that will allow us to buy a house in the next year while I can barely remember that bills ever need to be paid.

On the other hand, she gets lost in parking lots and can’t find the exit while I can return to almost anyplace I’ve ever been just once, even if I’m coming from a different direction on a strange road. Even with 6 cookbooks for reference, she agonises over how to spice a new dish and measures everything carefully while I just look at the spices, smell a couple bottles and haphazardly dump, shake, or pour them into the pot and my dishes come out at least as good if not better than hers most of the time… and she agrees. She’s learned to let me order for her at any new restaurant because she always loves what I pick for her and is unhappy with her own selections. She doubts and questions everything she does while I just do it and know that my choice is right.

We each have areas where we excel, but I think she’s smarter than me.

And to answer your second question, Yes. I clearly like intelligent women, but I also like that she comes from another country and was raised isolated. It allows me to be the teacher of social/cultural aspects seperate from book knowledge. She is growing from intelligent but innocent into intelligent and powerful. And I love seeing it happen.

… Oh, and she is the one who always corrects my spelling and grammer.

I did very well in school, top scores on standardized tests, etc. I’m also a trivia buff, and so I win in that department too. He did well in school, but nothing spectacular. He likes trivia, but not nearly as much as I do.

He can pack a car and use every bit of available space. He can see the most efficient way to do a thing before it’s done, where I just wade in and plug away at it.

If I were to answer this question, I would undoubtedly be the dumber of the two of us. This is one of those questions that, like “Do these jeans make my butt look big?”, has no correct answer, with the possible exception of the “We’re smart in different areas” response.

Yep, that’s me all right. I need to drive there myself a few times before I am sure I can find it, and if too much time passes I will forget how to get there. Riding along is not enough. That is truly an area where I sometimes feel like a complete idiot. I can cook better than him though!

I hope our son inherits his general handiness. It would be nice if he got the easy time in school though too, I must say that saved me a lot of stress. Not that I didn’t have to work at it, but I think I just instinctively ‘got’ how to handle school and tests and papers so I could do well at it.

Definitely me :smiley:

I have always picked intelligent guys to date. They may have had other, less stellar qualities, but intelligence is a must have in my dating criteria. I did date one guy, my senior year in high school, who was not very book smart. He could fix a car, change out my car radio or work on computers without any trouble but he didn’t know the difference between there/their/they’re at the age of 21. College level Math and English courses were hard for him. He was adorable in so many ways, but I cringed everytime I read one of his papers for school.

My girlfriend is the smarter one. I might be more able to provide food & shelter if we crash on a desert island, and I can write & play music, but overall she’s got the better brain.

Responding to the attraction element of it, when I’ve dated women with lesser intelligence, it just wasn’t satisfying. My first High School sweetheart I met in a science extra-credit lab where we were trying to extract the brain & optic nerves from fetal pigs. I thought I was pretty smart being there doing it, but she extracted the whole damn thing undamaged with perfect precision. I scored a 91 in that class, she got a 100, and she was a freshman (it was a sophomore class!) So, I’m attracted to brainpower. I don’t like to feel dumb around her (I’m not attracted to arrogance), but I’m very comfortable with my “She’s smarter than me” arrangement.

Except when we play Trivial Pursuit.

My very first date was in college, with a guy who was super-sweet. Unfortunately, he had some problems that made school a real struggle for him and he was a little slow. I always remember that one evening with great fondness – it was a perfect first date and he was a complete gentleman – but I knew that it would never work long-term, as I needed someone with whom I could match wits, and he wasn’t it. I hope he found some nice girl (and I wasn’t it :wink: ).

That’s it for us as well. We’re also different kinds of smart, apart from our different areas of expertise. She’s exceptionally creative, and a genius when it comes to concepts. I tend to be analytical, and can figure out complex problems simply because I focus very well. We’re very complementary that way- when we are in sync, we’re a formidable team.

Well, she looks better on paper (she’s a bit older, has an advanced degree, has a better job, etc), but she’s always talking about how much smarter I am than she is. I have a feeling she’s getting confused by the fact that I’m better working people and have a bigger vocabulary than she does. There’s also the bit about how, when we’re out, I can babble about what I did in undergrad (political science and philosophy) with someone who hasn’t studied it, and he won’t get very confused or bored - he’ll think he can participate meaningfully in the discussion. She did genetics research as an undergrad, and people will just shrug and say that it’s interesting, but they know they can’t talk meaningfully about that.

So, basically, I’m the lowest common denominator. :slight_smile: And hey, if it keeps other people from thinking she’s worth stealing…

Depends on area. Math is all her. She pays the bills/handles the money. But I do the taxes and handle investing. I’m smarter when it comes to mechanical-type stuff, which is odd considering she is a mechanical engineer, and I’m just starting to become one. But I take care of the cars, and fix whatever needs fixin’ around the house (The old jack of all trades, master of a few). Computers and technology is all me baby. Cooking, I’m a little bit better, but she can definately hold her own. In business she is more sucessful (having owed and sold her own company before we met), but I make more money now. We each have our strong and weak points, but I think that is why we are such a good couple, we compliment each other. Nether of us is “better” than the other, we are just a (good) team.

I’d consider myself the smart one. He might disagree, but he’d be wrong. :wink:

Other than that we are pretty much equal, equally athletic, equally motivated, both good in school. I have a different sort of drive than he does but we are both goal-oriented. I’m the sexy one though.


My wife and I both respect each other’s intelligence which we recognize as each being very different than the other. I have to give her the edge though because she had the discipline to finish a master’s degree and make a career out of it. It’s nice to fancy myself an autodidacat but I’m at best a lazy student.

Well he’s got multiple degrees, including a PhD. I have a higher IQ and a BS and kill at trivia. Pretty much equal but in different ways.

Stonebow, I think you’re the mirror image of me and my SO. I’m the analytical one, he’s the creative one.