July 18, 2014

Good and bad marriages

From Science Daily, Marriage and healthy hearts: Correlation between unhappy marital interactions, cardiovascular disease risk

The affairs of the heart may actually affect the affairs of the heart in ways previously not understood.”Growing evidence suggests that the quality and patterns of one’s social relationships may be linked with a variety of health outcomes, including heart disease,” says Thomas Kamarck, professor of psychology and Biological and Health Program Chair in the University of Pittsburgh Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

He is an author of a new study that correlates unhappy marital interaction with thicker carotid arteries and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. “The contribution of this study is in showing that these sorts of links may be observed even during the earliest stages of plaque development [in the carotid artery],” Kamarck continues, “and that these observations may be rooted not just in the way that we evaluate our relationships in general but in the quality of specific social interactions with our partners as they unfold during our daily lives.” Nataria Joseph, who recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship under Kamarck, is the lead author of the paper, published this month in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. Given the size of the effect in the study and the relationship between carotid artery plaque and disease, Joseph’s findings, made at Pitt, indicate that those with marital interactions light on the positive may have an 8.5 percent greater risk of suffering heart attack or stroke than those with a surfeit of good feelings. 

Dr Greg comments in   Can A Bad Marriage Kill You? Study Says, “Yes, and A Good Marriage May Heal.”

More and more, research is showing that the quality of our relationships has tremendous impact on our physical and emotional health.  I think this is another area where there is increasing agreement between psychology and theology.  For instance, Dr. Dan Siegel– a founder of the developing field of Interpersonal Neurobiology which looks at how relationships affect health and neurological functioning–argues that it is foolish to think of an individual as apart from his relationships.

He argues that, in a sense, there is a flow of energy within the relationships between people that interacts with and impacts the functioning of the mind and body of each individual in the relationship on an atomic level.  The effects of this interaction can be observed–if not the process itself–in the way different relational and environmental states have been shown to impact gene expression and the development of new neural connections throughout the brain and nervous system.  When I read his work, I am often reminded of Pope St. John Paul the Great’s argument in his Theology of the Body that just as the Trinity is a communion of three distinct but united persons, the human beings made in the image and likeness of that Communion are also, at their most basic level, best understood to be inseparable from the communion of persons in which they participate. The Takeaway I realize that’s all rather thick language and if I lost you, it doesn’t really matter because the larger point is still clear enough.  Namely, that the well-being of each human person is intimately tied to the quality of his or her relationship with others and that is exactly as God intended it to be. The takeaway is that taking care of your relationships may be just as important as diet and exercise for longevity and health.   Even if you don’t feel like working on your marriage for the sake of your partner, for instance, you may want to work on it out of a commitment to your own well-being because avoiding the work isn’t punishing your partner as much as it may be punishing yourself. If you fail to do the work that your intimate relationships require, you may literally be breaking your own heart.

As Charles Murray said in Advice for a Happy Life

A good marriage is the best thing that can ever happen to you. Above all else, realize that this cliché is true. The downside risks of marrying—and they are real—are nothing compared with what you will gain from a good one.

Consider Marrying Young.  You've got to wait until the right person comes along. I'm just pointing out that you shouldn't exclude the possibility. If you wait until your 30s, your marriage is likely to be a merger. If you get married in your 20s, it is likely to be a startup.  …What are the advantages of a startup marriage? For one thing, you will both have memories of your life together when it was all still up in the air. You'll have fun remembering the years when you went from being scared newcomers to the point at which you realized you were going to make it.

Even more important, you and your spouse will have made your way together. Whatever happens, you will have shared the experience. And each of you will know that you wouldn't have become the person you are without the other.

Many merger marriages are happy, but a certain kind of symbiosis, where two people become more than the sum of the individuals, is perhaps more common in startups.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:37 AM | Permalink

March 28, 2014

Some shocking quotes from feminists

"Housewives] are dependent creatures who are still children…parasites" - Gloria Steinim

"No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one." - Simone de Beauvoir

"[Housewives] are mindless and thing-hungry…not people. [Housework] is peculiarly suited to the capacities of feeble-minded girls. [It] arrests their development at an infantile level, short of personal identity with an inevitably weak core of self…. [Housewives] are in as much danger as the millions who walked to their own death in the concentration camps. [The] conditions which destroyed the human identity of so many prisoners were not the torture and brutality, but conditions similar to those which destroy the identity of the American housewife. " Betty Friedan

Quotes sourced by Genevieve Wood via Stuart Schneiderman who asks Who Are the Real Misogynists?

Sunshine Mary has sympathy for a victim, a baffled spinster who wonders why she can't find a husband despite being in shape and making $100k a year who wrote "I just wanted to make things clear I didn’t “sleep around.” Most of my relationships have been long term I have only been with 18 guys”

Feminists have sold young women a bill of goods, that they can live like men, work like men, have sex like men, and then turn back into women when they feel like it.  We laugh at a woman like this sometimes and make fun of her and say, “Didn’t she know that she’d end up like this?”

No, she didn’t know that.  That’s because when you are 17 years old, you don’t know much, especially in this culture of extended adolescence.  And when you have been told from a very young age that, as a girl, it is your destiny to Have It All exactly When You Want It, I’m sure it is very baffling to find yourself in your thirties with no husband and none in sight, with the dawning realization that your job and lonely apartment are not nearly as fulfilling as being a wife and mother would have been…..

However, what most of us don’t seem to understand is that young women make the terrible choices that they are making because they are told from an early age that these are actually good choices.  Some girls are able to resist that message, which saturates every aspect of the media and schools, but most girls aren’t, and they don’t develop the necessary wisdom until it is too late.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:07 AM | Permalink

December 10, 2013

Hooking Up

Intercollegiate Review Why Hooking Up Is Letting You Down  by J. Budziszewski

In the ’80s, if I suggested in class that there might be any problem with sexual liberation, they said that everything was fine—what was I talking about? Now if I raise questions, many of them speak differently. They still live like libertines, sometimes they still talk like libertines, but it’s getting old. They are beginning to sound like the children of third-generation Maoists. My generation may have ordered the sexual revolution, but theirs is paying the price.

I am not speaking only of the medical price. To be sure, that price is ruinous: At the beginning of the revolution, most physicians had to worry about only two or three sexually transmitted diseases, and now it is more like two or three dozen. But I am not speaking only of broken bodies. Consider, for example, broken childhoods. What is it like for your family to break up because dad has found someone new, then to break up again because mom has? What is it like to be passed from stepparent to stepparent to stepparent? What is it like to grow up knowing that you would have had a sister, but she was aborted?
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We human beings really do have a design, and I mean that term in the broadest sense: not merely mechanical design (this part goes here, this part goes there) but also what kind of being we are. Because the design is not merely biological but also emotional, intellectual, and spiritual, the languages of natural law, natural design, natural meanings, and natural purposes are intertranslatable, and most of the time interchangeable. Some ways of living comport with our design. Others don’t.

The problem with twenty-first-century Western sexuality is that it flouts the embedded principles and the inbuilt meanings of the human sexual design.
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Mutual and total self-giving, strong feelings of attachment, intense pleasure, and the procreation of new life are linked by human nature in a single complex of meanings and purpose. For this reason, if we try to split them apart, we split ourselves. Failure to grasp this fact is more ruinous to our lives, and more difficult to correct, than any amount of ignorance about genital warts. It ought to be taught, but it isn’t.

The problem is that we don’t want to believe that these things are really joined; we don’t want the package deal that they represent. We want to transcend our own nature, like gods. We want to pick and choose among the elements of our sexual design, enjoying just the pieces that we want and not the others. Some people pick and choose one element, others pick and choose another, but they share the illusion that they can pick and choose. Sometimes such picking and choosing is called “having it all.” That is precisely what it isn’t. A more apt description would be refusing it all—insisting on having just a part—and in the end, not even getting that.

Time magazine 9 Reasons ‘Hookup Culture’ Hurts Boys Too  Boys get hurt as much as, if not more than, girls

Rosalind Wiseman, the mother of two boys, spent two years of research for her new book, Masterminds and Wingmen, delving into the world of boys.

she interviewed hundreds of boys across the country — individually, in groups, over the course of extended e-mail correspondences — and their stories are really quite striking.

As Wiseman writes, we assume that boys are the perpetrators and beneficiaries of hookup culture — and thus we tend to ignore its effects on them. But those effects, it turns out, can be rather rough.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:45 PM | Permalink

December 9, 2013

Groom's first look at his beautiful bride

24 Grooms Blown Away By Their Beautiful Brides

 Groom Blown Away By Bride

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:26 AM | Permalink

November 5, 2013

"Your marriage isn't for yourself, you're marrying for a family...your future children"

A Married Mom and Dad Really Do Matter: New Evidence from Canada

A study just published in the journal Review of the Economics of the Household—analyzing data from a very large, population-based sample—reveals that the children of gay and lesbian couples are only about 65 percent as likely to have graduated from high school as the children of married, opposite-sex couples. And gender matters, too: girls are more apt to struggle than boys, with daughters of gay parents displaying dramatically low graduation rates.
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[The study is] a rigorous and thorough analysis of a massive, nationally-representative dataset from a country whose government has long affirmed same-sex couples and parenting. It is as close to an ideal test as we’ve seen yet.

The study’s publication continues the emergence of new, population-based research in this domain, much of which has undermined scholarly and popular claims about equivalence between same-sex and opposite-sex households echoed by activists and reflected in recent legal proceedings about same-sex marriage.
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The intact, married mother-and-father household remains the gold standard for children’s progress through school. What is surprising in the Canadian data is the revelation that lesbian couples’ children fared worse, on average, than even those of single parents.

The blog post by Seth Adam Smith that's been read 4 million times in two days.  "Marriage isn't for you"

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.....Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each of us have moments in our lives when it feels like time slows down or the air becomes still and everything around us seems to draw in, marking that moment as one we will never forget.

My dad giving his response to my concerns was such a moment for me. With a knowing smile he said, “Seth, you’re being totally selfish. So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”

It was in that very moment that I knew that Kim was the right person to marry. I realized that I wanted to make her happy; to see her smile every day, to make her laugh every day. I wanted to be a part of her family, and my family wanted her to be a part of ours. And thinking back on all the times I had seen her play with my nieces, I knew that she was the one with whom I wanted to build our own family.

 Seth+Wife
Seth Adam Smith and his wife Kim

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:52 AM | Permalink

October 14, 2013

What's the point of Kissing?

 Wp-Content Uploads 2013 07 Girl-Boy-Kissing-Deviantart-15923245-1023-682

University of Oxford.  Kissing helps us find the right partner – and keep them

A study by Oxford University researchers suggests kissing helps us size up potential partners and, once in a relationship, may be a way of getting a partner to stick around.
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The researchers report their findings in two papers, one in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior and the second in the journal Human Nature. They were funded by the European Research Council.

Belinda Luscombe at Time magazine calls it a Mating Audition

What is the point, really, of kissing? Humans make such a big deal of it, but almost no other animals smooch.

A new study out of Oxford University suggests that kissing may actually have a purpose beyond the obvious — it’s a mating audition. Potential mates are doing a taste test. And that could explain why women and guys who think they’re good-looking enjoy it more than other people do.
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How does a kiss determine mateworthiness? It’s not really clear, but some philematologists (those are the people who study kissing) believe that it has to do with smell. In her book The Science of Kissing, Sheril Kirshenbaum cites Claus Wedekind, who she says found that “women are most attracted to the scent of men who have a very different genetic code for their immune system in a region of DNA known as the major histocompatibility complex.” Having different DNA from the individual you are kissing heightens the chance of having healthy offspring should the kissing lead somewhere. And juxtaposing two orbicularis oris muscles in a state of contraction is usually more fun than having a genetic test.
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Women in the study also ranked kissing as more important for longer relationships, suggesting it was a way of communicating and enhancing affection and attachment. In fact, more kissing was strongly correlated than more sex with a higher-quality relationship (although the people who had a lot of both had the highest relationship satisfaction). Moreover, the researchers suggest that although kissing does cause arousal, arousal doesn’t seem to be what is driving people to kiss.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:30 AM | Permalink

August 12, 2013

Dream Wedding IN Salmon River

She’s quite a catch! Couple who love fishing marry in a river filled with salmon, flanked by groomsmen carrying rods and wearing waders

 River Wedding Setting

it's clear from the beaming smiles on the faces of both the bride and groom, as they stand knee deep in freezing, flowing waters of a salmon river in Alaska, that this is the perfect wedding for them.

Flanked by supportive bridesmaids and groomsmen, wearing protective long waders, the happy couple exchanged their vows to the sound of the running river in the remote but beautiful setting.

 River Wedding Groomsmen

Kadie Walsh and Dake Schmidt, both local fishing guides, opted for a rather nontraditional salmon fishing theme for their entire wedding.

The couple's rings were presented each in the mouths of two king salmon and both the bridesmaids and groomsmen were carrying fishing rods complete with flower posies throughout the ceremony

Shortly after the newlyweds were married, they were each handed a rod and both caught their own pair of handsome pink salmon on the Buskin River, on Alaska's southern Kodiak island.

 River Wedding Bride&Groom&Salmon

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:28 AM | Permalink

August 2, 2013

"Hail Mary Moon" and "Diverging Destinies"

NYT: The Hail-Mary-Moon

Couples deal with relationship woes in many ways — from denial to outright war, and every fraught emotion in between. But for some, egged on by couples’ therapists and travel agents, the best way to address a rift in the marriage, and to see whether it can be healed, is to take a last-ditch vacation, maybe a beach getaway or a road trip à deux.

For the lucky ones, it works……For others, not so much.

People with money and education know the importance of marriage as the NYT finally noted in  Two Classes, Divided by ‘I Do’

Estimates vary widely, but scholars have said that changes in marriage patterns — as opposed to changes in individual earnings — may account for as much as 40 percent of the growth in certain measures of inequality. Long a nation of economic extremes, the United States is also becoming a society of family haves and family have-nots, with marriage and its rewards evermore confined to the fortunate classes.

“It is the privileged Americans who are marrying, and marrying helps them stay privileged,” said Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University.

About 41 percent of births in the United States occur outside marriage, up sharply from 17 percent three decades ago. But equally sharp are the educational divides, according to an analysis by Child Trends, a Washington research group. Less than 10 percent of the births to college-educated women occur outside marriage, while for women with high school degrees or less the figure is nearly 60 percent.
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Sara McLanahan, a Princeton sociologist, warns that family structure increasingly consigns children to “diverging destinies.”

Married couples are having children later than they used to, divorcing less and investing heavily in parenting time. By contrast, a growing share of single mothers have never married, and many have children with more than one man.

The people with more education tend to have stable family structures with committed, involved fathers,” Ms. McLanahan said. “The people with less education are more likely to have complex, unstable situations involving men who come and go.”

She said, “I think this process is creating greater gaps in these children’s life chances.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:14 PM | Permalink

July 8, 2013

Zealotry in the Government

zealotry: fanatical and uncompromising pursuit of religious, political or other ideals.

The HHS Mandate Fraud Exposed James C. Capretta Obama’s phony “accommodation” on contraception.

The administration’s final rule on the subject exposes the fraudulence of the entire “accommodation” exercise. In response to the concerns expressed by insurers, the rule drops the fig leaf of a separately issued insurance plan and instead simply requires insurers and third-party administrators to provide the items and products covered by the mandate for free to workers and their families, even if a religious employer elects to exclude those products and services from the insurance contract.  In other words, these products and services are covered in every insurance plan sponsored by employers (with the exception of a narrowly drawn list of churches and houses of worship), whether or not it says so in the insurance contract. Amazingly, the administration asserts that this is an “accommodation” to take seriously.
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As usual, the administration issued this rule when it hoped to generate the least media attention, on a Friday before a congressional recess. The irony — undoubtedly lost on the administration — is that this recess is devoted to the nation’s birth, which was motivated heavily by the pursuit of genuine religious toleration.

The fight is not over, and can still be won. Those opposed to the mandate are exercising their constitutional rights and are suing the administration. And there’s reason to believe the courts will ultimately defend and honor the religious-liberty traditions of this country in a way the administration would not.

Moreover, this issue can and should be contested in the political arena. There is no public-policy rationale for the HHS mandate, because the products and services covered by it are already widely and readily available, and heavily subsidized by the government for those with low incomes. The administration is imposing this requirement for entirely ideological reasons.


In Spiked, Gay marriage's echoes of the Cultural Revolution by Sean Collins.

The campaign for gay marriage in the US is starting to resemble the Cultural Revolution in Mao’s China. Politicians denouncing their own prior beliefs, people hounding others to recant, the young being upheld as morally superior to the ‘backward’ older generation… it all feels worryingly familiar.

According to the new orthodoxy, we will not have a gay-marriage debate, because you don’t argue with bigotry and homophobia. The most prominent supporters of same-sex marriage (SSM) in the US today - establishment voices from the New York Times to Democratic Party politicians - do not engage with views from the other side; they dismiss them as hateful. Pro-SSM campaigners are trying to make expressions of support for traditional marriage, or the questioning of full marriage rights for gays, appear as beyond the pale as Jim Crow and Holocaust denial.

With its decisions last week, the US Supreme Court added its considerable weight to the movement to silence those who uphold the historical understanding of marriage. In striking down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Court’s 5-4 majority divined that the only motive for the act was a ‘bare… desire to harm a politically unpopular group’. In other words, in passing this act Congress was driven by irrational hostility to gays, nothing more.

In addition to quashing dissent, what makes the gay-marriage campaign a dark kind of Cultural Revolution is its white-washing and distortion of history. SSM advocates face an obstacle in their attempt to make ‘traditional marriage equals bigotry’ an unquestioned dogma: it flies in the face of the historical record and experience. It was not so long ago that many reasonable people espoused a conventional view of marriage, and in no way could they be said to be animated by hatred towards gays. And so today’s gay-marriage campaigners are forced, like Maoists of the past, to rewrite history to have it conform with today’s new party line.

The Anchoress, Antonin Scalia, Bad Person

Scalia spends part of his Windsor dissent arguing in defense of what used to be considered a most “liberal” notion: that human beings have a right to express their point of view without fear of reprisal; a right to dissent from conventional wisdom; a right, even, to be wrong. It is a sentiment that free-thinkers (of even the recent past) would often express by quoting Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s summary of Voltaire’s thinking: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Kennedy’s opinion makes it clear that the days of defending the freedom of others to think and speak outside of the ever-narrowing corridors of what is permissible are numbered; the line of delineation he sketches out is stark, bare, and singular: there will be one (correct) thought or there will be Bad People.

What an illiberal notion!

From Scalia's dissent in Windsor 

The majority concludes that the only motive for this Act was the “bare . . . desire to harm a politically unpopular group.” … Bear in mind that the object of this condemnation is not the legislature of some once-Confederate Southern state, but our respected coordinate branches, the Congress and Presidency of the United States. Laying such a charge against them should require the most extraordinary evidence….. 
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In the majority’s judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement. [It is to] “dis-parage,” “injure,” “degrade,” “demean,” and “humiliate” our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, who are homo-sexual. All that, simply for supporting an Act that did no more than codify an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence—indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history. It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it...enemies of the human race. 
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:31 PM | Permalink

July 5, 2013

"In the best and long-lasting marriages, couples ignore their conflicts"

Why Marriage Counseling so often Fails

Most marriage counselors believe, as an article of faith, that conflict should be addressed, not avoided.

Thus, they promote and encourage dramatic conflict. Since these conflicts tend to undermine martial harmony, the results are often not very good.

Time Magazine explains the conventional approach:

It’s a familiar mantra that marriage counselors rely upon in advising their couples — talk about conflicts and try to resolve them, rather than letting suppressed feelings fester until they poison a relationship beyond repair.

This implies that a spouse who does not want to have a serious conversation about a conflict is not doing his or her part to heal the marriage.

As you might imagine, the conventional wisdom is wrong. New research has shown that in the best and long-lasting marriages, couples ignore their conflicts. They put them aside, unresolved, and move their conversation to more neutral ground: they discuss what they are going to have for dinner.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:40 AM | Permalink

June 3, 2013

Marriage makes people happier

Marriage makes people happier than six figure salaries and owning a home

In the U.K., the Office of National Statistics (ONS) found that

being married is 20 times more important to a person’s well-being than their earnings, and 13 times more important than owning a home.

The figures also indicate that having children has almost no impact on a person’s day-to-day happiness, although it does make them feel life is more “worthwhile”.

The ONS analysis was based on an survey of 165,000 people, in which they were asked to rate their life in four areas: their satisfaction with life, how worthwhile they thought their life was, how happy and how anxious they felt.
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Dawn Snape, one of the authors of the report, said: “It [marriage] gives people a sense of stability, and a greater sense that their life is worthwhile.
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The researchers said they made some unexpected findings. They found that people with degrees were significantly more anxious than those who had not been to university, while the top 10% of Britain’s earners were more anxious than those who earned less.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:56 AM | Permalink

June 2, 2013

'You know, love is a great place to spend the rest of your life,'

Lab workers who met 60 years ago are reunited and get married after 90-year-old sent mystery love letter written in code they used to use

Love moves in mysterious ways, and that's certainly the case for 81-year-old Cynthia Riggs.  The divorced author from Martha's Vineyard became the central character in her own mystery after receiving a love letter written in code in the mail.

'I'm always looking for wonderful mysteries and this seemed to be one,' Ms Riggs said, adding that the only details the code came with was a set of co-ordinates.

It was a mystery that took the author back 60 years, to when she worked at a San Diego marine laboratory with a young man named Howard Attebery.  When Ms Riggs tracked Dr Attebery down in California he admitted to sending the note. In a final twist to the story, Dr Attebery confessed his love for Ms Riggs and the couple married last weekend.

Although they never dated when they worked together, the pair used to pass coded messages to each other at the laboratory, using a simple formula where A is substituted for B and so on.

 Cynthia Roggs Coded Letters
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And, after years of not knowing how to tell her how he felt, Dr Attebery's coded message read: 'I have never stopped loving you'.

The pair exchanged letters for about a year before meeting and, when they were finally reunited in California, he proposed within an hour.  'You know, love is a great place to spend the rest of your life,' he said.  While the couple were writing to each other they realized that despite their time apart they had plenty in common, including the heartbreak of losing a child.
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Ms Riggs, who comes from a family that has produced generations of Martha's Vineyard sea captains, was also married and has five children. She divorced after 25 years, and said her abusive husband stalked her for several years afterwards, before finally taking his own life.  'After that,' she said, 'I said never, never, never again. And then this appears out of nowhere. It is just plain magical.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:48 AM | Permalink

May 3, 2013

Roundup: Rising suicide, rising number of men who don't want to marry, the DSM and mental illness

Suicide Rate Rises Sharply in U.S.

More people now die of suicide than in car accidents reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  There is a 30% surge in suicides among middle-aged Americans (35-64). 

Boomers account for the largest increase.  For  men in their 50s, suicide rates jumped nearly 50%  and women in their early 60s, the increase was nearly 60%.  Some explanation lies in the economic downtown and the increased availability of opioid drugs.  Maybe it's the increased stress of caring for aging parents while still providing financial and emotional support to adult children.  I expect life just didn't pan out the way they expected or wanted, and, having discarded religion,  they had no source for hope.

Men Thirty to Fifty Less Likely to Marry

Among never-married adults ages 30 to 50, men (27%) are more likely than women (8%) to say they do not want to marry.  That's a very great gap.  As one commenter pointed out, marriage holds no real benefits for men any more.

The Real Problems With Psychiatry  Hope Reese interviews Gary Greenberg
A psychotherapist contends that the DSM, psychiatry's "bible" that defines all mental illness, is not scientific but a product of unscrupulous politics and bureaucracy. 

Nobody can define mental illness.
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one of the issues with taking these categories too seriously is that it eliminates the moral aspect behind certain behaviors.
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The American Psychiatric Association owns the DSM, (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, now in its 5th edition)  They aren't only responsible for it: they own it, sell it, and license it. The DSM is created by a group of committees. It's a bureaucratic process. In place of scientific findings, the DSM uses expert consensus to determine what mental disorders exist and how you can recognize them….

Dr. Joy Bliss, another MD Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst, comments

I tend to think that the whole thing is a pseudo-medical charade, designed for the drug industry and for the insurance industry's convenience.

If "mental health" cannot be defined, how can you draw lines to define "mental illness"? You can, at the extremes, but otherwise you can't. Everybody is a little nuts.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:54 AM | Permalink

April 11, 2013

The French have it right when it comes to gay marriage

In this politically charged issue, a disclaimer is necessary.  I have no animus against homosexuals and i've supported civil unions, but I've drawn the line against marriage because I am so concerned with the well-being of children and so opposed to any commodification of human beings.

Adults may have great desire to have children, but they have no "right" to  children.  If a couple can not procreate, they can not buy children or demand the state children provide them children.  They are allowed to adopt children but only if they satisfy the state's requirements of adoption which are concerned with the welfare of the individual child and the fitness of the prospective adoptive parents. 

On the other hand, children have the right to have two parents, male and female.  It is the way nature works.

But we are already deep down the path of turning children into commodities to be bought and sold  There is little or no regulation about sperm donation, about IVF, about surrogacy and already the consequences are very troublesome for the the children involved.  Do we want even more children with gaping holes in their lives whose Daddy's name is Donor?

I'm  French when it comes to the issue of gay marriage. 

Robert Oscar Lopez is right when he says the French are ahead of us in exposing the great lie of gay marriage.

Gay marriage is posing as liberation for homosexuals but really hiding the nefarious goal of commercializing procreation, turning children into commodities.  Designer children will be a huge business in the future, but without "gay equality" as a smokescreen to distract people from the ugliness of what such a commerce entails, the market would come under massive criticism.

Gay marriage eradicates the role of mother and father and institutionalizes a form of child-rearing that works by contract and purchase, which the government naturally controls and oversees in collaboration with massive corporations.

It was the French man on the street who figured out the big lie -- that this movement for gay marriage is really all about big money, about men like Elton John and Pierre Berge buying children and disposing of women (Berge said that renting a womb to make a baby is like renting a worker's arms in a factory to make a product); that this movement for gay marriage is being pushed not by gay advocates, but by well-funded usurpers of gay rhetoric.
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Ironically, the left, supposedly against McCarthyism, enjoys the total suppression of dissent at universities and in the press on this issue.  Ironically, the left, ostensibly the party of civil rights, is eagerly leading a lemming charge backward into the sale and purchase of human beings,

Child’s Question: ‘Which Parent Do I Not Need: Mom or Dad?’ Stumps Legislature

Minnesota state legislators considering a same-sex marriage bill for the state did not have an answer to an 11-year-old girl’s question on which parent is not needed.

“Since every child needs a mom and a dad to be born, I don’t think we can change that children need a mom and a dad. I believe God made it that way,” Grace Evans, 11, said before the Minnesota House Committee on Civil Law last week. “I know some disagree, but I want to ask you this question: Which parent do I not need – my mom or my dad?”

Gay marriage is a social experiment that will cause serious harm to children

It is either right to maintain the ideal man-woman definition of marriage – our most important social institution — or it is not. We must not base our decision on compassion for gays (or misunderstood sense of fairness), whether the gay person is our child, a sibling, friend or anyone else.
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Same-sex couples in New Jersey already receive equal benefits under civil-union law, and these unions deserve distinction for good reason. A new gold-standard, peer-reviewed, family structures study released in June 2012 by sociology professor Mark Regnerus from the University of Texas indicates that the social experiment of homosexual “marriage” will cause serious harm to children. The study found that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are significantly more likely than those raised in a two-parent heterosexual home to: have social and mental health problems requiring therapy, identify themselves as homosexual, choose cohabitation, be unfaithful to partners, contract sexually transmitted diseases, be sexually molested or raped by a parent or adult, have lower income levels, drink to get drunk, and smoke tobacco and marijuana.
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Consider that the social mistakes we as a society have already made, and are headed toward now, will weigh most heavily on the shoulders of children. They are the innocent victims of social experimentation and have become morally and even physically broken in the name of so-called “freedom, equality and progress.”
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This month, Doug Mainwaring, a gay man, wrote an insightful article for thepublicdiscourse.com, sharing that intellectual honesty and experience as a gay person raising children can lead to opposing same-sex marriage. “There are perhaps a hundred different things, small and large, that are negotiated between parents and kids every week,” he said. “Moms and dads interact differently with their children. To give kids two moms or two dads is to withhold … someone whom they desperately need and deserve in order to be whole and happy. It is to permanently etch ‘deprivation’ on their hearts.”

No Pasaran!, Canada's Precedent in Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage: Are There Any Valid Reasons to Be Against Gay Nuptials?

In his book Nation of Bastards, Farrow criticized  warned that by claiming the power to re-invent marriage, the Canadian state “has drawn marriage and the family into a captive orbit. It has reversed the gravitational field between the family and the state… It has effectively made every man, woman, and child a chattel of the state, by turning their most fundamental human connections into mere legal constructs at the state’s disposal. It has transformed those connections from divine gifts into gifts from the state.”
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By fundamentally redefining marriage, [Douglas Farrow] says, the state has appropriated the institution of marriage and turned children, indeed all citizens, into wards of the state. Marriage and family have always existed in relative autonomy vis a vis the state, resting as they do on the nature of human beings and the natural human family.  In a liberal society, marriage and family mediate between individual and state. As such they are indispensable to liberal democracy.
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They may or may not be recognized and protected by the state, but marriage and family in any case are not created by it. They are, by their nature and not the state's fiat, the way in which one generation turns from its own concerns to those of the next, requiring a sacrifice and commitment of the autonomous ego to a relationship ordered to procreation, fidelity, and a covenantal relationship involving man, woman, and any children that result from their union.
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It is true that totalitarian states invariably seek to undermine and subordinate the family and all of civil society, dismantling them and slowly grinding them up, in Nietzsche's expression, "into a random collection of individuals, haphazardly bound together in the common pursuit of selfish ends."

That sounds right for Nazi Germany or Communist Eastern Europe, where all civil society, everything that stands between individual and state, is weakened and destroyed.

But Canada? It sounds far-fetched, but if Farrow is right, we can expect to see, as in Europe today, the increasing control of the state over children's education and socialization (home-schooling was outlawed in Hitler's Germany and just recently parents have been arrested for defying the law). Parents cannot be trusted not to raise their children in their own faith, whose values may contradict those of the state; parents will have fewer and fewer rights to exempt their children from the state's version of sex education and instruction in the moral acceptability of fornication. Professionals, denied protections of conscience, will be fired, not for "imposing their moral views on their clients," but for failing to impose the state's.

The Well-Being of Children

A study by Elizabeth Marquardt and associates entitled “My Daddy’s Name is Donor,”……According to Marquardt, “Donor conceived children know that the parents raising them are also the ones who intentionally denied them a relationship with at least one of their biological parents. The pain they might feel was caused not by some distant birth parent who gave them up, but by the parent who cares for them every day.”

The purpose of adoption is “to find parents for children who need them. Donor conception functions as a market, the purpose of which is to create children for adults who want them.”
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Calling same-sex relationships marriages harms children. It says to them your need for your own biological father and mother doesn’t matter
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:15 PM | Permalink

April 9, 2013

"Let my fiancee go"

In Faith, Fear and the Holocaust, Get Religion says  “READ THIS!!!” in the Louisville Courier-Journal.    I did and they were right.

Louisville couple recalls harrowing escape during Holocaust

As a Jew living in neutral Switzerland in October 1942, John Rothschild took the extraordinary risk of walking into an internment camp in Nazi-dominated France — unnerved but undeterred by the ominous closing of the gate behind him.

He arranged to speak to the French camp commander, part of the right-wing puppet government of France that was shipping Jews by the trainload north to death camps such as Auschwitz.

Rothschild recalls placing a package of Swiss cigars on the commander’s desk, along with the business card of a helpful local lawyer whom the commander owed a favor. As Rothschild introduced himself, the commander said, “Oh, for the Swiss I would take the moon down from the sky.”

“I told him, ‘You don’t have to do that much. Let my fiancée go,’ ” Rothschild recalled.
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The couple fell in love at 19 and are now 93 — with two children, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren — and they are active congregation members.

“They are probably the oldest Talmud students in the world,” Adath Jeshurun Rabbi Robert Slosberg said of the couple, regular attendees of his weekly classes on the classic Jewish commentary. “They're just an amazing blessing. They never became jaded by the terrible experience they went through.”
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The Rothschilds say they still remember the relief of their first night of freedom in Geneva, when, disheveled, they drew stares as they entered a hotel lobby — and were given its best suite when the clerk learned of their ordeal.

As they closed the door to their room, Renee said, “I thanked God to be alive.”

John Rothschild said the couple owes their lives to a combination of faith, hope, luck and initiative.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:46 PM | Permalink

March 18, 2013

Four Signs Your Relationship Might Be Doomed

Melanie Pinola takes a look at the Four Signs Your Relationship Might Be Doomed

Dr. John Gottman studied couples for over thirty years and discovered the four communication qualities that could predict a couple will break up—with over 90% accuracy. Called "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," these predictors have also been linked to physical illness and disease.
Criticism: Not just feedback or even criticism that isn't constructive, but rather an attack on the other person's character or interests. As Gottman explains in the video above, it's an attitude one partner has in diagnosing the other person's personality defects—and even wanting to be praised for that diagnosis!

Defensiveness: Here, one person plays "the innocent victim."

Contempt: The biggest predictor of a failing relationship is contempt. One person takes on an air of superiority (thinking he/she is more intelligent, a better parent, more tidy, etc.) and looks down on and insults the other person. Gottman says this is also a predictor of infectious illnesses for the person on the receiving end. If your partner corrects your grammar while you're arguing with him/her, that's a huge red flag.

Stonewalling: The person just tunes you out and withdraws.
All couples experience conflict, but the strongest ones deal with it with more respect. If your relationship shows any of the above signs, all may not be lost, but it's a good indicator that you and your partner need to work better together to keep the relationship from falling apart.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:26 AM | Permalink

January 25, 2013

The Pied Pipers of Feminism

From Had Enough Therapy? The Pied Pipers of Feminism

It is often noted that teenage girls in America are out of control. Many of them think it’s cool to dress like prostitutes. Many think that the best way to show their love is to sext a picture of their genitals. Far too many of them suffer from eating disorders and other psychological problems.

If you ask who is leading them to these self-destructive behaviors, the answer does not lie in the home. Their mothers are most often horrified by what they see. Young girls and women no longer pay attention to their parents. They allow themselves to be led around by the Pied Pipers of feminism.

Feminist thinkers are telling young girls that they can dress as they please, revealing any or all of their intimacy, to whomever they please, and that anyone who does not like it is a repressive patriarch.
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in the hands of one Lindy West, feminist thinking has become self-parody.  … West declared war on modesty. To no one’s surprise she believes that the concept of modesty was invented to subjugate women. Being modest means not having the right to own property and not having the right to an abortion.
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Telling girls and young women that they can go through life dressing the way you want and acting the way you want without suffering consequences is mindless and dangerous.

A Millennial Woman's Lament

The feminist life plan has become the norm. Whether it’s ideology or peer pressure or both, Millennial young women—the under-30s-- have been induced to conduct their lives exactly as feminism would have wanted…..

But now, a growing number of Millennial women are beginning to fret over the unanticipated consequences of prioritizing our careers before love. And I only need to look at my group of friends to see this reality.

We are coming to the realization that we were unwittingly playing a game of musical chairs — while everyone was pairing up, those focused on our careers are left standing alone.

Penelope Truck says

people who want to take care of people and can’t stand doing work that doesn’t relate to that should probably be parents. There are very few jobs that are truly just taking care of people. And most of them pay very poorly, if at all. So you may as well do it for your own family, where the pay is not so important. It’s ridiculous that we don’t think of taking care of a family as a career path. That’s a good path for some people. Just like earning a shit-load of money is a good career path for other people. In fact, those two types of people should marry each other.

has 3 Ways to Rectify the miseducation of girls

1. Validate the career goal of being a stay-at-home mom.
2. Help girls cut through the propaganda about what lies ahead.
3. Recognize that women with high-powered careers are outliers. 

In the Atlantic, How I Learned to Stop Criticizing and Be Nice to My Husband

I grew up as a product of second-wave feminism, having learned from the media that men were oppressive, foolish, and incompetent. Perhaps as a result, I spent nearly the first decade of my own marriage "fighting for my rights" with my husband. I criticized him and bossed him around. It wasn't that he was such a bad guy, but rather I was trained to spot potential oppression and domination by the male gender. I took personally his lack of attention to detail around the home or with the baby. I made a practice of letting him know his failings on a regular basis, expecting his behavior to change.

My methods made him feel defensive, and damaged our relationship. I soon found myself in a marriage with a man who stopped sharing his thoughts and feelings with me.
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A decade later, I can say that those two concepts--"respect" and "submission"--saved my marriage. And it wasn't because I became a doormat or no longer communicated my feelings. I learned that Biblical submission, boiled down, is basically "don't be a contentious competitor to him." After learning that, I argued with him less. I stopped rolling my eyes with disgust when he had something to say - even if I thought it was not such a great idea at the time. I started practicing the Bible verse which reads, "Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and even slower to become angry."

I started asking him questions about his life. I started being interested in him again as a person. I decided he was more important to me than whether or not a dish made it into the dishwasher or his socks were left on the floor. There were even a few things he did that could be considered big mistakes that just didn't seem to matter as much when I viewed him as a person of worth. I could forgive him - and I saw my own flawed nature clearly.
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I chose to give respect a chance because I am a Christian and try (emphasis on try) to follow the Bible's teachings on how to live. But even if I did not trust the Bible as much as I do, learning how to effectively communicate respect and love deeply impacts marriages.

We see these Biblical principles show up in marital success, as a recent (2005) study funded by a grant from the US Department of Justice demonstrates.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:23 AM | Permalink

January 15, 2013

"The rights of children trump the right to children"

It was a "March for All" in Paris  by an alliance of secularist, straight, gay, rightist, leftist and non-partisans, Catholics,  Jews , Evangelicals and Muslims, all  against gay marriage being imposed by the federal government without public debate.

Estimates of  the numbers of participants who came from all over France to converge on Paris range from 360,000 to 1,000,000 with most settling on 800,000.

“This law is going to lead to a change of civilization that we don’t want,” said Philippe Javaloyes, a literature teacher who bused in with 300 people from Franche Comte in the far east. “We have nothing against different ways of living, but we think that a child must grow up with a mother and a father.”

 France-Same-Sex-Protest-March-For-All

Robert Oscar Lopez writes in The Public Discourse, Lessons from France on Defending Marriage.

In France, a repeating refrain is “the rights of children trump the right to children.” It is a pithy but forceful philosophical claim, uttered in voices ranging from gay mayor “Jean-Marc” to auteur Jean-Dominique Bunel, who revealed in Le Figaro that two lesbians raised him. For most of France, LGBT rights cross the line when they mean that same-sex couples have a “right” to children—something that both France’s grand rabbi, Gilles Bernheim, and Louis-Georges Barret, Vice President of the Christian Democratic Party, have refuted as a right at all.
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The right to a child, according to Bernheim and Barret, does not exist; it would mean changing children, as Bernheim says, from “child as subject” to “child as object.” Bunel states in Figaro that such a shift violates international law by denying the right of children to have a mother and a father. Bunel writes:

I oppose this bill because in the name of a fight against inequalities and discrimination, we would refuse a child one of its most sacred rights, upon which a universal, millennia-old tradition rests, that of being raised by a father and a mother. You see, two rights collide: the right to a child for gays, and the right of a child to a mother and father. The international convention on the rights of the child stipulates in effect that “the highest interest of the child should be a primary consideration” (Article 3, section 1).

"We love homosexuals but a child must be born from a man and a woman, and the law must respect that,” said Frigide Barjot, the alter ego of comedian Virginie Tellene, the intentionally apolitical face of the protest.

Carl Olsen comments

there are many Americans who believe they have a right to "have children", and to treat children like projects or even experiments, as if they are blank slates that can be filled up with the whims of their parents (and others). In this perspective, children are objects that exist because we wish them to and make them so, not because they are gifts from God who come to us through the marital embrace, to be raised by a mother and father, who are also the primary educators of their children.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, told Vatican Radio the church supports cultural and social progress, but not "at the expense of nature."  He said he wondered why so many people were so committed to protecting the environment from manipulation, but "not very concerned about manipulation against the inner workings of anthropology."

"The French are tolerant, but they are deeply attached to the family and the defense of children," said Frigide Barjot, the alter ego of comedian Virginie Tellene, the intentionally apolitical face of the protest..  Their efforts appear to have had an impact. Surveys indicate that popular support for gay marriage in France has slipped about 10 points to less than 55 percent since opponents started speaking out. Fewer than half of those polled recently favored giving gay couples adoption rights.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:38 AM | Permalink

October 30, 2012

The fundamental nature of a mother's love

A mother's love is fundamental to how a child's brain develops.

Horrifying scans that show the real impact of love: Brain of neglected child is much smaller than that of a normal three-year-old

But being a nurturing mother is not just about emotional care - it pays dividends by determining the size of your child's brain, scientists say.
Both of these images are brain scans of a two three-year-old children, but the brain on the left is considerably larger, has fewer spots and less dark areas, compared to the one on the right.

According to neurologists this sizable difference has one primary cause - the way each child was treated by their mothers.

 Mother'slove Baby-Brain-Scans

The child with the larger and more fully developed brain was looked after by its mother - she was constantly responsive to her baby, reported The Sunday Telegraph. But the child with the shrunken brain was the victim of severe neglect and abuse.

According to research reported by the newspaper, the brain on the right worryingly lacks some of the most fundamental areas present in the image on the left.

The consequences of these deficits are pronounced - the child on the left with the larger brain will be more intelligent and more likely to develop the social ability to empathize with others.  But in contrast, the child with the shrunken brain will be more likely to become addicted to drugs and involved in violent crimes, much more likely to be unemployed and to be dependent on state benefits.  The child is also more likely to develop mental and other serious health problems.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:21 AM | Permalink

October 23, 2012

Bits and pieces: Texas postman and Hermes, Noc the whale, Republicans more knowledgeable, writing that works, a humble politician

How a Texas Postman Became an Hermes Designer

Oliver is 70 years old. He wears his mustache trim and neat. And though he's one of the most important living African-American painters, he just doesn't understand what the fuss is about. Never mind that he's the only American artist ever to design a scarf for Hermès — which he's done 16 times.
Again, he's also an employee of the U.S. Postal Service.

"He doesn't believe he can make a living as a painter," Sheeler says. "He doesn't even believe that he's that good — those are his words. He just likes to paint.    He works overnight at the post office, comes home, paints a little bit, takes a nap and then does it all over again. He survives on two to three hours of sleep. Eats a sandwich on his break at the post office. He gets a 30-minute break, and then he goes back to sorting mail."

Pew Research: Republicans More Knowledgeable Than Democrats
In a scientific survey of 1,168 adults conducted during September and October of last year, respondents were asked not only multiple-choice questions, but also queries using maps, photographs and symbols.  Among other subjects, participants identified international leaders, cabinet members, Supreme Court justices, nations on a world map, the current unemployment and poverty rates and war casualty totals.

In a 2010 Pew survey, Republicans outperformed Democrats on 10 of 12 questions, with one tie and Democrats outperforming Republicans on just 1 of the 12.  In the latest survey, however, Republicans outperformed Democrats on every single one of 19 questions.

On YouTube, Marriage=Biology (Not Bigotry).  The best argument I've ever heard for the traditional definition of marriage.  Don't miss it.

Noc the whale who imitated a human voice

The male named Noc had a distinctly human-like voice, much to the surprise of scientists who previously thought whales typically produce sounds in a manner that is wholly different from humans.  Noc died five years ago after 30 years of living amongst dolphins and other white whales and being in contact with humans at the National Marine Mammal Foundation based in San Diego in California. the incredible recordings of the whale were revealed for the first time as the team published their findings.

However, the incredible recordings of the whale were revealed for the first time as the team published their findings. Sam Ridgway, who led the study, said: 'Our observations suggest that the whale had to modify its vocal mechanics in order to make the speech-like sounds. 'Such obvious effort suggests motivation for contact.'
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The study 'Spontaneous human speech mimicry by a cetacean' are published in the latest issue of Current Biology.

In the Atlantic, The Writing Revolution

For years, nothing seemed capable of turning around New Dorp High School’s dismal performance—not firing bad teachers, not flashy education technology, not after-school programs. So, faced with closure, the school’s principal went all-in on a very specific curriculum reform, placing an overwhelming focus on teaching the basics of analytic writing, every day, in virtually every class. What followed was an extraordinary blossoming of student potential, across nearly every subject—one that has made New Dorp a model for educational reform.
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A lightbulb, says Simmons, went on in her head. These 14- and 15-year-olds didn’t know how to use some basic parts of speech. With such grammatical gaps, it was a wonder they learned as much as they did. “Yes, they could read simple sentences,” but works like the Gettysburg Address were beyond them—not because they were too lazy to look up words they didn’t know, but because “they were missing a crucial understanding of how language works. They didn’t understand that the key information in a sentence doesn’t always come at the beginning of that sentence.”
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The Hochman Program, as it is sometimes called, would not be un­familiar to nuns who taught in Catholic schools circa 1950. Children do not have to “catch” a single thing. They are explicitly taught how to turn ideas into simple sentences, and how to construct complex sentences from simple ones by supplying the answer to three prompts—but, because, and so. They are instructed on how to use appositive clauses to vary the way their sentences begin. Later on, they are taught how to recognize sentence fragments, how to pull the main idea from a paragraph, and how to form a main idea on their own. It is, at least initially, a rigid, unswerving formula. “I prefer recipe,” Hochman says, “but formula? Yes! Okay!”

5 Life Advantages You Acquire from Experiencing Poverty

1) Once things have been really bad, you’re not as frightened of tough times and risks.
5) Being poor makes you work hard not to be destitute again.

The Anchoress on George McGovern on Realities of Market Economy and Sweeping Legislation

unlike the pols of today, he wasn’t afraid to say there was something he didn’t know, an answer he didn’t have and even something he may have gotten wrong. Such humility is unthinkable in 21st century politicking.
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In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business, especially during a recession of the kind that hit New England just as I was acquiring the inn’s 43-year leasehold. I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:25 PM | Permalink

October 19, 2012

Amazing stories

Leo Traynor on The day I confronted my troll.

Then one day something happened that truly frightened me. I don't scare easily but this was vile.

I received a parcel at my home address. Nothing unusual there – I get lots of post. I ripped it open and there was a Tupperware lunchbox inside full of ashes. There was a note included, saying, "Say hello to your relatives from Auschwitz". I was physically sick.

I was petrified. They had my address. I reported it to the authorities and hoped for the best.

Two days later I opened my front door and there was a bunch of dead flowers with my wife's old Twitter username on it. Then that night I received a DM. "You'll get home some day & ur bitches throat will be cut & ur son will be gone."

I got on to the authorities again but, polite and sympathetic as they were, there didn't seem much that could be done.

A Doctor’s Ministry, Bridging Science and Spirit

Forty years ago, long before the recent afternoon when Dr. Joseph Dutkowsky knelt at the warped feet of his 4-year-old patient, he was a small-town teenager approaching his Catholic confirmation and needing to select a patron saint. He made an unlikely choice, a newly canonized figure, St. Martin de Porres, the illegitimate child of a former black slave in 16th-century Peru.  Back then, in the early 1970s, as the child of a factory worker and a homemaker, Joseph had no aspiration toward medicine. Nor did he know that Martin de Porres had been elevated to sainthood in part because of his healing miracles.

Decades later, something — call it coincidence, call it providence — has bent the vectors of faith and science together in the career of Dr. Dutkowsky. The confluence of these often-clashing ideals has taken him to the top of his profession as an orthopedic surgeon specializing in the care of children disabled from cerebral palsy, spina bifida, Down's' syndrome and other afflictions. It has also taken him to the healing shrine of Lourdes and to the Lima barrio where his patron saint tended to the poor and broken and cast out.

“This is my ministry,” said Dr. Dutkowsky, 56. “Some people stand next to the ocean to feel the presence of God. I get to see the likeness of God every day. I see children with some amazing deformities. But God doesn’t make mistakes. So they are the image.”
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We have a culture that’s addicted to perfection,” Dr. Dutkowsky said later. “We’re willing to spend thousands of dollars to achieve it. The people I care for are imperfect. And I can’t make them perfect. I only hope that they can sense that I actually care they’re more than skin and bones, that we have a bond.”
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“For years, when asked why I chose this profession, I had no good answer,” he said, “until I came upon the first chapter of the Gospel of John. Jesus and his disciples come upon a man who was blind from birth. The disciples asked Jesus, ‘Did this man or his parents sin that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered that the blindness was not the result of the man or his parents’ sin. The man was born blind ‘so the glory of God might be revealed.’ Every day in my work I find myself in the revealed glory of God.”

How woman, 32, who was raped, beaten savagely and left for dead has forgiven her attacker during astonishing recovery

Sarah Hoyt  remembers an electrifying moment when she was 16.  Nerves

Until their people were in full control of the government, the two TV channels from Lisbon (years later they changed it so the second channel was from Porto, but not then) would be off the air, and the station from Porto would bring out Green Acres which in their minds kept the populace calm until they heard what came next.
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To this day I  hear “Green Acres” and I cringe and every muscle in my body tenses.
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Our group couldn’t get permission for a demonstration.  It wouldn’t be granted.  BUT a demonstration was people assembling and making speeches and yelling.  So word went out.  Absolute silence.  And a route to walk, from the center of town to the military installation on the other side of the city.

It was the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen.  I’d never have believed it till I saw it.  At twenty two I tried to describe it to my husband and I failed.
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Organized is not experienced.  Being sixteen, I was recruited with another young person – a young man I didn’t know – to hold each end of a HUGE banner that said “The youth of Portugal demands liberty.”  Or something to that effect — it’s hard to remember these many years later.

They hadn’t punched holes in the fabric.  The drizzle was wind-driven.  As we started marching towards the military quarters, the wind pulled on the banner and about broke our arms.  But we held it up.  And we walked.  Thousands of people.  In silence.

There was a … movement.  And there I was in the front.  The silent crowd behind us.  The men with scary machine guns in front of us.  Pointed at us.

If we’d run, what would have happened?

I’m no braver than the next person.  I wanted to run.  But I had a vivid idea we’d be shot in the back.  I still think that might have been right.
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Because we held the adults couldn’t run away.  The crowd held.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:42 PM | Permalink

September 28, 2012

Religious practice has resources that help stabilize marriages

Are Christians Just As Likely to Divorce?

‎“Christians divorce at the same rate as everyone else.” Have you ever heard this? I get this comment all the time when I’m doing speaking engagements or radio interviews. People treat it as an established fact, not even a question. The short answer is: NO THEY DON’T! The long answer is: It depends on what you mean by Christians. If you’re talking about everyone who describes themselves as Christian or Catholic, maybe you’ve got something. But sociologists have verified many times that regular religious practice is a huge protective factor against divorce.
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For instance, nominal Catholics are 5 percent less likely, active Catholics 31 percent less likely, and “average Catholics” 18 percent less likely to divorce than is the general population. Among Protestants, nominal Protestants are 20 percent more likely to divorce than the average person. Conservative Protestants are 10 percent less likely to divorce, and active Conservative Protestants are 35 percent less likely to divorce than the population at large.

This false belief is harmful because:
  • it contributes to a general sense that divorce is inevitable.
  • it demoralizes people both at the personal level (everyone gets divorced anyway, even the Christians) and at the policy level (we might as well make peace with divorce, even Christians get divorced).
  • it makes Christians appear to be hypocrites.
  • people can’t see that religious practice has resources that help stabilize marriages.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:25 PM | Permalink

September 26, 2012

Redefining basic human relationships

The Future of Marriage  George Weigel

In public policy terms, the Catholic critique of “gay marriage” reflects the Catholic idea of the just state. Rightly understood, marriage is one of those social institutions that exist “prior” to the state: prior in terms of time (marriage existed before the state), and prior in terms of the deep truths embedded in the human condition. A just state thus recognizes the givenness of marriage and seeks to protect and nurture this basic social institution.

By contrast, a state that asserts the authority to redefine “marriage” has stepped beyond the boundaries of its competence. And if that boundary-crossing is set in constitutional or legal concrete, it opens up a Pandora's box of undesirable results. For if the state can decree that two men or two women can make a “marriage,” why not one man and two women? Two women and two men? These are not paranoid fantasies; the case for polyandry and polygamy is now being mounted in prestigious law journals.

And if the state can define “marriage” by diktat, why not other basic human relationships, like the parent-child relationship, the doctor-patient relationship, the lawyer-client relationship, or the priest-penitent relationship? There is no principled reason why not.  Thus “gay marriage” is another expression of that soft totalitarianism that Benedict XVI aptly calls the “dictatorship of relativism.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:26 PM | Permalink

September 18, 2012

Wedding Jitters and Wedding Costs

Having pre-wedding jitters? Then DON'T go through with it, say psychologists

Women who have doubts about getting married should not ignore them - as those with misgivings about walking down the aisle are more likely to get divorced, according to a university report.

In the first scientific study to test whether doubts about getting married are more likely to lead to an unhappy marriage and divorce, psychologists report that their misgivings are often a warning sign of trouble if they go ahead with the marriage.

The University of California, Los Angeles, study demonstrates that pre-wedding uncertainty, especially among women, predicts higher divorce rates and less marital satisfaction years later.

For Richer, Not Poorer: 6 Reasons to Cut Your Wedding Cost in Half

In my years as a financial advisor, I counseled many young couples regarding their financial matters. In that time, I never heard a newlywed couple say they wish they'd spent more money on their wedding. In fact, a year or two after the wedding day euphoria dissipates and couples start thinking about the rest of their lives together, most couples wished they'd spent far less cash on their big day/
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A survey of 18,000 U.S. brides married last year found that their average wedding cost $27,000.
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Let's assume you and your spouse-to-be spend half the average amount on your big day and save the other half. Regardless of your financial goals, $16,000 is a great head start. Consider how this hypothetical savings can make an enormous dent in the six most common financial goals I heard from young couples.

Goal No. 1: "We want to buy a home"
Goal No. 2: "We have credit card debt that we'd love to pay off"
Goal No. 3: "Our dream is to travel the world"
A couple could use the $16,000 saved to take one $4,000 vacation every other year for nearly the next decade. A honeymoon on a scaled-back budget doesn't sound so bad now, does it?
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:33 PM | Permalink

August 21, 2012

"Men took to changing wives with the same zest which they displayed in the consumption of the recently restored forty-per-cent vodka."

This Atlantic article sounds remarkably like the arguments in today's culture wars is from 1926, The Russian Effort to Abolish Marriage - A Woman Resident in Russia.

The question whether marriage as an institution should be abolished is now being debated all over Russia with a violence and depth of passion unknown since the turbulent early days of the Revolution. Last October a bill eliminating distinctions between registered and unregistered marriages and giving the unmarried consort the status and property rights of the legal wife was introduced in the Tzik, or Central Executive Committee. So much unforeseen opposition to the proposed law developed that the Tzik decided to postpone its final adoption until the next session, meanwhile initiating a broad popular discussion of the project.

Since that time factories, offices, clubs, and various Soviet organizations and institutions have passed resolutions for and against the bill, and the halls have not been able to hold the eager crowds that thronged to the meetings in city, town, and village. One must live in Russia to-day, amid the atmosphere of torment, disgust, and disillusionment that pervades sex relations, the chaos, uncertainty, and tragedy that hover over the Russian family, to understand the reasons for this heated discussion, for these passionate pros and cons.
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At the same time a law was passed which made divorce a matter of a few minutes, to be obtained at the request of either partner in a marriage. Chaos was the result. Men took to changing wives with the same zest which they displayed in the consumption of the recently restored forty-per-cent vodka.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:37 AM | Permalink

July 17, 2012

The chief source of inequality in America today

Kay Hymowitz has been at the forefront in bringing awareness to The Marriage Gap as America's chief source of inequality. . Many other people, including me have been talking about this for years with nary a mention by the New York Times.

So it's big news when finally the New York Times acknowledges the problem in its article, Two Classes in America, Divided by 'I Do'

Estimates vary widely, but scholars have said that changes in marriage patterns — as opposed to changes in individual earnings — may account for as much as 40 percent of the growth in certain measures of inequality. Long a nation of economic extremes, the United States is also becoming a society of family haves and family have-nots, with marriage and its rewards evermore confined to the fortunate classes.

“It is the privileged Americans who are marrying, and marrying helps them stay privileged,” said Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University.

About 41 percent of births in the United States occur outside marriage, up sharply from 17 percent three decades ago. But equally sharp are the educational divides, according to an analysis by Child Trends, a Washington research group. Less than 10 percent of the births to college-educated women occur outside marriage, while for women with high school degrees or less the figure is nearly 60 percent.
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While many children of single mothers flourish (two of the last three presidents had mothers who were single during part of their childhood), a large body of research shows that they are more likely than similar children with married parents to experience childhood poverty, act up in class, become teenage parents and drop out of school.

Sara McLanahan, a Princeton sociologist, warns that family structure increasingly consigns children to “diverging destinies.”

John Leo comments, Choices Matter in Avoiding Poverty

The article does have one strong line about choices: "I am in this position because of decisions I made."

But no study is mentioned to support this common sense view. However, here is FactCheck.org citing a Brookings study:

"Ron Haskins, co-author of the Brookings study, which looked at Census Bureau data on a sample of Americans, wrote that the analysis found that young adults who finished high school, worked full time and got married after age 21 and before having kids "had a 2 percent chance of winding up in poverty and a 74 percent chance of winding up in the middle class (defined as earning roughly $50,000 or more). By contrast, young adults who violated all three norms had a 76 percent chance of winding up in poverty and a 7 percent chance of winding up in the middle class."


Via Rod Dreher who wrote If you read nothing else today, look at Michael Brendan Dougherty’s essay reflecting on what it was like for him to grow up as the child of a single mother, so I did and it is heart-rending.

I don’t think my behavior that one night was the sole cause, but some time after that my mother really stopped having a life outside the home. She stayed in and conducted no romances of significance. Judging from her diaries and letters, the few men she engaged in even a passing interest were not all that good to her. As a single mother, helping to take care of her parents and her son, she wasn’t in a position to make men be courtly with her. So she stopped trying. That was the sexual revolution for her. Men willing to sleep with her, but not willing to build a family.

By financial and emotional necessity, she became wrapped in a co-dependent relationship with her parents, who relied on her in their last years. And after they died and I became a teenager, our relationship in turn became more co-dependent as well. She tried being my friend as a teenager. But as I went on to college and beyond I was her entire immediate family. And as I was trying to fly the nest, she needed my presence more than I could give it. I thought she might die when I told her I was moving to Washington D.C. and she would have to make do without me, at least during the work-week.
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Did my mother live a life of dignity? Yes, of course. She fought so much for what little she had, and cared for me almost recklessly. I do not blame her for her behavior. Although, I think even Roiphe would have wished for her to have more of a life apart from her child than she did. There was an emptiness in her life as I became more independent. Having lost the social role of mother, she had few other roles to play and took worse and worse care of herself. Discarded by men, unneeded by her son. In mysterious ways, she became more immature as she aged. I’d like to think more innocent too.
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Writing checks, delivering take-out dinners, and trying to fit in 20 minutes of quality time with my empty-nester mom shook those fantasies out of me. We told ourselves all sorts of things while I was growing up, but my mother would have been happier, healthier, and more secure with a man to love, and with one who loved her. She would have had more of that if she had more children too.

So do I wish there were more social stigma, the “retrograde and ugly moral judgements” that surround decisions about sex and family? Absolutely. And yes, it would have cost her something if she indeed fell on the wrong side of those taboos. And it would cost me something to be a “bastard” if that word could still wound. People are nasty about social taboos, and I don’t sanction that. But my mother faced plenty of indignities without those moral judgements. If we got do overs, I’d be willing to risk it.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:05 PM | Permalink

May 22, 2012

Strong Families, Happy Parents and No to Facebook

Nothing beats a two-parent family for raising happy and successful children.

Strong families make successful children, not the nanny state, says study

The welfare state has little or no bearing on how children turn out, an international research project has found.  Strong families are the key to producing well adjusted and successful youngsters, it adds.  In fact, say the researchers, the children of married parents are likely to do better than those from broken or single-parent families – no matter how much state support the family is given.

The study singled out the British welfare state as an example of the failure of state support to make a difference to the lives and success of children.  The findings, published in the US in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, come in the wake of David Cameron’s announcement of free parenting classes and relationship support  sessions, and a £3.4million website which will give tips on every aspect of child rearing.
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Boys were more likely to have difficulties than girls, health problems led to other difficulties for children, and children of divorced parents faced a greater likelihood of trouble.

Yes, it can seem a struggle… but parents are actually happier people, study says  Fathers and older parents the happiest of all.

The findings are among a new wave of research that suggests that parenthood comes with relatively more positives, despite the added responsibilities.  The study, which contradicts the prevailing view that parents are less happy overall, also dovetails with emerging evolutionary perspectives that suggest parenting is a fundamental human need.
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Sonja Lyubomirsky, professor of psychology at UC Riverside and a leading scholar in positive psychology, said: 'We are not saying that parenting makes people happy, but that parenthood is associated with happiness and meaning.

'Contrary to repeated scholarly and media pronouncements, people may find solace that parenthood and child care may actually be linked to feelings of happiness and meaning in life.'
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However, their findings came with important caveats. Professor Lyubomirsky explained: 'Our findings suggest that if you are older (and presumably more mature) and if you are married (and presumably have more social and financial support), then you're likely to be happier if you have children than your childless peers.

'This is not true, however, for single parents or very young parents.'

One ti for staying together is staying away from Facebook, the social network that lawyers say contributes to an increasing number of break-ups.

More than a third of divorce filings last year contained the word Facebook, according to a U.K. survey by Divorce Online, a  legal services firm. And over 80% of U.S. divorce attorneys say they’ve seen a rise in the number of cases using social networking, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. “I see Facebook issues breaking up marriages all the time,” says Gary Traystman, a divorce attorney in New London, Conn. Of the 15 cases he handles per year where computer history, texts and emails are admitted as evidence, 60% exclusively involve Facebook.

“Affairs happen with a lightning speed on Facebook,” says K. Jason Krafsky, who authored the book “Facebook and Your Marriage” with his wife Kelli. In the real world, he says, office romances and out-of-town trysts can take months or even years to develop. “On Facebook,” he says, “they happen in just a few clicks.” The social network is different from most social networks or dating sites in that it both re-connects old flames and allows people to “friend” someone they may only met once in passing. “It puts temptation in the path of people who would never in a million years risk having an affair,” he says.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:42 PM | Permalink

May 4, 2012

Financial Infidelity

 Financial-Infidelity

First comes love, then comes lying: HALF of all people keep financial secrets from their partners

A new study has found that 46 percent of all people have lied to their partner about money and one-third of all people believe that financial infidelity leads to sexual infidelity.

The Today show's website, Today.com, and SELF magazine jointly surveyed their thousands of website visitors on all questions of dishonesty for their 'Financial Infidelity' report.

The analysis of their collective 23,000 responses was released this Tuesday, revealing how what couple's have in the bank can affect what happens in the bedroom.

'Our survey makes it clear that money can be a huge stumbling block for relationships if couples don't take the time to talk about it frankly,' said Martin Wolk, TODAY.com's executive business editor.

The survey was conducted from January 23-27 and a total of 23,230 readers between the ages of 18 and 80 participated.

Respondents confessed to a wide range of money secrets, including lying about purchases, hiding them in the back of the closet and secretly withdrawing money from joint accounts.

But that's going to get harder to do as the Wall St Journal reports in Hiding Money from Your Spouse

Electronic discovery is making it a lot easier to uncover all that covert activity.

Suspicious spouses might dig around in their partners' Web-surfing history and social networks to find traces of hidden bank accounts and business deals. They might install software on home computers that records every keystroke their spouses make—whether it's secret stock trades or cash transfers to paramours—and use smartphone and GPS tools to show when they've been making sneaky withdrawals from ATMs.

Meanwhile, divorce lawyers and forensic experts are employing new strategies of their own. Instead of having to sift through reams of paper records to find irregularities, they're now able to use advanced search tools to analyze thousands of digital bank statements, credit-card bills and other files in the blink of an eye.

"While in the past a paper trail might be hidden by a second set of books or the shredding of documents, the trail left by files on a computer is etched onto a hard drive somewhere, just waiting to be discovered," says Ken Altshuler, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:14 AM | Permalink

Break-ups and the 'love myth'

I think is probably hardest for those in their 20s and 30s.  Settling on the right mate and right career is not easy.  Nor is losing friends which is what happens when people break up.

 Breaking Up Couple

The REAL cost of a break-up: We lose EIGHT friends when a long-term relationship ends

A typical adult loses eight friends when a long-term relationship ends, a study found today.

Researchers found the taking of sides and the rights and wrongs of the circumstances of the split are the biggest reasons for broken friendships.

Around one in ten people said their fed-up friends had stopped speaking to both them and their former partner after the break-up.

More than 27 per cent of people even admitted to staying in a relationship longer than they really wanted to because of their fears about the impact it would have on their friendships.
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The eight friends who will be lost are likely to be three friends of the ex-partner and three mutual friends made during the relationship.

The other two were known before the relationship even started, but either ended up siding with the other half - or got fed up hearing about the conflict.

Of the 2,000 people polled - who have recently split from a partner - 31 per cent now regret their actions during the break-up because of the effect it had on their friendships.

Could all these false starts and break-ups have something to do with The 'Love Myth' in Pop Culture?

[There is]  a deeply embedded belief in our pop culture that the experience of being in love must meet a very specific set of criteria. This is the "love myth."

Haidt explains:

As I see it, the modern myth of true love involves these beliefs: True love is passionate love that never fades; if you are in true love, you should marry that person; if love ends, you should leave that person because it was not true love; and if you can find the right person, you will have true love forever. You might not believe this myth yourself, particularly if you are older than thirty; but many young people in Western nations are raised on it, and it acts as an ideal that they unconsciously carry with them even if they scoff at it. (It’s not just Hollywood that perpetrates the myth; Bollywood, the Indian film industry, is even more romanticized.)
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Companionate love is less exciting, but more lasting: “the affection we feel for those with whom our lives are deeply intertwined.”

The problem with passionate love is that it eventually fades. And that creates major problems for the person who decides to marry someone based on the expectation that passionate love will last forever--the most major of the problems being, of course, divorce.
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So does true love exist? Haidt thinks that it does:

True love exists, I believe, but it is not—cannot be—passion that lasts forever. True love, the love that undergirds strong marriages, is simply strong companionate love, with some added passion, between two people who are firmly committed to each other.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:12 AM | Permalink

May 3, 2012

On top of the world and the bride wore white

 Wedding At Northpole

On top of the world… couple become first to tie the knot at the North Pole

Arctic explorer Bxrge Ousland is feeling on top of the world after he and wife Hege became the first couple to get married at to the northern most point on in the world.

They flew to the remote frozen frontier with a party of 15 - including the best man, bridesmaid and a helicopter crew.

Bxrge, 49 from Oslo, Norway, said: 'The North pole is a big part of my life so I felt it needed to play some part in my wedding too.
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'Thankfully, we found a priest called Dag Henrik Berggrav who was willing to marry us.'

The explorer, who has completed dozens of trips to the chilly frontier, added: 'There were 15 people present in total.

'But that included the helicopter crew who ferried us up to the north pole.

Just as it finished something truly bizarre happened - a solo skier just happened to be passing.
'The skier Mark came along and shared a glass of champagne with us and passed on his congratulations.

'It was very surreal - we were in one of the remotest places in the world and there was this guy casually skiing along.

'We then headed back to the Russian research base and had a big party there.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:29 PM | Permalink

April 24, 2012

Heart to Heart

A wonderful story of unlikely love.

We found love while waiting for new hearts: Young couple awaiting transplants at same hospital fall for each other

Two teenagers awaiting heart transplants at a Texas hospital got more than they hoped for - when they fell in love.

Linda Thibodeaux and Jordan Merecka were waiting for the life-saving surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston when their physical therapists and nurses thought they should meet.

Linda had just been fitted with a new heart, which was the second transplant she had undergone, while Jordan, 18, was still hoping for a suitable match.

Instead, he was living on an artificial heart named SynCardia that weighed 400 pounds, which he had to drag along to their first awkward encounter.

But the pair bonded over their extraordinary struggles for survival.



'I'd never met anyone my age who was going through pretty much the same exact thing,' Linda told ABC13. 'Its a connection you can't really have with anyone else.'

'You're never probably ever going to find someone else who knows what you've been through and relate to it like she can,' added Jordan.

Jordan remained on his mechanical heart for five months while he waited for a suitable donor.

On the brink of death, a match was finally found.

'I felt like myself getting a whole new heart again, but it was him and it was a beautiful moment,' said Linda.

Their romance blossomed as they recovered from their respective surgeries and, six months later, they are both healthy and campaigning for more organ donors.

'I wouldn't be here without someone donating their heart and it's such a selfless act,' Linda said.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:47 PM | Permalink

April 16, 2012

"Sliding, not deciding"

Even The New York Times sees The Downside of Cohabiting Before Marriage

When Jennifer started therapy with me less than a year later, she was looking for a divorce lawyer. “I spent more time planning my wedding than I spent happily married,” she sobbed. Most disheartening to Jennifer was that she’d tried to do everything right.
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She was talking about what researchers call “sliding, not deciding.” Moving from dating to sleeping over to sleeping over a lot to cohabitation can be a gradual slope, one not marked by rings or ceremonies or sometimes even a conversation. Couples bypass talking about why they want to live together and what it will mean.

WHEN researchers ask cohabiters these questions, partners often have different, unspoken — even unconscious — agendas. Women are more likely to view cohabitation as a step toward marriage, while men are more likely to see it as a way to test a relationship or postpone commitment, and this gender asymmetry is associated with negative interactions and lower levels of commitment even after the relationship progresses to marriage. One thing men and women do agree on, however, is that their standards for a live-in partner are lower than they are for a spouse.
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Jennifer said she never really felt that her boyfriend was committed to her.  “I felt like I was on this multiyear, never-ending audition to be his wife,” she said. “We had all this furniture. We had our dogs and all the same friends. It just made it really, really difficult to break up. Then it was like we got married because we were living together once we got into our 30s.”

I’ve had other clients who also wish they hadn’t sunk years of their 20s into relationships that would have lasted only months had they not been living together. Others want to feel committed to their partners, yet they are confused about whether they have consciously chosen their mates. Founding relationships on convenience or ambiguity can interfere with the process of claiming the people we love.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:12 PM | Permalink

March 16, 2012

Grab bag of Delights and 'Pink Slime'

A don't miss video that can't be embedded.  Rita Hayworth Dancing to Stayin' Alive.

A wonderful piece, Simcha Fisher's A Little Proof of a Large Thing.

The look of love? How a woman's glance can tell a man if she's interested (or whether to walk away now)

If she looks down and then moves her eyes in a sweeping motion across the floor it almost certainly means that she is attracted to someone.  But an instant stare into a man's eyes or over his head on meeting is very bad news for a suitor


'Pink slime' sounds gross, but how does it taste?

The pink slime burger also was perfectly seared and drew me in with an equally alluring aroma. But no juices collected on the plate. Or dribbled out. Or were apparent in the meat in really any way. The taste was - OK...t was not bad. But nor was it good. It was flat. I added more salt. No. It was simply one-dimensional....And then there was the texture. Unpleasantly chewy bits of what I can only describe as gristle, though they were not visible, seemed to stud the meat of the pink slime burger. The result was a mealy chew that, while not overtly unpleasant, didn't leave me wanting another bite.

Menopause 'brain fog' is real, study confirms    No surprise to millions of women.

The less you sleep, the fatter you become.  Tiredness makes us eat more, about 500 calories more on average.

You can see how white the cliffs of Dover are when a part collapses. Thousands of tons of chalk crash into sea after frost and drought.

 Dovercliffs Collapse

The extraordinary hyper-realistic pencil drawings of Paul Cadden PENCIL!

-Paul Cadden Pencildrawing

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:28 AM | Permalink

February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day As Time Goes By

An all time favorite ballad by an all time great singer from an all time romantic movie.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:55 PM | Permalink

December 19, 2011

"Family structure is a new dividing line in American society”

Ruth Marcus writes The marriage gap presents a real cost.

If current trends hold, within a few years, less than half the U.S. adult population will be married. This precipitous decline isn’t just a social problem. It’s also an economic problem.

Specifically, it’s an income-inequality and economic-mobility problem. The steadily dropping marriage rate both contributes to income inequality and further entrenches it.

The latest numbers, from the Pew Research Center, are startling and disturbing. In 1960, nearly three-fourths of those 18 and older were married. By 2010, that number had plummeted to a bare majority, 51 percent. Four in 10 births were to unmarried women.

In 1960, the most- and least-educated adults were equally likely to be married. Now, nearly two-thirds of college graduates are married, compared with less than half of those with a high school diploma or less. Those with less education are less likely to ever marry and more likely to divorce if they do.

“Family structure is a new dividing line in American society,” Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution told me.

As marriage increasingly becomes a phenomenon of the better-off and better-educated, the incomes of two-earner married couples diverge more and more from those of struggling single adults. There is a chicken-and-egg conundrum at work here: Did lack of financial stability contribute to the decision not to marry, or did the decision not to marry contribute to financial instability? Either way, the phenomenon is self-reinforcing.

Of even more concern is the generational impact of this increased inequality. Being raised in a stable, two-parent household is a strong determinant of educational achievement. In turn, educational achievement is a strong — and growing stronger — determinant of lifetime income. As a result, the marriage gap becomes a grimly self-perpetuating process.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:14 PM | Permalink

December 14, 2011

Secrets of Good Marriages

Generosity could be the biggest key to a happy marriage

The flowers a man gives to his wife and the back rubs she doles out in return could be the key to a happy marriage.

Couples with above-average generosity in their marriages reported that they were five times more likely to be 'very happy' in their relationship, according to a new study.

A fulfilling sex life ranked as the single biggest indicator of whether married couples were happy, but high levels of generosity also contributed to good times in the bedroom. This means generosity could be a key to sexual satisfaction and general happiness.

 Coffee In Bed

Being generous in small ways every day is also a key to general well-being.

Tara Parker-Pope looks at the study behind the story of  The Generous Marriage

Researchers from the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project recently studied the role of generosity in the marriages of 2,870 men and women. Generosity was defined as “the virtue of giving good things to one’s spouse freely and abundantly” — like simply making them coffee in the morning — and researchers quizzed men and women on how often they behaved generously toward their partners. How often did they express affection? How willing were they to forgive?

The responses went right to the core of their unions. Men and women with the highest scores on the generosity scale were far more likely to report that they were “very happy” in their marriages. The benefits of generosity were particularly pronounced among couples with children. Among the parents who posted above-average scores for marital generosity, about 50 percent reported being “very happy” together. Among those with lower generosity scores, only about 14 percent claimed to be “very happy,” according to the latest “State of Our Unions” report from the National Marriage Project.
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“In marriage we are expected to do our fair share when it comes to housework, child care and being faithful, but generosity is going above and beyond the ordinary expectations with small acts of service and making an extra effort to be affectionate,” explains the University of Virginia’s W. Bradford Wilcox, who led the research. “Living that spirit of generosity in a marriage does foster a virtuous cycle that leads to both spouses on average being happier in the marriage.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:41 PM | Permalink

November 9, 2011

Why are atheist feminists attracted to Mormon mommy blogs?

Emily Matchar says she can't stop reading Mormon housewife blogs

Their lives are nothing like mine — I’m your standard-issue late-20-something childless overeducated atheist feminist — yet I’m completely obsessed with their blogs. On an average day, I’ll skim through a half-dozen Mormon blogs, looking at Polaroids of dogs in raincoats or kids in bow ties, reading gratitude lists, admiring sewing projects.

I’m not alone, either. Two of my closest friends — both chronically overworked Ph.D. candidates — procrastinate for hours poring over Nat the Fat Rat or C. Jane Enjoy It. A recent discussion of Mormonism on the blog Jezebel unleashed a waterfall of confessions in the comments section from other young non-religious women similarly riveted by the shiny, happy domestic lives of their Latter-day Saint sisters.
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Well, to use a word that makes me cringe, these blogs are weirdly “uplifting.” -- I do think women of my generation are looking to the past in an effort to create fulfilling, happy domestic lives, since the modern world doesn’t offer much of a road map.

 Mom-With-Baby-And-Computer

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... the basic messages expressed in these blogs — family is wonderful, life is meant to be enjoyed, celebrate the small things — are still lovely. And if they help women like me envision a life in which marriage and motherhood could potentially be something other than a miserable, soul-destroying trap, I say, “Right on. I won’t be inviting the missionaries inside for hot cocoa now or ever, but I don’t plan on stopping my blog habit any time soon.

Jennifer Fulweiler, a former atheist who became a Catholic, mother of 5 and prolific blogger herself writes about the Secret that Makes Housewife Blogs So Irresistible.

One of the great surprises of the human life is that complete autonomy makes you miserable, and it’s only when you give yourself fully in the service of others that you’ll find lasting happiness. It is a counter-intuitive truth that taps directly into our spiritual selves, which is why people of faith typically understand it best.
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Back in my career days, I thought that living life to the fullest meant racking up impressive credentials and being as self-sufficient as possible. But the universal truth that I stumbled across in my own life, that bursts from the pages of countless mommy blogs by women of faith, is that the meaning of life is to give, to share, and to open yourself to the point that your life becomes inextricably entwined with the lives of others.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:11 PM | Permalink

October 30, 2011

"The sexual revolution has left a trail of destruction in its wake"

Mona Charen writing on the infamous Kate Bolick piece in The Atlantic, What Me Marry? says Blame the Sexual Revolution, Not Men.

But these trends, however interesting, shed only an oblique light on the problem of the decline in marriageable males. Bolick edges closer to the truth in her discussion of sex.

“The early 1990s,” she writes, “witnessed the dawn of the ‘hookup culture’ at universities, as colleges stopped acting in loco parentis [actually they relinquished that role in the 1970s] and undergraduates . . . started throwing themselves into a frenzy of one-night-stands.” Some young women, she notes, felt “forced into a promiscuity they didn’t ask for,” whereas young men “couldn’t be happier.”

According to economist Robert H. Frank, “when available women significantly outnumber men . . . courtship behavior changes in the direction of what men want.” And vice versa. If there’s a shortage of women, the females have more power to demand what they want — which tends to be (surprise!) monogamy. On college campuses, women outnumber men by 57 to 43 percent.

But economic analysis can take you only so far. Men’s capacity to insist upon promiscuity rests completely on female cooperation. And women have been foolishly compliant for decades.

They’ve conspired in their own disempowerment not because they love their sexual freedom (though a few may), but because people like Gloria Steinem and Ms. Bolick’s mother convinced them that the old sexual mores, along with marriage and children, were oppressive to women.

The resulting decline of marriage has been a disaster for children, a deep disappointment to reluctantly single women, and unhealthy for single men, who are less happy, shorter-lived, and less wealthy than married men. The sexual revolution has left a trail of destruction in its wake, even when its victims don’t recognize the perpetrato
r.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:50 PM | Permalink

October 13, 2011

Single ladies growing old

What is it like for All the Single Ladies?    Reflections and  lessons learned by Kate Bolick in The Atlantic

We took for granted that we’d spend our 20s finding ourselves, whatever that meant, and save marriage for after we’d finished graduate school and launched our careers, which of course would happen at the magical age of 30.

That we would marry, and that there would always be men we wanted to marry, we took on faith. How could we not?
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For thousands of years, marriage had been a primarily economic and political contract between two people, negotiated and policed by their families, church, and community. It took more than one person to make a farm or business thrive, and so a potential mate’s skills, resources, thrift, and industriousness were valued as highly as personality and attractiveness. This held true for all classes. In the American colonies, wealthy merchants entrusted business matters to their landlocked wives while off at sea, just as sailors, vulnerable to the unpredictability of seasonal employment, relied on their wives’ steady income as domestics in elite households. Two-income families were the norm.
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“We are without a doubt in the midst of an extraordinary sea change,” she told me. “The transformation is momentous—immensely liberating and immensely scary. When it comes to what people actually want and expect from marriage and relationships, and how they organize their sexual and romantic lives, all the old ways have broken down.”
--
But the non-committers are out there in growing force. If dating and mating is in fact a marketplace—and of course it is—today we’re contending with a new “dating gap,” where marriage-minded women are increasingly confronted with either deadbeats or players. For evidence, we don’t need to look to the past, or abroad—we have two examples right in front of us: the African American community, and the college campus.
--
This erosion of traditional marriage and family structure has played out most dramatically among low-income groups, both black and white.

She concludes rather more hopefully for single women.

the cultural fixation on the couple blinds us to the full web of relationships that sustain us on a daily basis. We are far more than whom we are (or aren’t) married to: we are also friends, grandparents, colleagues, cousins, and so on. To ignore the depth and complexities of these networks is to limit the full range of our emotional experiences.

And then ends with a lyrical description of the Begijnhof  in Amsterdam which was founded in the 12th century, part of a movement that has always fascinated me, the Beguines.  For sometime, I've thought the model of the Beguines could offer an attractive way of living for older women.  They take no vows but live in community and devote themselves to prayer and good works like caring for the poor and the old.

Living in community counters the Long loneliness in America that Rod Dreher writes about

Some told me stories about how isolated they are, even living in big cities, and how lonely they are for community. Others have talked about how much they envy me having a St. Francisville to go back to; their families moved around so much that there’s no anchorage for them to find harbor in. Still others expressed sorrow at how much they want what the people in St. Francisville have, but how very far they are from being able to get it. When one friend said that in all his social network, he can’t think of a single person he’d trust enough to authorize them to pick his kid up from day care in the event of an emergency, I thought about how I haven’t lived in St. Francisville in almost 28 years, but I can think of at least a dozen people there — family and friends — off the top of my head that I could trust unreservedly with my children in a moment of crisis.

That is remarkable. What kind of country do we live in, where this is so uncommon? What has happened to us? If I’d only heard this privately from a couple of people, it would be one thing. But I’m getting it from more than a few, and from all over the country.

One friend got in touch with me and spoke with disarming bluntness about loneliness and helplessness, saying: “Everything I’ve done has been for career advancement. Go for the money, the good jobs. And we have done well. But we are alone in the world. Almost everybody we know is like that. My family is all over the country. My kids only call if they want something. People like us, when we get old, our kids can’t move back to care for us if they wanted to, because we all go off to some golf resort to retire. It’s hell. This is the world we have made for ourselves. I envy you that you get to escape it.”

One cry from the heart of Christine Odone, I'm scared of growing old and ending up in hospital, neglected and humiliated.  If she lived in a community like the Bequines, she would have no anxiety.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:51 PM | Permalink

Substituting Things for Love

The Anchoress on Madison Avenue's Vision of Love

If the recent barrage of ham-handed television commercials peopled with foolish men, churlish women and hectoring, know-it-all children are any indication, Madison Avenue has no idea what love has to do with relationships or families, or natural desire. Even worse, it believes the rest of us don’t, either, and that things—lots and lots of things—can suffice, can provide reasonable facsimiles of love. We will love our new shoes or our new iSomething, we are told; we will love, love, love this new air freshener. These things will make us happy. As long as we are not looking to be loved back.

An astonishing percentage of our economy is dependent upon our willingness to substitute things for love, and to just keep buying. Is it any wonder, then, that our culture is consumed with loneliness and broken dreams, or that all of our empty bubbles—technology, housing, tuition for “good” colleges that will keep the love coming—are bursting one after another?
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:41 PM | Permalink

August 30, 2011

"To you I send a chirp from under the left breast"

Neo-neocon has a wonderful story about the British economist John Maynard Keynes, who though very gay, fell madly in love with a Russian ballerina Lydia Lopokova, married her and remained a faithful happy husband until his death of heart disease at 62.

John Maynard Keynes, married man

Her English was terrible but beguiling: “To you I send a chirp from under the left breast,” she would write, “I place melodious strokes all over you.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:14 PM | Permalink

August 18, 2011

Operation Whitecake

An extraordinary surprise from a man who listened well.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:24 PM | Permalink

August 12, 2011

You can live happily ever after

Thanks to Sigmund, Carl and Alfred, I learn that  Long-Term Love Not Just a Fairy Tale: A new study finds nearly three-quarters of Americans remain “very in love” after a decade of marriage

That fairy-tale inspired narrative of wedded bliss appears to hold true for a surprisingly large number of Americans, according to a newly published study.

In a random survey, 47.8 percent of married Americans (49 percent of men and 46.3 percent of women) reported being “very intensely in love” with their spouse, according to a research team led by Stony Brook University psychologist K. Daniel O’Leary. Another 13.4 percent said they were “intensely in love,” while 26.2 percent chose the term “very in love.”

The Art of Manliness points to another study in Romantic Love Can Last

In 2010, researchers conducted a study to answer those questions. They brought in 17 people who claimed to still be in love with their spouses, with whom they had been with an average of 21 years, and scanned their brains with a functional MRI machine while each participant gazed at a picture of his or her beloved.
--
those who were still passionately in love after decades in a relationship enjoyed the intensity of romantic love, coupled with the stable attachment of companionate love, without the anxiety and obsession that accompanies new love, and with the added bonus of natural painkillers. A pretty nice state to be in, no?
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:52 AM | Permalink

August 11, 2011

"I was avoiding my dad's eyes as I waited with him at the end of the aisle.'

It's not a scientific poll, but it rings true.

Thirty percent of divorced women knew they were making a mistake when they walked down the aisle.

I was avoiding my dad's eyes as I waited with him at the end of the aisle. I did not want to hear any "pearls of wisdom." Instead I paid attention to the photographer. I simply could not look at my dad because I knew I was making a mistake.
--
Why would smart women do this? They cited many of the same reasons:

• Age: The self-imposed biological clock is starting to tick a little louder.
• "Marriage will instantly make the relationship better."
• "It's my last chance to get married and no one else will come along."
"If it doesn't work out I can always get a divorce."

Judgment aside, "these women" are your sisters, daughters, and friends. Maybe even you. Their common --yet misguided--belief is that they are better off with the wrong guy than being alone. It doesn't matter how self-actualized, independent or liberal-minded they are.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:19 PM | Permalink

When Separation Can Save a Marriage.

Sometimes the people in a marriage just need to get away from each for a while.    And, if they do so, they can save their marriage. 

That's the report by Elizabeth Bernstein in the Wall St Journal, To Save a Marriage, Split Up?

It seems counterintuitive: How can a separation save a marriage? When a couple splits—even for a trial period—isn't that just a pit stop on the way to divorce?

Surprisingly, many marriage therapists recommend a separation, albeit as a measure of last resort. They say that if both spouses set specific parameters, the space and time to think that a trial separation provides just might be what is needed to save the relationship. Still, there are few, if any, statistics that show whether it works or how many couples try separating.

Sharon Gilchrest O'Neill, a marriage and family therapist in Mount Kisco, N.Y., has helped about 40 couples arrange trial separations over the past 20 years and says that about half reconciled and remained married.
---
[W]hat if the partners took a break before the hatred set in? It wouldn't have to be the formal separation that is often a legal precursor to divorce, but an informal break to give the spouses some space to breathe, think and calm down.

Often, the reality-check that marital separations provide—the prospect of unraveling finances, facing dating again, fully grasping the collateral damage done to the kids—is enough to make people resolve to work harder on the marriage.

"Sometimes having a dress rehearsal for divorce makes them realize they don't want to do it," says Richard Levak, a psychologist who works with couples in Del Mar, Calif.

Bernstein points out some issues to consider before trying a separation:

Get a marriage therapist. A trained professional can help mediate between the two parties.

Consult an attorney specializing in family law. Find out how the terms of the separation could affect any eventual divorce. A consultation sometimes scares people into working harder on their marriage, once they face the reality of what divorced life will be like, says Linda Lea Viken, a divorce lawyer.

Agree on logistics. Who will leave and where will that person go? Who will pay the bills? Who will take care of the kids and how much time will the other spouse be able to see them?

Consider email your friend. Writing to each other, rather than meeting or talking on the phone, can be a way to defuse the tension.

Put your agreement in writing. This doesn't require a lawyer. A therapist can do it. It protects one spouse from taking advantage of the other.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:04 PM | Permalink

July 15, 2011

The Totalitarian impulse and Elite Sanctimony

These days when the debate over gay marriage has become rancorous, George Weigel  reminds us about the totalitarian temptation in No Homophobia.

[C]rying “homophobia” is a cheap calumny, a crypto-totalitarian bully’s smear that impresses no serious person.

As analysts running the gamut from Hannah Arendt to Leszek Kolakowski understood, modern totalitarian systems were, at bottom, attempts to remake reality by redefining reality and remaking human beings in the process. Coercive state power was essential to this process, because reality doesn’t yield easily to remaking, and neither do people. In the lands Communism tried to remake, the human instinct for justice — justice that is rooted in reality rather than ephemeral opinion — was too strong to change the way tastemakers change fashions in the arts. Men and women had to be coerced into accepting, however sullenly, the Communist New Order, which was a new metaphysical, epistemological, and moral order — a New Order of reality, a new set of “truths,” and a new way of living “in harmony with society,” as late-bureaucratic Communist claptrap had it.
--
[M]arriage and the families that are built around marriage constitute one of the basic elements of civil society, that free space of free associations whose boundaries the just state must respect. If the 21st-century democratic state attempts to redefine something it has neither the capacity nor the authority to refine, it can only do so coercively. That redefinition, and its legal enforcement, is a grave encroachment into civil society.

If the state can redefine marriage and enforce that redefinition, it can do so with the doctor-patient relationship, the lawyer-client relationship, the parent-child relationship, the confessor-penitent relationship, and virtually every other relationship that is woven into the texture of civil society. In doing so, the state does serious damage to the democratic project. Concurrently, it reduces what it tries to substitute for reality to farce.

That’s what those whom Mr. Kennicott deplores as virulent bigots were trying to point out.

Neoneocon points out how religious freedom lost in Gay marriage and religious freedom

The original legislation contained an important clause protecting (for now) churches from being forced to perform gay marriages if it violates their beliefs. But it lacked protection for any other group or individual that might have a similar problem. The repercussions could have been predicted, and actions such as that of Laura L. Fotusky, who resigned as town clerk of Barker, NY because performing such marriages would violate her religious beliefs, might be followed by similar actions on the part of others facing the same dilemma.
--
Ms. Rice’s characterization of their attitude as “personal” and “discriminatory” is personal and discriminatory itself, because beliefs founded in a religion that’s been a going concern for two thousand years are more of a group/institutional thing than some personal idiosyncrasy. Plus—at least until the NY legislation was passed less than three weeks ago—the belief that marriage remained the province of man and woman was considered mainstream and nondiscriminatory.

No doubt Ms. Rice, who is a DA, chose her words carefully in order to downplay and/or ignore the real issue here, which is religious freedom, a supposedly protected right. It is the same issue involved in protecting hospital and health care workers who refuse on religious grounds to participate in abortions that run counter to their belief system.

It's hard not to agree with Frank Furedi who wrote in The Australian on a similar debate down under: When gay matrimony meets elite sanctimony.

Whatever one thinks about the pros and cons of gay marriage, a tolerant society cannot deny the right of homosexual couples to formalise their relationship. But the campaign for gay marriage is not just about rights but about the contestation of values and attitudes.

From a sociological perspective, the ascendancy of the campaign for gay marriage provides a fascinating story about the dynamics of the cultural conflicts that prevail in Western society. During the past decade the issue of gay marriage has been transformed into a cultural weapon that explicitly challenges prevailing norms through condemning those who oppose it. This is not so much a call for legal change as a cause: one that endows its supporters with moral superiority and demotes its opponents with the status of moral inferiority.

As a result, it does not simply represent a claim for a right but a demand for the institutionalisation of new moral and cultural values.
--
What we have here is the casual affirmation of a double standard: tolerance towards supporters of gay marriage and intolerance directed towards its opponents.

The declaration that certain values and attitudes are incompatible with modern society tends to serve as a prelude towards stigmatising and attempting to silence it. That is why the so-called enlightened opponents of "old-time religion" more than match the intolerance of those they denounce as homophobic bigots.

In the Anglo-American world, gay marriage has become one of those causes through which the cosmopolitan cultural elites define themselves and construct a moral contrast between themselves and ordinary folk. What's really important for them is the sense of superiority experienced through the conviction that "we" are not like them. In this way, a clear moral distinction is drawn between the forward-looking attitudes of an enlightened, courageous minority and the backward-looking prejudices of a homophobic majority.

Another Australian writer Sheila Liaugminas interviews Princeton philosophy professor Robert George in The
Orthodoxy of Sexual Liberation

Devotion to “sexual freedom” had been no part of the liberalism of FDR, George Meaney, Cesar Chavez, Hubert Humphrey, or the leaders and rank-and-file members of the civil-rights movement. Today, however, allegiance to the cause of sexual freedom is the nonnegotiable price of admission to the liberal (or “progressive”) club. ...

As Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, and I argue in our Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy article, once one buys into the ideology of sexual liberalism, the reality that has traditionally been denominated as “marriage” loses all intelligibility. That is true whether one regards oneself politically as a liberal or a conservative. For people who have absorbed the central premises of sexual liberation (whether formally and explicitly, as liberals tend to do, or merely implicitly as those conservatives who have gone in for it tend to do), marriage simply cannot function as the central principle or standard of rectitude in sexual conduct, as it has in Western philosophy, theology, and law for centuries.
--
Moreover, one will come to regard one’s allegiance to sexual liberalism as a mark of urbanity and sophistication, and will likely find oneself looking down on those “ignorant,” “intolerant,” “bigoted” people — those hicks and rubes — who refuse to get “on the right side of history.” One will perceive people who wish to engage in conduct rejected by traditional morality (especially where such conduct is sought in satisfaction of desires that can be redescribed or labeled as an “orientation,” such as “gay” or “bisexual,” or “polyamorist”) as belonging to the category of “sexual minorities” whose “civil rights” are violated by laws embodying the historic understanding of marriage and sexual ethics. One will begin congratulating oneself for one’s “open-mindedness” and “tolerance” in holding that marriage should be redefined to accommodate the interests of these minorities, and one will likely lose any real regard for the rights of, say, parents who do not wish to have their children indoctrinated into the ideology of sexual liberalism in public schools. “Why,” one will ask, “should fundamentalist parents be free to rear their children as little bigots?” Heather’s two mommies or Billy’s two mommies and three daddies are the keys to freeing children from parental “homophobia” and “polyphobia.”

---
“Let the marriage matter be put to the ballot in state after state,” he said, emphatically. “Because when the people deliberate on the issue, they have always come down on the side of traditional marriage.” In 31 out of 31 times it’s been put to the vote, he reminds me.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:13 AM | Permalink

June 24, 2011

WWII Vet Marries for the First Time, at 99

WWII Vet Marries for First Time, at 99

“I never met the right woman until I met Virginia"

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Herrick, a World War II veteran and a retired postal worker, has been a resident at Monroe Community Hospital for 1½ years. Virginia Hartman-Herrick, 86, has been widowed for 25 years and moved to MCH about a year ago.

Gilbert and Virginia have a pretty simple, but very sane, philosophy — do the things that make you happy.

They met in the hall one day shortly after Virginia arrived.

"I said something about an exhibit of china painting downstairs (It was an exhibit of her work.). And he said, 'I'm going to go down and look at it.'"

Gilbert, who does oil paintings, liked what he saw. And the two of them soon became an item.

"There's nobody here to talk to," Gilbert says. "She was the only one, and I started visiting her every day. I thought she would kick me out." She didn't.

"We wanted to share a room," Gilbert says, "but you can't do that here unless you are married. So she asked me, and I said yes." Her five children, grandchildren and great grandchildren all helped prepare the wedding. Gilbert and Virginia use wheelchairs, and they decided to postpone their first married dance until the dance floor was a little less crowded. Their first kiss was tricky; the dance will require a little practice. "We didn't want to knock anyone over," he says.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:36 PM | Permalink

June 8, 2011

Strangest wedding photo -UPDATED

 Marriage-Piercedwoman

World's most pierced woman gets married to balding civil servant

Elaine Davidson, who has almost 7000 piercings covering her body, married Douglas Watson, at a low-key wedding reception in Edinburgh.

Brazilian-born Miss Davidson, 46, made a bizarre sight in a flowing white wedding gown and floral tiara with only her face visible, which was painted green and covered in 192 piercings.

It contrasted markedly from her older husband, who is aged in his 60s, who was more conservatively-dressed in a simple navy suit, a sky-blue shirt and Marks and Spencer tie. The two bridesmaids were dressed in pink.
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When first accredited by a Guinness World Record official in 2000, Miss Davidson had 462 piercings, with 192 in her face alone.

The former nurse now has 6,925 including more than 1,500 that are "internal" that are said to weigh almost seven pounds.

Love is indeed blind.

UPDATED:

Miss Davidson has previously said she never removes the rings and studs, which she estimates weigh a total of around three kilos.
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She said in February 2009, when she had 6,005 piercings including
1,500 that are 'internal': 'I don't enjoy getting pierced, but to break the record you have to get to a high level.  'I wanted to break the record.
--
On her own website,
Miss Davidson, who also sleeps on a bed of nails and has walked on fire and glass, says she enjoys extreme sports and theatre, but does not drink or smoke.

-Pierced-Woman-Wedding

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:06 PM | Permalink

April 29, 2011

What I loved about the Royal Wedding

Yes, I did get up early to watch the Royal Wedding.  I love weddings and the British excel at pomp and circumstance and the beauty of tradition.  I've posted a lot about  broken Britain and its scuttling of all that made it great so I watched with great pleasure at the Englishness and tradition of the royal wedding.    So did all the crowds and hundreds of millions around the globe.

The beauty of Westminster Abbey

 Rw Cathedral

The native English flowers decorating the church and the  trees along the aisle.

The two princes in red and blue with spurs!

Rw 2Princes

The beautiful bride and Kate's gorgeous dress

 Rw Dress

 Kate's Dress

The charming flower girls and pages, led by the maid of honor.

 Rw Pippa Flowergirls

The best wedding sermon  I ever heard by The Bishop of London

Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.
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In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.
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And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each another.
A spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life. 

The music, especially Ubi Caritas et Amor as arranged by Paul Mealor
 

The young crowds.

 Rw Crowds

The kiss and the little bridesmaid who found the roar of the crowd and the flyover much too loud.

 The Kiss

All the wonderful clothes and hats!  But the cartwheeling verger captures best the joy of the day.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:10 PM | Permalink

April 19, 2011

Royal wedding

And if you haven't seen the T-Mobile Royal Wedding, it's a hoot.  The royal look-a-likes are amazing.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:10 AM | Permalink

March 27, 2011

He got married on his 100th birthday to a younger woman, 93

To have and too old: Dance partners with combined age of 193 become world's oldest ever newlyweds

         
         193Combinedage Wedding

A dancing couple with a combined age of 193 have tied the knot - and become the world's oldest ever newlyweds.  Forrest Lunsway, 100, married Rose Pollard, 93, after he finally popped the question following a 28-year courtship.  The loved-up couple, who are both keen ballroom dancers, met on the dance floor of a community centre in 1983.

Rose said she initially told him she'd never marry him but she finally succumbed when he popped the question last year.  She said: ‘I told him up front I had no intention of getting married. But then one day he asked me “how come we never got married?” and I said “because you never asked me”.

‘'So he got down on one knee and said “Well I’m asking you now, just set the date.” I told him “I’ll marry you on your 100th birthday”. And I did.’
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The wedding was a total surprise for all the guests - who thought they had been invited to Forrest's birthday party.

Pastor Sam Lewis, who officiated the ceremony, said: ‘I’ve done a lot of crazy weddings, but this is awesome. The theme of the wedding was “you’re not done living until you’re dead.”’
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:18 AM | Permalink

March 10, 2011

Is Facebook undermining marriage?

Facebook a top cause of relationship trouble say US lawyers

Even though the rate of divorce in the US has remained largely stable in recent years, American divorce lawyers and academics have joined Middle East analysts in picking out Facebook as a leading cause of relationship trouble, with American lawyers now demanding to see their clients' Facebook pages as a matter of course before the start of proceedings.

"We're coming across it more and more. One spouse connects online with someone they knew from school. The person is emotionally available and they start communicating through Facebook," said Dr Steven Kimmons, a clinical psychologist and marriage counsellor at Loyola University Medical Centre near Chicago.
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A 2010 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) found that f
our out of five lawyers reported an increasing number of divorce cases citing evidence derived from social networking sites in the past five years, with Facebook being the market leader.

Two-thirds of the lawyers surveyed said that Facebook was the "primary source" of evidence in divorce proceedings, while MySpace with 15% and Twitter with 5% lagged far behind.

Those statistics included not just evidence of infidelity but other legal battles, such as child custody cases in which parents deny using illicit drugs but boast of smoking marijuana on their Facebook pages.

Photographs harvested from social networking sites – including those posted by friends or colleagues on their own pages – are a particularly rich source of damning evidence, according to divorce lawyers.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:58 PM | Permalink

March 5, 2011

Round-up of love and its counterfeits.

Too often love is thought of as warm feelings.  Yet, true love is willing the good of the other and doing something about it.  All of these articles from last week spoke to me of love or the lack of it.

More Civilians Killed Last Year in One Mexican Border Town Than All Afghanistan

There were 3,111 civilians murdered in the city of Juarez in 2010 and 2,421 in the entire country of Afghanistan.

On a per capita basis, a civilian was 30 times more likely to be murdered last year in Juarez, ... than in Afghanistan.

Yet, our border agents forced to face down bullets with bean bags.

Border agent  Brian Terry, armed with beanbags,  is killed with guns smuggled into Mexico by our Agency for Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)

Guidelines drawn up by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) for doctors, nurses and counsellors involved in terminations, state that "women should be advised that abortion is generally safer than continuing a pregnancy to term."   

Except for the baby.

Startling Infographic, Exploring America's Addiction to Porn  Is there a surer way to destroy the capacity to love?

"Discovering online sexual material was the worst thing that had ever happened in their life"

The Secret to a Happy Marriage: Do the Dishes, Put Out, Don't Talk So Much
Five somewhat regressive, not very romantic, yet extremely effective lessons from economics for a happy marriage with long-term prospects:

When You Feel Loved, You Love Stuff Less
A new psychology study  by UNH psychology professor Edward Lemay and colleagues at Yale ratifies common sense.

Looking at a Loved One's Photo Takes Away Pain as Well as Drugs
A study by Stanford University found direct evidence linking feelings of emotional attachment with the soothing of pain. Image of a partner dulls pain 'as much as cocaine'

Maybe you hate your political opponents more than you should for your own good    The Hate that Feels like Love

A teacher was giving me the business yesterday, and the teacher told me she hates me because it makes her feel good”
--
“Hatred,” says psychologist Robert Enright, “has a long shelf life. Once it enters into the human heart, it’s hard to get it out. It breeds destruction, discouragement, and hopelessness.”
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Anyone who has ever been targeted by a pack of bullies understands. Venting hatred, especially under the righteous cover of a “cause,” gives one a sense of belonging and purpose and—quite unlike love—it does so in an expeditious and rather painless way. Mob-supported hatred removes openness from the social equation, and that in turn takes away vulnerability, leaving one with a powerful sense of communal well-being that can serve as a reasonable facsimile of being loved by others.

What love looks like In a backwater town of only 800 residents Twenty five people take it in turns to perform CPR for 1.5 hours to keep man who collapsed after heart attack alive.  Rescuers gave him no chance of survival but Howard Snitzer, 54, has made an almost complete recovery. He said

I love them. I love those people. What can I say? It's pretty overwhelming to be in a room full of people that are not going to walk away and give up on you.

' And I had nothing to do with it. It's just one of those things. They're all angels as far as I'm concerned.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:59 PM | Permalink

February 14, 2011

Happy St Valentine's Day

I've been opening up my valentines  - this one came from Google.

             Google Valentines

It's romantic and cheap: How to write a love letter and salvage Valentine's Day.

Data mining or data research  from OKCupid brings us The Best Questions for a First Date that statistically align with the questions you really want the answers to but can't ask.  Go see what "Do you like the taste of beer" and "Do spelling and grammar mistakes annoy you" align with.

From the Advice Goddess, Valentine's Day is Our National Day of Insincerity

Lionel Tiger looks at the anthropological aspects of Valentine's Day 

The biological bottom line is that it is the woman's responsibility to secure an acceptable long-term partner. Her stakes could not be higher. Marriage as an institution has largely been a means of protecting her (and often restricting her, too). And while marriage is by no means a romantic walk on the beach, it gets children raised and life goes on.


So who was St Valentine,  anyway?

         St. Valentine

Paul McHugh wites of  Matters of the Heart. in reviewing The Sublime Engine.

At some point, Love Outgrows Gifts on Valentine's Day

Long-term relationships do not survive without gifts, to be sure. But they are not the gifts you may think.
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Many gifts are of the psychological and intangible sort. They range from simple empathy, affection and a catch-all category called “understanding,” to complex actions like sacrificing your career so your family can move to a city where a spouse or partner has a new and better job.
---
“Romance and passion is all about using the elements of surprise and the elements of newness,” That’s what couples say, and that’s what I’ve found in the research.” said Professor Terri Orbuch who's been doing a continuing study on married couples since the 80s.
--
It is very sweet and nice when you are 20 or 25,” said Ms. Mosher, 92. “But we are so safe and secure in our love for each other, there is no need for that kind of thing.”

       Thing-Called-Love

It's never too late. When the ice king married the snow queen.

“We don’t always necessarily find love where we think we will. Sometimes it finds us,” said their friend Mrs. Naughton. “Love found them.”

Human love, divine love and the skeptic.

One man who spent much time and thought considering the why and how of love was Pope John Paul II. "Man cannot live without love," he wrote in Redemptor Hominis, his first encyclical. "He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it" (10).

That is a statement both St. Paul and John Lennon could agree with, for it states something that is evident to the thoughtful person, whether Christian or otherwise: I need love. I want to love. I am made for love.

Little kids answer the question What is Love ?

                    Playground Love Girl Vert


When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth."
Billy - age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other. " Karl - age 5

"There are two kinds of love. Our love. God's love. But God makes both kinds of them." Jenny - age 8

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen," Bobby - age 7

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." Karen - age 7
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:23 AM | Permalink

February 1, 2011

Marriage remains the key to a better life for all concerned

Marriage, the key to a better life.

Marriage cheers you up, improves your diet and helps you live longer, researchers say.

It brings better mental and physical health, reducing the chance of premature death by 15 per cent, according to major studies in seven European countries.

And the longer a marriage lasts the more the rewards accumulate – the only catch being that the relationship has to be loving and supportive.

And what's the One Simple Secret to a Good Marriage?

“It’s simple, but it’s not easy… “It’s what’s in your heart. You’ve got to LOVE each other. We’re happy because I do things for him and he does things for me. That’s what love means… I do things for him and he does things for me.”

---As she talked, it became clear that the “things” they’ve done for one another were way beyond the “pick-up-his-socks” and “surprise-her-by doing-the dishes” things suggested in typical marriage columns. Their mutual “doing” carried them across parched deserts and through tumultuous rapids—past the dangerous places where marriages die. It was no easy feat.

But as Gerry Garibaldi, a teacher at an inner-city school in Connecticut, writes, "Nobody Gets Married Any More, Mister"

Thanks to the feds, urban schools like mine—already entitled to substantial federal largesse under Title I, which provides funds to public schools with large low-income populations—are swimming in money.

----Within my lifetime, single parenthood has been transformed from shame to saintliness. In our society, perversely, we celebrate the unwed mother as a heroic figure, like a fireman or a police officer. During the last presidential election, much was made of Obama’s mother, who was a single parent. Movie stars and pop singers flaunt their daddy-less babies like fishing trophies.

None of this is lost on my students. In today’s urban high school, there is no shame or social ostracism when girls become pregnant. . . .

Connecticut is among the most generous of the states to out-of-wedlock mothers. Teenage girls like Nicole qualify for a vast array of welfare benefits from the state and federal governments: medical coverage when they become pregnant (called “Healthy Start”); later, medical insurance for the family (“Husky”); child care (“Care 4 Kids”); Section 8 housing subsidies; the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; cash assistance. If you need to get to an appointment, state-sponsored dial-a-ride is available. . . .

In theory, this provision of services is humane and defensible, an essential safety net for the most vulnerable—children who have children. What it amounts to in practice is a monolithic public endorsement of single motherhood—one that has turned our urban high schools into puppy mills. The safety net has become a hammock.

There is no doubt that intact families are far better for society as a whole and for the people involved, especially the children.   
With the best of intentions, we are creating a dismal future of poor, fatherless families and rootless, purposeless men.
What has happened to marriage? Why don't you guys study like the kids from Africa? Adults' Rights to Children vs Children's Needs.

"You would not be able to print enough money in a thousand years to pay for the government you would need if the traditional family continues to collapse," Representative Michael Pence.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:24 PM | Permalink

January 2, 2011

One Secret to a Happy Marriage

A social study confirms what all societies have believed up and down the centuries.

Want the secret to a happy marriage? Don't have sex before the wedding

But, according to a new study, it is couples who delay sex until after the wedding that enjoy a stronger relationship later in life.

Scientists at the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University, in Utah interviewed 2,035 married people about when they first had sex with their partner.

Analysis of the results showed that couples who waited until marriage before having sex enjoyed a much healthier relationship with their partner than those who started having sex in the early part of their relationship.

----In particular, relationship stability was rated 22 per cent higher, relationship satisfaction was 20 per cent higher, quality of sex was 15 per cent better and even communication between partners was 12 per cent better.

For couples who became sexually involved later in their relationship, but before marriage, the benefits were about half as strong.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:27 PM | Permalink

December 28, 2010

Complementarity of Desire

Dennis Prager looks at What Men Want

He most wants to be admired by the woman he loves.

and What Women Want

What a woman most wants is to be loved by a man she admires.

--

And what is it that women most admire in a man? From decades of talking to women on the radio and, of course, from simply living life, I have concluded that an admirable man is one who has three qualities: strength, integrity, ambition.

All three are needed. Strength without integrity is machismo. Integrity without strength or without ambition makes a man a milquetoast. And ambition without integrity makes for a successful crook.

He concludes

The beauty of all this is that it all comes together for men, for women, and for society.
Women get what they want most: to be married to and loved by a man they admire. Men then attain what they want most: to be admired by the woman they love. And society gets the thing it most needs: admirable men.
Unfortunately, none of this is taught at college.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:14 PM | Permalink

December 9, 2010

What has happened to marriage?

The new report from the State of Our Unions which monitors the current health of marriage and family life in America has sobering implications for the future of the country.

New data indicate that trends in nonmarital childbearing, divorce, and marital quality in Middle America increasingly resemble those of the poor, where marriage is fragile and weak. Yet among the highly educated and affluent, marriage is stable and appears to be getting even stronger.

W. Bradford Wilcox, a co-author of the report, finds that shifts in marriage attitudes, increases in unemployment, and declines in religious attendance are among the trends are driving the retreat from marriage in Middle America. When Marriage Disappears

Ross Douhat comments on The Changing Culture War

We’ve known for a while that America has a marriage gap: college graduates divorce infrequently and bear few children out of wedlock, while in the rest of the country unwed parenthood and family breakdown are becoming a new normal. This gap has been one of the paradoxes of the culture war: highly educated Americans live like Ozzie and Harriet despite being cultural liberals, while middle America hews to traditional values but has trouble living up to them.

This means that a culture war that’s often seen as a clash between liberal elites and a conservative middle America looks more and more like a conflict within the educated class — pitting Wheaton and Baylor against Brown and Bard, Redeemer Presbyterian Church against the 92nd Street Y, C. S. Lewis devotees against the Philip Pullman fan club.

--

But as religious conservatives have climbed the educational ladder, American churches seem to be having trouble reaching the people left behind. This is bad news for both Christianity and the country. The reinforcing bonds of strong families and strong religious communities have been crucial to working-class prosperity in America. Yet today, no religious body seems equipped to play the kind of stabilizing role in the lives of the “moderately educated middle” (let alone among high school dropouts) that the early-20th-century Catholic Church played among the ethnic working class.

--This, in turn, may be remembered as the great tragedy of the culture war: While college-educated Americans battle over what marriage should mean, much of the country may be abandoning the institution entirely.

This is Chilling News for Children

The precipitous decline of marriage among the moderately educated middle is a serious and enormous social problem. After all, stable family life is associated with all sorts of salubrious outcomes—behavioral, educational, and economic–just as unstable or non-existent family life is associated with all sorts of social pathologies. What’s more, if stable family life doesn’t help pave the way for social mobility, then we run the risk of introducing or making more permanent just the kind of class structure that can give the lie to the American Dream.

Is Middle America giving up on marriage?

Dr. Andrew Cherlin} and Dr. [Bradford] Wilcox say that the trends are troubling not because of some puritanical value on marriage, but because of the clear links between strong marriage and happiness, economic prosperity, and children’s well-being. “Their health, wealth, and happiness are all increased when women, and especially men, stay married,” says Wilcox, who notes that children are also much more likely to thrive when their parents stay married. Moreover, Dr. Cherlin notes that about half of all nonmarriage cohabiting unions - including those with children - break up within five years. “You could argue that there’s nothing wrong with living together,” he says. “But if it makes the family lives of children more unstable, then that’s a concern.”

The Economist reported three years ago in The Frayed Knot that the widening 'marriage gap' is breeding inequality.

Middle-class kids growing up with two biological parents are “socialised for success”. They do better in school, get better jobs and go on to create intact families of their own. Children of single parents or broken families do worse in school, get worse jobs and go on to have children out of wedlock. This makes it more likely that those born near the top or the bottom will stay where they started. America, argues Ms Hymowitz, is turning into “a nation of separate and unequal families”.

--

Marriage itself is “a wealth-generating institution”, according to Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and David Popenoe, who run the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. Those who marry “till death do us part” end up, on average, four times richer than those who never marry. This is partly because marriage provides economies of scale—two can live more cheaply than one—and because the kind of people who make more money—those who work hard, plan for the future and have good interpersonal skills—are more likely to marry and stay married. But it is also because marriage affects the way people behave.

More evidence that marriage affects the way people behave. Study: Marriage makes for good men: good men marry

I close with a quote from Representative Michael Pence.

"You would not be able to print enough money in a thousand years to pay for the government you would need if the traditional family continues to collapse."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:59 AM | Permalink

November 15, 2010

Why Marriage Matters

Marriage makes a big difference when it comes to family, economics, physical health and longevity, mental health and emotional well-being and crime and domestic violence.

Here's a summary from leading scholars "across the human sciences and across the political spectrum".

Read it, you might be surprised at just how good for you marriage is.

Why Marriage Matters: Twenty-six Conclusions from the Social Sciences

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:24 AM | Permalink

October 25, 2010

First Year of Marriage

From Brides Magazine, the 10 Shocking Secrets of the First Year of Marriage

4. THE SHOCK: You won't unpack your china for six months.

5. THE SHOCK: You'll do the dishes; your husband will fix stuff.

10. THE SHOCK: The world will feel like a better place.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:51 PM | Permalink

October 8, 2010

"He washed my face with watermelon ...It was a different time."

What's the secret to staying married 75 years?  Greg Kandra points to the Beckers.

75 Years Married

Edwin Becker was 19 when he decided that he couldn’t live his life without Gertrude. At 17, Gertrude just knew she wanted to be with him. So, on Sept. 7, 1935, the couple married at Holy Rosary Parish in Fells Point.

Seventy-five years later, the couple still doesn’t know what they’d do without one another.

“Where you see him,” Gertrude said, “you’ll see me, and where you see me, you’ll see him.”

Neither envisioned such a long life together, but two children, eight grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great grandchildren later, they are a testimony to love, faith and friendship.
--
they didn’t know one another as children. Edwin lived in Highlandtown; Gertrude was a Canton girl.

It wasn’t until Edwin was invited to a nearby party, hosted by Gertrude’s relatives, that their paths crossed. At the party, boys washed the faces of girls with watermelons. Edwin picked Gertrude.

“He washed my face with watermelon,” Gertrude said laughing, “and I think that was the beginning of it. That was a different time.”

The couple said they dated about three years before marrying. During their courtship, Gertrude’s family moved to Essex, while Edwin’s remained in Highlandtown. That didn’t deter them, as they took the bus to see one another. Dates often involved walks around Patterson Park. They enjoyed singing together and, as Edwin put it, “We just liked to have fun.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:07 PM | Permalink

October 7, 2010

On the same page

I knew people in sync mirrored each other's body posture, but I didn't realize that it goes even further.    People in sync mirror each other's style of language.  Interesting

Happy Couples Are On the Same Page - Literally

A new study finds that people match each other's language styles more during happier periods of their relationship. Even famous poets who were married exhibited this effect in their poetry, the study found.

The tendency to mirror our voice to that of our conversation partners is called "language style matching."

"When two people start a conversation, they usually begin talking alike within a matter of seconds," said James Pennebaker, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin and an author of the new study published in the September issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. "This also happens when people read a book or watch a movie. As soon as the credits roll, they find themselves talking like the author or the central characters."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:14 AM | Permalink

September 7, 2010

When to disclose how much you owe

There's a whole new obstacle to marriage these days - debt.  Especially if you don't know how big it really is.

How Debt Can Destroy a Budding Relationship.

Nobody likes unpleasant surprises, but when Allison Brooke Eastman’s fiancé found out four months ago just how high her student loan debt was, he had a particularly strong reaction: he broke off the engagement within three days.
--

Still, all of this raises the question: At what point do you have a moral obligation to disclose your indebtedness during courtship? On the eighth date? When you get to third base? In your eHarmony online dating profile?
--
Ms. Eastman in San Francisco says she knows that now. “What would I have done differently, besides bringing a copy of my credit report on the first date?” she said, with a rueful chuckle. “I would have been more responsible.”

And while she hasn’t dated anyone seriously enough in recent months to get to the point of disclosure, she says it’s probably necessary by the eighth or 10th date. “I know that now,” she said. “But it had never occurred to me that this is something that might end up being a deal-breaker.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:22 AM | Permalink

August 17, 2010

Marriage and Prayer

Another study shows the importance of religion in living a good life, this one published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.

Does your marriage have a prayer?

Couples that study Scripture, pray and attend church together are significantly more likely to say they are happy or extremely happy in their marriage, according to new research in the Journal of Marriage and Family. Likewise, duos who don't agree on religious beliefs or practice the same faith together tend to be less happy in their marriage, regardless of race or ethnicity, says W. Bradford Wilcox, a sociology professor and director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.   ----

He co-authored the research with Christopher Ellison at University of Texas, San Antonio, and Amy Burdette, Florida State University. They relied on data from the 2006 National Survey of Religion and Family Life survey of 2,400 adults ages 18 to 59. Who's very, very happy? Folks who pray together: 83% of whites who pray together, compared to 69% of those who don't pray together.. 73% of blacks who do vs. 52% of those who don't. 78% of Latinos who do vs. 65% of Latinos who don't.

Wilcox speculates that close-together-close-to-home religious lives offer road maps for constructive relationships and stress forgiveness when life goes awry. This is a twist on happiness that disengages delight in life from "stuff" or financial success.



Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:27 AM | Permalink

August 5, 2010

What's Wrong with Weddings

According to Andrew Brown at the Guardian, the modern wedding is a celebration of ego which is the biggest enemy of the subsequent marriage.

The great point about completely impersonal ceremonies, whose form is the same for everyone, whether these are religious or entirely civil, is that they remind us that the problems and difficulties of marriage are universal. They come from being human. They can't be dodged just by being our wonderful selves, even all dusted with unicorn sparkle.

On your wedding day you feel thoroughly special, and your guests will go along with this; so that is the moment when the ceremony should remind you that you're not all that. What you're doing isn't a step into fairyland. And if it does turn out to be the gateway to a new life, that is one that will have to be built over time and unglamorously with the unpromising materials of the old one.

Funerals, on the other hand, should be much more personal. I love the gloom and grandeur of the prayer book service; and there is much to be said for thinking about our own deaths from time to time. But death is the extinction of an individual life, and remembering and celebrating that individual is part of the proper response. And it's one time when we can be certain it won't inflate anyone's self esteem.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:58 PM | Permalink

July 27, 2010

The case for engagement

Getting engaged before moving in is the key to lasting harmony

A study by psychologists in the U.S. revealed that couples are almost twice as likely to end up divorcing if they cohabit before they are betrothed.

But those who had popped the question before setting up home had longer and happier marriages  -  even if they moved in together before walking down the aisle.

The findings, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, suggest that getting engaged represents a firm public commitment that improves the long-term success of a live-in relationship.
--

Dr Lisa Matthewman, chartered psychologist at the University of Westminster, suggested getting engaged may help couples to lay the foundations for a strong marriage by giving them time to address any serious doubts they might have.

She said: 'It's a very formal declaration to everybody else that a couple are seriously committed to the relationship. But the engagement period is also like a safety net.

'You can make sure you are ready for marriage.

'After all, it's a lot easier to break off an engagement than to have to go through a divorce.'

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:31 PM | Permalink

June 17, 2010

Testament to Love

What a touching story.  Dying man renews wedding vows with wife of 72 years.

Vernon McAlister had a dream last week about the woman he has loved nearly all his life.

His wife Sue was in a room decorated with lace — “the most beautiful, beautiful lace” — and she stood near a window, bathed in sunlight and dressed in a lace gown and veil, waiting for him to marry her again.

After that dream, he was peaceful, sure of what he wanted to do next.

He asked the nurses at Hospice of the Upstate to help him stay alive a few more days. He wanted to celebrate his 72nd anniversary with his bride.

On Sunday, a day after their actual anniversary, the McAlisters celebrated their union by renewing their vows.

This time, they were not nervous.

She is 87 and he is nearly 93.

 Wedding Vows Renewed

“He has taken care of me my whole life,” she said. “He has loved me and respected me and cherished me the way he said he would when I was just a young girl and he was just a young man. There is nothing to be nervous about when you are walking toward the person you love with your whole heart.”
--
And though he was in a hospital bed, Vernon McAlister’s eyes lit up when he saw her walking down the aisle. The first time they did this, he was almost 21, and she was 15 and a half.

All of the couple’s children —their sons Tony, Phil, Van and Don McAlister and daughter Anita Floyd — were able to attend the ceremony.
--
“They are a testament to love,” Floyd said. “It is amazing how they support each other. And it is amazing how that dream of her has kept him going. That’s why we thought this ceremony was so important. That dream of her is all he has talked about.”
--
Sue McAlister’s had trembled as she kissed her husband, cupping his chin and then smoothing his hair. Her husband looked at her with tears in his eyes and a smile on his face.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:51 PM | Permalink

March 3, 2010

Living Together First Doesn't Make Marriage Last

What seems counter-intuitive to young adults today was accepted wisdom for centuries.

Study Finds Cohabiting Doesn’t Make a Union Last

Couples who live together before they get married are less likely to stay married, a new study has found. But their chances improve if they were already engaged when they began living together.
Related

The likelihood that a marriage would last for a decade or more decreased by six percentage points if the couple had cohabited first, the study found.

The study of men and women ages 15 to 44 was done by the National Center for Health Statistics using data from the National Survey of Family Growth conducted in 2002. The authors define cohabitation as people who live with a sexual partner of the opposite sex.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:10 AM | Permalink

February 9, 2010

Should women settle?

In Salon, an interview with Lori Gottlieb, author of Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough.

As in the 2008 Atlantic essay that started it all, Gottlieb's depiction of single womanhood can be practically monstrous, a misery parade of boring happy hours and appointments with the bikini waxer, nights staring at a phone that won't ring. She uses her life as a cautionary tale: Make the right choices, little missy, or you could end up like me. As she explains in the book, "I'm trying to help. It's kind of like those graphic anti-drunk driving public service announcements that show people crashing into poles and getting killed ... It's not until you see people ending up brain-dead, lying in a coma in the hospital and surrounded by beeping monitors, that the message has an impact."

 Lori Gottlieb

From the Atlantic essay

Of course, we’d be loath to admit it in this day and age, but ask any soul-baring 40-year-old single heterosexual woman what she most longs for in life, and she probably won’t tell you it’s a better career or a smaller waistline or a bigger apartment. Most likely, she’ll say that what she really wants is a husband (and, by extension, a child).
--
What I didn’t realize when I decided, in my 30s, to break up with boyfriends I might otherwise have ended up marrying, is that while settling seems like an enormous act of resignation when you’re looking at it from the vantage point of a single person, once you take the plunge and do it, you’ll probably be relatively content. It sounds obvious now, but I didn’t fully appreciate back then that what makes for a good marriage isn’t necessarily what makes for a good romantic relationship. Once you’re married, it’s not about whom you want to go on vacation with; it’s about whom you want to run a household with. Marriage isn’t a passion-fest; it’s more like a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane, and often boring nonprofit business. And I mean this in a good way.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:13 PM | Permalink

October 7, 2009

The dearth of manly men

Could the pill have put off women from manly men?

The Pill may also have changed women's taste in men, according to a study.

Scientists say the hormones in the oral contraceptive suppress a woman's interest in masculine men and make boyish men more attractive. Although the change occurs for just a few days each month, it may have been highly influential since use of the Pill began more than 40 years ago.
--
If the theory is right, it could partly explain the shifting in tastes from macho 1950s and 1960s stars such as Kirk Douglas and Sean Connery to the more wimpy, androgynous stars of today, such as Johnny Depp and Russell Brand.

Dr Alexandra Alvergne, of the University of Sheffield, says the Pill could also be altering the way women pick their mates and could have long-term implications for society.
--

Scientists have long known that a woman's taste in men changes over her menstrual cycle.
During the few days each month when women are fertile - around the time of ovulation - they tend to prefer masculine features and men who are more assertive.
--
On days when women are not fertile, their tastes swing towards more feminine, boyish faces and more caring personalities, researchers have shown.

However, if women are taking the Pill they no longer have fertile days. That means they no longer experience the hormonal changes that make them more attracted to masculine men and those with dissimilar genetic make-up.

Or maybe the dearth of manly men can be laid to something in the water. 

The wide spread use of the pill has resulted in the estrogen pollution, via female urine,  of rivers and waters feminizing fish, creating intersex fish and, in part,  responsible for male infertility.


When EPA-funded scientists at the University of Colorado studied fish in a pristine mountain stream known as Boulder Creek two years ago, they were shocked. Randomly netting 123 trout and other fish downstream from the city’s sewer plant, they found that 101 were female, 12 were male, and 10 were strange “intersex” fish with male and female features.

It’s “the first thing that I’ve seen as a scientist that really scared me,” said then 59-year-old University of Colorado biologist John Woodling, speaking to the Denver Post in 2005. 

They studied the fish and decided the main culprits were estrogens and other steroid hormones from birth control pills and patches, excreted in urine into the city’s sewage system and then into the creek. 

Woodling, University of Colorado physiology professor David Norris, and their EPA-study team were among the first scientists in the country to learn that a slurry of hormones, antibiotics, caffeine and steroids is coursing down the nation’s waterways, threatening fish and contaminating drinking water.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:36 PM | Permalink

October 6, 2009

"Relational wasteland"

Michael Gerson writes about today's 20-somethings, singles who, Lost without a Courtship Narrative, find themselves in a "relational wasteland".

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:36 PM | Permalink

September 30, 2009

The Creative Power of Love

Scientific American has a most interesting article, Does Falling in Love Make Us More Creative?

why is love such a stimulating emotion? Why does the act of falling in love – or at least thinking about love – lead to such a spur of creative productivity?

One possibility is that when we’re in love we actually think differently. This romantic hypothesis was recently tested by the psychologists Jens Förster, Kai Epstude, and Amina Özelsel at the University of Amsterdam. The researchers found that love really does alter our thoughts, and that this profound emotion affects us in a way that is different than simply thinking about sex.

The clever experiments demonstrated that love makes us think differently in that it triggers global processing, which in turn promotes creative thinking and interferes with analytic thinking. Thinking about sex, however, has the opposite effect: it triggers local processing, which in turn promotes analytic thinking and interferes with creativity.

--
The takeaway lesson is that thinking about love, or anything that promotes a distal perspective or global processing, can make us more creative. Perhaps love is an especially potent way to induce in us a sense of transcendence – being in the here and now yet also contemplating the distant future and maybe even eternity.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:21 AM | Permalink

September 9, 2009

The Morning After

What happened when the idea of a soul-mate marriage took hold and with it no-fault divorce that displaced the traditional idea of marriage, one that put the welfare of children first?

 Child Divorce

From National Affairs, The Evolution of Divorce by Brad Wilcox via Maggie Gallagher

In the case of divorce, as in so many others, the worst consequences of the social revolution of the 1960s and '70s are now felt disproportionately by the poor and less educated, while the wealthy elites who set off these transformations in the first place have managed to reclaim somewhat healthier and more stable habits of married life. This imbalance leaves our cultural and political elites less well attuned to the magnitude of social dysfunction in much of American society, and leaves the most vulnerable Americans — especially children living in poor and working-class communities — even worse off than they would otherwise be.
--
Thus, by the time the 1970s came to a close, many Americans — rich and poor alike — had jettisoned the institutional model of married life that prioritized the welfare of children, and which sought to discourage divorce in all but the most dire of circumstances. Instead, they embraced the soul-mate model of married life, which prioritized the emotional welfare of adults and gave moral permission to divorce for virtually any reason.

Thirty years later, the myth of the good divorce has not stood up well in the face of sustained social scientific inquiry — especially when one considers the welfare of children exposed to their parents' divorces.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:34 AM | Permalink

August 3, 2009

"I ducked. And I waited. And it worked"

That Laura Munson is one very wise woman as you will see when you read, "Those Aren't Fighting Words, Dear."

Sure, you have your marital issues, but on the whole you feel so self-satisfied about how things have worked out that you would never, in your wildest nightmares, think you would hear these words from your husband one fine summer day: “I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did. I’m moving out. The kids will understand. They’ll want me to be happy.”

But wait. This isn’t the divorce story you think it is. Neither is it a begging-him-to-stay story. It’s a story about hearing your husband say “I don’t love you anymore” and deciding not to believe him. And what can happen as a result.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:42 PM | Permalink

July 17, 2009

Terminal Bliss and the Lure of Marriage

The mysteries of love explored in Terminal Bliss, a review of  A Happy Marriage

"A Happy Marriage: A Novel" (Rafael Yglesias)

The second chapter opens on a bleak night 30 years later. Margaret, now Enrique’s wife, is in her 50s, at the end of an excruciating three-year battle with cancer. “You have to help me die,” she begs her husband. This is a tall order. She needs him to nurse her; to prevent anyone from sustaining her when she falls into a coma; and to tell her parents she won’t be buried in their family plot — tough tasks, but also concrete ways he can help. Harder is accepting that her life is ending, that “their marriage was a mystery he was going to lose, despite 27 years living inside it, before he understood who they were.”

The mystery of what’s at the heart of a marriage can’t be unlocked, or even fully captured in words. But Enrique and Margaret are anything but common, distinct both as characters and in the endurance of their love.

I missed Unfaithfully yours, the cover story in Time by Caitlin Flanagan, but it's relevant if only as a measure of what's been lost

 Time Cover Marriage

In the past 40 years, the face of the American family has changed profoundly. As sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin observes in a landmark new book called The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today, what is significant about contemporary American families, compared with those of other nations, is their combination of "frequent marriage, frequent divorce" and the high number of "short-term co-habiting relationships." Taken together, these forces "create a great turbulence in American family life, a family flux, a coming and going of partners on a scale seen nowhere else. There are more partners in the personal lives of Americans than in the lives of people of any other Western country."

An increasingly fragile construct depending less and less on notions of sacrifice and obligation than on the ephemera of romance and happiness as defined by and for its adult principals, the intact, two-parent family remains our cultural ideal, but it exists under constant assault. It is buffeted by affairs and ennui, subject to the eternal American hope for greater happiness, for changing the hand you dealt yourself. Getting married for life, having children and raising them with your partner — this is still the way most Americans are conducting adult life, but the numbers who are moving in a different direction continue to rise. Most notably, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in May that births to unmarried women have reached an astonishing 39.7%. (See pictures of love in the animal kingdom.)

How much does this matter? More than words can say.
There is no other single force causing as much measurable hardship and human misery in this country as the collapse of marriage. It hurts children, it reduces mothers' financial security, and it has landed with particular devastation on those who can bear it least: the nation's underclass.
--

Or is marriage an institution that still hews to its old intention and function — to raise the next generation, to protect and teach it, to instill in it the habits of conduct and character that will ensure the generation's own safe passage into adulthood?
Think of it this way: the current generation of children, the one watching commitments between adults snap like dry twigs and observing parents who simply can't be bothered to marry each other and who hence drift in and out of their children's lives — that's the generation who will be taking care of us when we are old.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:15 PM | Permalink

July 16, 2009

Economic uncertainty makes for fewer divorces

What God Has Joined Together, Recession Makes Hard to Put Asunder

For Some, the Downturn Keeps Divorce on Ice; Ms. Brewster, Husband Share a House Divided


A May survey by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, a national organization for financial professionals who work on divorce cases, found that the recession was delaying divorces, and inspiring "creative divorce solutions" in living arrangements.

"People are saying, 'I've put up with it for the last 10 years, I can put up with it for another year,'" says Gary Nickelson, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. In a poll of 1,600 of its members, the group says, respondents estimated that divorce cases in the six months through March were off 40% from normal levels.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:47 AM | Permalink

July 15, 2009

Getting married for the wrong reasons

If you want to have a marriage that lasts, you are better off NOT living together beforehand.  Too many people who live together get married for the wrong reasons

Prenuptial Cohabiting Can Spoil Marriage

Upwards of 70 percent of U.S. couples are cohabiting these days before marrying, the researchers estimate. The study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Family Psychology, indicates that such move-ins might not be wise.

And it's not because you start to get on one another's nerves. Rather, the researchers figure the shared abode could lead to marriage for all the wrong reasons.

"We think that some couples who move in together without a clear commitment to marriage may wind up sliding into marriage partly because they are already cohabiting," said lead researcher Galena Rhoades of the University of Denver.

Couples might also be nudged into nuptials because of a joint lease or shared ownership of Fido - along with other practicalities.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:03 PM | Permalink

July 13, 2009

Wedding, split up, then murder

Jailed:  Bride and groom who split up before reaching wedding reception and then killed her ex-lover 18 hours later.

A bride and groom whose wedding night ended with beating her former lover to death have been jailed for a total of 17 years.

Barry Johnson and Wendy Shobrook's marriage led to murder 18 hours after the ceremony.

They split up before reaching the reception and the bride set fire to her husband in the marital bed. Then they killed her old boyfriend after she left her new husband for him that same night.

When you talk about wedding disasters, this story has to be at the top.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:07 AM | Permalink

June 17, 2009

"Family breakdown is now a national tragedy"

A brave man speaking the truth, Justice Coleridge

Only marriage can mend broken Britain, says top judge

Marriage should be promoted by the Government to end the 'social anarchy' of family breakdown, a senior judge said last night.

Mr Justice Coleridge accused mothers and fathers who fail to commit to each other of engaging in a game of 'pass the partner' that has left millions of children 'scarred for life'.

In a hard-hitting speech in Parliament, he called for a change of attitude that would attach a 'stigma' to those who destroy family life and said a National Commission should be established to devise solutions for the 'epidemic' of broken homes. --
Condemning the 'endless and futile quest for a perfect relationship', he said many parents were in 'a complete and uncontrolled free-for-all where being true to oneself and one's needs is the only yardstick for controlling behaviour'.

The London Telegraph publishes a column by the same Justice, Family breakdown is now a national tragedy

 Crying-Child

Recently, I was approached by the BBC, with a view to making a documentary about family breakdown. I suggested the researcher start by spending the day with me in court, to watch a run-of-the-mill High Court case. She was stunned into silence and remained speechless when I told her that within the Royal Courts of Justice, there were 20 or so other judges engaged in similar cases.

Across inner London, well over 100 family courts were dealing with family breakdown that day, in one guise or another. Multiply that across the rest of the country, and you get some feel for the scale of the epidemic.
--

I am not suggesting, of course, that all change is bad, or that all relationship breakdowns can be avoided. Genuinely intolerable relationships have to be ended with as little distress as possible. But I fear that the current state of the family represents change for the worse – and those most affected, the children, are not considered in the maelstrom that surrounds them

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:54 PM | Permalink

March 26, 2009

Is the Economy Turning More Brides Back to the Traditional Religious Wedding?

Seems so according the ABC News: Going to the Chapel, Getting (Cheaply) Married.

When Eileen Weir of Boston gets married in November, she'll probably walk to the church to save the cost of a limo. She purchased a wedding dress for $200 at the annual "running of the brides" event at Filene's Basement and plans to make her own invitations.
--

"You have to ask yourself what's important," Weir says. "How many decorations do you really need? We are tied to the Catholic Church. If getting married is a leap of faith, than this is the place to do it."

According to a recent Gallup poll, the recession isn't increasing Americans' weekly church attendance, but for those already affiliated, a faith community can help prioritize the creation of a sacramental bond.
--
These connections include "liturgies and music, things that evoke something awesome, transcendent. Sights, sounds, and smells," she says, adding, "It's the connection to community. Some Jewish people, for instance, have talked about how important it is for people to attend services to learn the traditions, through the community."

Community is of utmost importance at Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Baltimore, which recently began offering a complete wedding package (minus the photographer and band) for $10,500.

The weddings are held in the building, and five local kosher caterers agreed to offer the same menu for the same price, explains Avi Frydman, executive director of the Orthodox Jewish congregation.
--

"People are starting to pare things down," Porcello says. "They are concentrating on the more practical side of the relationship, and a practical appreciation of the faith, the reality of what marriage is more than the fairy tale wedding,"

Many couples mention that they had originally planned a larger wedding budget, "but that they are cutting back so they want to make the service really spiritual," Ritter says.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:14 PM | Permalink

March 19, 2009

What fathers bring to the table

The number of U.S. Births Breaks Records - 4.3 million babies born.  Sadly, about 40% (39.7%) were born out of wedlock.

That means 40% of those babies won't have a father bound to them by marriage to their mother.

By coincidence, today is the feast day of St. Joseph and the subject of the homily Pope Benedict XVI gave in Cameroon

St. Joseph, he said, "is not the biological father of Jesus, whose Father is God alone, and yet he lives his fatherhood fully and completely......"To be a father means above all to be at the service of life and growth."

That's what those 40% of newborns will lack - an adult male who will devote himself to their lives and growth.

More on the statistics

By racial/ethnic group: 27.8 percent for non-Hispanic whites (up from 26.6 percent in 2006);
a really appalling 71.6 percent for blacks (up from 70.7 percent);
65.2 percent for American Indians/Alaska Natives (up from 64.6 percent);
51.3 percent for Hispanics (up from 49.9 percent); and bringing up the rear,
Asians/Pacific Islanders at a paltry 16.9 percent (but still up from 16.5 percent). 

What fathers bring to the table in the service of life and growth of their children.  All quotes from Why Marriage Matters  for Children which also has citations to all the studies referenced.

Protection against povert
y

David Ellwood, Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University, notes:
"The vast majority of children who are raised entirely in a two-parent home will never be poor during childhood. By contrast, the vast majority of children who spend time in a single-parent home will experience poverty.


Reduced risk of criminal behavior

After studying murder and robbery rates in our nation’s cities, Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson observed, “Family structure is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, predictor of variations in urban violence across cities in the United States.” This is why neighbors should thank the married mothers on their block.

Reduced risk of substance abuse

Regardless of gender, age, family income, race or ethnicity, adolescents not living with a biological mother or father are 50 to 150% more likely to abuse and be dependent on substances and need illicit drug-abuse treatment compared to their peers living with both biological parents.

Reduced risk of sexual abuse

The journal Pediatrics reported in 2002 that, “Children residing in households with adults unrelated to them were 8 times more likely to die of maltreatment than children in households with 2 biological parents. Risk of maltreatment death was elevated for children residing with step, foster, or adoptive parents.”

Greater likelihood of educational attainment

Sara McLanahan of Princeton University finds that “regardless of which survey we looked at, children from one-parent families are about twice as likely to drop out of school as children from two-parent families.”

Children from biological two-parent families have, on average, test scores and grade-point averages that are higher, they miss fewer school days, and have greater expectations of attending college than children living with one parent. Additionally, of those from either type of family who do attend college, those from two-parent families are seven to 20 percent more likely to finish college.5

Children from divorced homes are 70 percent more likely than those living with biological parents to be expelled or suspended from school. Those living with never-married mothers are twice as likely to be expelled or suspended. 

Greater physical health and mental well-being

The National Center for Health Statistics found that children living with their biological parents received professional help for behavior and psychological problems at half the rate of children not living with both biological parents.16 Other studies show the general health problems of children from broken homes is increased by 20 to 30 percent, even when adjusting for demographic variables.

Learning that 40% of newborns will not have these advantages is profoundly discouraging.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:47 PM | Permalink

January 18, 2009

Mathematicians on Dating

A new study shows that refusing to sleep with a partner on the first date could be one of the keys to making a successful match.

Researchers used a mathematical model to show that more reliable men were willing to wait longer before having sex for the first time.
By contrast, less suitable men were not as likely to continue dating.

Professor Robert Seymour, from University College London (UCL), who created the model, said: "Longer courtship is a way for the female to acquire information about the male. "By delaying mating, the female is able to reduce the chance that she will mate with a bad male.

"A male's willingness to court for a long time is a signal that he is likely to be a good male.

"Long courtship is a price paid for increasing the chance that mating, if it occurs, will be a harmonious match which benefits both sexes. This may help to explain the commonly held belief that a woman is best advised not to sleep with a man on a first date."

Refusing to have sex on the first date increases the chance of finding a good man.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:21 AM | Permalink

December 14, 2008

"Poised for Perfection"

Her wedding day began and "everything was poised for perfection".

The £2,000 dress fitted Sophie Clarke just so, her father was sitting next to her in a beautiful horse-drawn carriage, and she was heading for the church to marry the man of her dreams.

Until her dream ends in terror as animal bolts and leaves her in the road.

'Instead the horse just slammed into the car, throwing me right over. I opened my eyes to see the wheel of the carriage just inches away from my face. I was hanging out of the carriage, but luckily Dad had his hand on me.

'Somehow Dad pulled me back in, but when he saw a bend coming up in the road he knew we wouldn't make it and decided to push me out. I hit the ground and it's a bit of a blur from then.'

 Bride Side Of Road

Sophie was rushed to hospital on a stretcher after being thrown from her bridal carriage when the horse bolted

She added: 'I had spent three years planning the ceremony and had even made handmade invitations. But none of that seems important any more. I am just so glad to be alive.'

 Groom Karl

  Groom Karl was in shock at the scene of the accident

And there should be a happy-ever-after for Miss Clarke too. The couple have rescheduled their wedding for January, and are planning a smaller, more intimate ceremony.

She explained: 'I had a life-changing experience. It put into perspective for me that all of the fancy things, the posh invites and parties are not important.

'The only important thing is becoming Karl's wife.'

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:20 PM | Permalink

October 29, 2008

Two years, six months and 25 days

The length of time it takes before romance is dead

Beyond this point romance, if not dead, is definitely on its sickbed, as husbands give up trying to be tidy, while wives no longer make an effort to look nice for their other half.
--
By the third wedding anniversary, 83 per cent of those surveyed said they couldn't even be bothered to continue celebrating the date they tied the knot.

The poll of 5,000 couples who had been married for over a decade revealed that more than half felt undervalued.
--

The infamous battle for control of the TV was another sticking point, with 75 per cent of men and women saying they wouldn't relinquish the remote control to their other half, even if they asked nicely.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:07 PM | Permalink

October 16, 2008

Women in Marriage

The general consensus of sociologists is that, whereas a woman's marital satisfaction is dependent on a combination of economic, emotional and psychological realities, a man's marital satisfaction is most determined by one factor: how happy his wife is. When she is happy, he is.

Who Wears the Pants

A Pew Research Center study released a couple of weeks ago found that when it comes to decision making in the home, wives in a majority of cases either rule the roost or share power equally with their husbands, regardless of how much money the women earn.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:14 PM | Permalink

August 13, 2008

"For better or worse, for richer or poorer, for co-pays and deductibles.

Why some people are rushing into marriage.

Health Benefits Inspire Rush to Marry or to Divorce

Stephen L. J. Hoffman, an officiant at a wedding chapel in Covington, Ky., said he was no longer shocked that one of 10 couples cite health insurance as the reason they stand before him.

“They come in and say, ‘We were going to get married anyway, but right now we really need the insurance,’ ” said Mr. Hoffman. “There may be an unplanned pregnancy, or there is an illness, or they’ve lost their job and can’t get insurance.”

Though money and matrimony have been linked since Genesis, marrying for health coverage is a more modern convention. For today’s couples, “in sickness and in health” may seem less a lover’s troth than an actuarial contract. They marry for better or worse, for richer or poorer, for co-pays and deductibles.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:27 PM | Permalink

July 7, 2008

Good advice for finding the ideal husband

Maureen Dowd takes lessons from a Catholic priest on how to find An Ideal Husband.

Never marry a man who has no friends.
Does he use money responsibly?
Is he overly attached to his mother?
Does he have a sense of humor?
Avoid the strong, silent type. 
A therapist friend insists that ‘more marriages are killed by silence than by violence.  The strong, silent type can be charming but ultimately destructive. That world-class misogynist, Paul of Tarsus, got it right when he said, ‘In all your dealings with one another, speak the truth to one another in love that you may grow up.’
Take a good, unsentimental look at his family.
Finally: Does he possess those character traits that add up to a good human being — the willingness to forgive, praise, be courteous?

All good advice.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:07 PM | Permalink

June 24, 2008

The Gloucester Girls

Having lived in beautiful Gloucester for several years, I was even more interested in the story of the Gloucester girls 16 and younger becoming pregnant so they could raise their babies together.

In Pregnancy Boom at Gloucester High, Time magazine said

The high school has done perhaps too good a job of embracing young mothers. Sex-ed classes end freshman year at Gloucester, where teen parents are encouraged to take their children to a free on-site day-care center. Strollers mingle seamlessly in school hallways among cheerleaders and junior ROTC. "We're proud to help the mothers stay in school," says Sue Todd, CEO of Pathways for Children, which runs the day-care center.

Clearly access to contraception will do nothing to prevent young girls who want to become pregnant.

Kay Hymowitz in Gloucester Girls Gone Wild writes

But the story could have one upside: it might expose the folly of much of what has passed for wisdom about teen pregnancy. I say might because so far the media seems to be having trouble grasping what happened in this old, largely Catholic fishing town.
--
übersocialized middle-class experts, journalists, and policy makers aren’t addressing the fact that girls tend to like babies. In most cultures in human history, 15- or 16-year-olds were seen as viable mothers (only after being married off, of course), so biological urge coincided with social need.
--
In the past, the problem was held at bay by a combination of sexual reticence, social disapproval, and a no-baby-without-marriage rule, since it wasn’t easy to find a presentable boy ready to sign on to a life sentence at 16. No more. Sexual reticence is now deemed something on the order of a Victorian perversion. Social disapproval? Nowhere evident. The Gloucester school’s superintendent found that most townspeople greeted with a yawn the news that local teen pregnancy rates were soaring,
--
Then there’s the point compellingly made by Kathleen Parker in her new book Save the Males: Americans aren’t all that keen on fathers these days. A girl eyeing her cousin’s cute little baby girl used to believe that she had to find a husband before she could have one of her own. Now, she can bypass the husband problem and just spend a little leisure time with the homeless guy on Main Street. Who cares if Dad is an addict or a tramp? They’re all bums—or jerks—anyway

What is so distressing is the poverty-stricken future that lies ahead for these girls and their children.  The 'unmarriage' revolution that Kay Hymowitz writes of in her book does more to contribute to the growing inequality in America than anything else.


"Marriage and Caste in America: Seperate and Unequal Families in a Post-Marital Age" (Kay S. Hymowitz)

The increase in single mothers raising children is not just a problem in Gloucester.  Intact families with mothers and fathers raising children is the most important element in a sound society with a hopeful future for all.  Sadly, it's the least educated girls, thirsting to be loved,  who become prey for older, unscrupulous males, seduced into believing that sex equals love.

The battle to point to an alternative way of living -
sexual self-control, resilience against passing temptations, better avenues of communication, a wider range of interests, and, ultimately, the ability to make a complete gift of self to another in marriage -
is being lost when the ACLU and Planned Parenthood have teamed up
in an aggressive campaign over the past several years—a campaign to pressure states to eliminate abstinence education and to reject federal funding for these programs. .... The goal is to get enough states to refuse the federal abstinence-education funding to the point where the ACLU and Planned Parenthood can convince Congress to eliminate such funding entirely.

All this is happening, by the way, as fresh reports arrive almost every month about the benefits of teen abstinence and the effectiveness of abstinence programs.

The War on Abstinence

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:22 PM | Permalink

June 3, 2008

Voyaging Across Sexual Boundaries

Writer Jan Morris remarries wife she wed as a man.

Morris described her transformation from male to female in two autobiographical works, Pleasures of a Tangled Life and The Conundrum.

She described how,  as a man,  he never felt homosexual but always regarded himself as 'wrongly equipped'.

Morris is also the author of Pax Britannica, a three part history of the rise and fall of the British Empire, which she started writing as a man and concluded when she was a woman.

Other works include portraits of cities including Oxford, Venice and New York.

Elizabeth said yesterday: 'I made my marriage vows 59 years ago and still have them.

'We are back together again officially. After Jan had a sex change we had to divorce.

'So there we were. It did not make any difference to me. We still had our family. We just carried on.'
--

The couple have already planned to be buried on a small island on the River Dwyfor behind their house, with the inscription on the headstone to read: 'Here are two friends, at the end of one life.'

 Jan Morris

I read Conondrum when it was first published and all the rage.  Morris  described her voyages across sexual boundaries in the same beautiful and haunting way she wrote about the cities she visited and lived in around the world.  She's an admirable woman and I'm delighted that she was with her true love for 59 years.

"Conundrum (New York Review Books Classics)" (Jan Morris)

"The World of Venice: Revised Edition" (Jan Morris)

"The World: Life and Travel 1950-2000" (Jan Morris)

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:21 PM | Permalink

April 1, 2008

Women MBAs More Likely to Divorce

A professional degree can be hazardous to marital health concludes a soon-to-be-pubished survey after analyzing National Science Foundation survey of more than 100,000 professionals.

Women MBAs More Likely to Divorce Than Men

Women with M.B.A.s are twice as likely to get divorced or separated as their male counterparts. The picture isn't much rosier for women with law or medical degrees--\Prof. Wilson also found that female professionals abstain from marriage at double and sometimes nearly triple the rate of men.
----
Ms. Hewlett believes more is at play than just a prevailing image that high-earning women are a threat to men. Suggesting that highly successful women are attracted to similarly successful men, she put forward the idea that such women "can't summon up the TLC and support that high-earning men need."

Her advice? Well-educated, highly compensated women should be targeting particularly loving and supportive men.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:50 AM | Permalink

February 18, 2008

Married 83 years

Clarence and Mayme Vail may qualify as the world's longest-married couple but  the Guinness Book of  Records is doing a little more research before awarding them with the title.

"It's unbelievable," said Mayme.

Clarence is 101-years-old, Mayme is 99.  They were married in 1925 when Calvin Coolidge was President, but were sweethearts since they'd met in the 8th grade in Hugo, Minn.

"He had gone through the 8th grade in the other school, then he comes to our school -- smart as a whip," said Mayme.

The couple had 6 children, 39 grandchildren, and 101 great grandchildren.  They live in an assisted-living home in White Bear Lake.

Mayme said patience is the key to a long marriage.

"You've got to admit you're wrong now and then," said Mayme. "I've had to do it."

Clarence summarized 83 years of married life in his simple way.

"Kind of lucky," he said.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:05 PM | Permalink

February 14, 2008

The Man I Love

On this Valentine's Day, the New York Times has an article that says the way married couples can keep love fresh and romance alive is to Reinvent Date Night by finding new ways and different activities they both enjoy ad in so doing inject novelty into the relationship and by so doing recreate some of the chemical surges of early courtship.

What does it for me is Cary Grant.

especially with Peggy Lee singing George Gershwin's The Man I Love. 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:09 AM | Permalink

February 9, 2008

Why to settle for Mr. Good Enough

ask any soul-baring 40-year-old single heterosexual woman what she most longs for in life, and she probably won’t tell you it’s a better career or a smaller waistline or a bigger apartment. Most likely, she’ll say that what she really wants is a husband (and, by extension, a child).

To the outside world, of course, we still call ourselves feminists and insist—vehemently, even—that we’re independent and self-sufficient and don’t believe in any of that damsel-in-distress stuff, but in reality, we aren’t fish who can do without a bicycle, we’re women who want a traditional family.
--
My advice is this: Settle! That’s right. Don’t worry about passion or intense connection. Don’t nix a guy based on his annoying habit of yelling “Bravo!” in movie theaters. Overlook his halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics. Because if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go

Marry Him in the March Atlantic.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:06 AM | Permalink

January 29, 2008

Smell, Algorithms or China

Ah love.  Every February we are treated to scads of articles about love, romantic love, and how to find it.

Time magazine looks at The Science of Love especially the importance of smelling right.

One of the most primal of those desires is that a possible partner smells right
-
Scent not only tells males which females are primed to conceive, but it also lets both sexes narrow their choices of potential partners. Among the constellation of genes that control the immune system are those known as the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), which influence tissue rejection. Conceive a child with a person whose MHC is too similar to your own, and the risk increases that the womb will expel the fetus. Find a partner with sufficiently different MHC, and you're likelier to carry a baby to term.
--
Saliva also contains the compound, a fact that Haselton believes may partly explain the custom of kissing... "Kissing," she says simply, "might be a taste test."

One thing that throws us off the scent is the birth-control pill. Women who are on the Pill--which chemically simulates pregnancy--tend to choose wrong in the T-shirt test. When they discontinue the daily hormone dose, the protective smell mechanism kicks back in. "A colleague of mine wonders if the Pill may contribute to divorce," says Wysocki. "Women pick a husband when they're on birth control, then quit to have a baby and realize they've made a mistake."

While John Tierney in The New York Times explores online match-making and competing algorithms in Hitting it off, Thanks to Algorithms of Love

As the matchmakers compete for customers — and denigrate each other’s methodology — the battle has intrigued academic researchers who study the mating game. On the one hand, they are skeptical, because the algorithms and the results have not been published for peer review. But they also realize that these online companies give scientists a remarkable opportunity to gather enormous amounts of data and test their theories in the field. EHarmony says more than 19 million people have filled out its questionnaire.

If neither of those work, you can always go to China to find a husband as Ellen Graf did in Our Joy Knows No Bounds or Lanes

At 46, I had been burned to ash by divorce and had crawled back toward life, sometimes on hands and knees. The common wisdom is that people, in seeking love, risk losing themselves, but I did not fear this loss. And I thought that not choosing for myself might work better than choosing. I didn’t wonder about what my perfect person would be like. I was way beyond that kind of amusement.
--
Somebody must be looking out for us. A few years ago, my life was roadworthy but lonely — it cried out for an intervention. Now every day feels like a wild car ride with Zhong-Hua: lurching and unpredictable, but rich with humor, determination and devotion.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:57 AM | Permalink

October 2, 2007

"They enter prematurely but can linger on and waste their time,"

Thus says a new study from the Australian Institute of Family Studies that says Cohabiting couples destined for singledom.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:34 PM | Permalink

September 18, 2007

The Present and Presence of Music

With a sister whose brain has been damaged by encephalitis leaving her without a short term memory, I was especially interested in this piece by Oliver Sachs in The New Yorker, A Neurologist's Notebook: The Abyss

Clive Wearing, an eminent British musicologist, struck with encephalitis, loses his ability to preserve new memories as well as the loss of his entire past - the most devastating case of amnesia ever recorded.

From the start, he has been loved by his wife Deborah and he's retained his musical powers and memory.

Clive’s performance self seems, to those who know him, just as vivid and complete as it was before his illness. This mode of being, this self, is seemingly untouched by his amnesia, even though his autobiographical self, the self that depends on explicit, episodic memories, is virtually lost. The rope that is let down from Heaven for Clive comes not with recalling the past, as for Proust, but with performance—and it holds only as long as the performance lasts. Without performance, the thread is broken, and he is thrown back once again into the abyss
--
It may be that Clive, incapable of remembering or anticipating events because of his amnesia, is able to sing and play and conduct music because remembering music is not, in the usual sense, remembering at all. Remembering music, listening to it, or playing it, is wholly in the present
--
As Deborah recently wrote to me, “Clive’s at-homeness in music and in his love for me are where he transcends amnesia and finds continuum—not the linear fusion of moment after moment, nor based on any framework of autobiographical information, but where Clive, and any of us, are finally, where we are who we are.” ♦

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:29 PM | Permalink

June 21, 2007

"He remembers everything that was going on around him."

I found the story of the 'Living Corpse' who woke up after a 19-year Coma, an inspiring one, a Rip Van Winkle tale of our time.

Hats off to the wife who cared for him for 19 years at home with great love and devotion, changing his position every hour to prevent bedsores.

"I would fly into a rage every time someone would say that people like him should be euthanized, so they don't suffer," she told the local daily paper. "I believed Janek would recover," she said, using an affectionate version of his name.

"This is my great reward for all the care, faith and love," she told the AP, weeping.

"He remembers everything that was going on around him," she said. "He talks about it and remembers the wedding of our children. He had fever around the time of the weddings, so he knew something big was taking place."

Jan Grzebska fell into a coma following in communist Poland and awoke to find democracy and a market economy.

"The world is prettier now" than it was under communism he told his wife.

Jan spoke to Polish television

When I went into a coma there was only tea and vinegar in the shops, meat was rationed and huge petrol queues were everywhere. What amazes me today is all these people who walk around with their mobile phones and never stop moaning. I've got nothing to complain about.

Apart from the miracle of his reawakening, we should take note that comatose often can hear and remember what's said around them.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:54 PM | Permalink

May 4, 2007

How Much Is Friendship Worth?

Don't you love it when economists start putting numbers on intangibles?

Friends worth their weight in cash

On the plus side

Seeing friends and family every day + $205,000
Chatting up the neighbors regularly + $90,000
Getting married + $120,500

On the debit side

Losing a job -- $344,500
Painful divorce  -- $335,000

The conclusion, priceless.

An increase in the level of social involvements is often worth many tens of thousands of pounds a year extra in terms of life satisfaction," said Nattavudh Powdthavee, of the University of London's Institute of Education, which carried out the research.

Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:25 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

April 29, 2007

Bachelor Hordes, Bare Branches in China

Chinese men without marriage prospects are called "bare branches."  They're bare because of the millions of missing women.

Beijing's bachelor bulge: the unprecedented surplus of boys.

“I'm really eager to have a wife, but it is very hard to find one here,” Mr. Liu says. “I am too old and too poor. I'm just counting the days without desires.”
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In the past, "bachelor hordes" gave rise to political uprisings that lead to wars.
Scholars have pointed to the Nien Rebellion in northern China in the 1850s. After a series of failed harvests, the local inhabitants adopted a policy of infanticide, and eventually 25 per cent of the men were unable to marry because of a shortage of women. About 100,000 unmarried men formed bandit gangs, which merged into armies that tried to overthrow the Qing Dynasty in a war that lasted for years.

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Many experts predict that the growing surplus of unmarried men will cause an increase in violence, rape, prostitution, crime and the illegal trafficking of women. “The large number of unmarried men will disrupt the normal continuity of human reproduction,” said Zhan Changzhi, a sociologist at Hainan University, in an interview with a Chinese newspaper.

“The population will decrease,” he said. “Huge numbers of single men will suffer from sexual starvation. Many mental disorders will be caused because they cannot enjoy a normal family life and sexual life. Many of them will become criminals. And the trend will damage the economy, since the single men will have no strong desire to improve their economic condition. They'll stay at home and do nothing, and their human resource will be wasted. This is a very severe problem.”

Yet, activists who protest the brutality of forced abortion are kidnapped.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:35 AM | Permalink

March 22, 2007

On Elizabeth Edwards and the return of her cancer

The breast cancer of Elizabeth Edwards has returned in an advanced form and has spread beyond the breast to the bone.  While the doctors say it is incurable, it is treatable.  Her husband John Edwards offered to pull out of the presidential race to stay by her side, but she insisted he stay in and he will.

My feelings are confused.  I  feel bad for them both and then heartened by their courage and puzzled by their decision.  Who would put themselves through the rigors of a campaign when the days may be short?

But then again, who knows?

Dean Barnett, who had his own body blow of a sudden diagnosis 11 years ago has some understanding of what they are going through.

I think I have some understanding and I know I have some sympathy. They’re working through all of this. Their first instinct is not to surrender. That’s good, and it’s what you would have expected. People who seek the presidency aren’t the types who give up or even compromise easily.

THROUGH THE YEARS, I’VE COME TO VIEW SERIOUS and progressive illness as an ever constricting circle with oneself at the center. The interior of the circle represents the contents of one’s life. As the circle gets smaller, things that were inside get forced out. Some of these things are dearly missed; other items that were once thought precious get forced to the exterior and turn out to go surprisingly unlamented.
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The Edwards have begun their own journey of that sort. Whether they still find presidential politics at the center of their lives a few months from now is an open question. Regardless, the journey is theirs, and one would have a heart of stone to wish them anything other than good luck and Godspeed.

He's right. Best wishes and good luck to them both. 

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March 7, 2007

Can This Marriage Be Saved?

James Olwine married Katie Martindale in Las Vegas on March 4.  On March 7th, he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault for trying to run his new wife over with his car.

Groom Hits His Bride with Car

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February 22, 2007

Millions of "Missing Women" Lead to Social Instability

As many as 10 million female fetuses may have been aborted in India over the past 20 years according to a study in Lancet, the British medical journal.

India's lost daughters: Abortion toll in millions.

You can point to the cultural preference for males to secure a heir, the cost of raising a daughter who will eventually belong to her husband's family, and the very expensive cost of a dowry.

Yet, before ultrasound allowed the prenatal determination of sex, abortions were rare.

We are beginning to see the social costs of skewed gender ratios in China where the one-child policy has resulted in an estimated 40 million bachelors who can not find wives.  It's not pretty.

One Chinese official said in Facing the Future with 40 million bachelors
China faces a future of crime and instability as a generation of 40 million men is left frustrated by a lack of brides, thanks to the practice of selective abortion of female foetuses, a population official has warned.

Men left on the shelf would resort to prostitutes or pay huge prices for brides, while trafficking in women and girls kidnapped from rural areas and other countries would increase.
--

"Such serious gender disproportion poses a major threat to the healthy, harmonious and sustainable growth of the nation's population and would trigger such crimes and social problems as mercenary marriage, abduction of women and prostitution."

A UN official said the shortage of woman is creating a "huge societal issue", one of the three biggest challenges facing China along with HIV/AIDS and environmental degradation.

Young males who can't find wives are "low status" and prone to improve their situation through violent and criminal behavior.
The growing crime rate in China which is being linked to China's massive "floating" or transient population, some 80 million of which are low-status males

China is beginning to promote the Girl Care Project  while India plans to set up a series of orphanages to raise unwanted baby girls.

India To Raise Girls in Bid to Slow Abortions

Here in America, our culture has profoundly changed in the past 25 years.  The psychoanalyst Shrinkwrapped writes about the psychic costs on individuals and society in Reverberations and Vicissitudes of Abortion.

Part 1  Introduction
Part 2  Mothers and Fathers: When Does Life Begin?
Part 3  Children of Choice
The idea that  your parents have parents decided to abort a potential sibling is a significant issue, made more so when done in a perfunctory manner as a matter of course. Such a "choice" unavoidably conveys the message that a child’s life is hostage to the parent’s desires.
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Children who experience themselves as commodities whose existence serves the needs of others, have a natural tendency to treat themselves and others as mere "need satisfying objects."

To realize just how far we've come, read Katherine in the comments to Part 3.

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Brainy Women Marry Well but Still Hit a Dead Zone

Stephanie Coontz, a marriage historian,  (who knew there was such a thing), says brainy, highly educated women are now winners in the marriage game.

The Romantic Life of Brainiacs

Pity the overschooled old maid and the lonely career woman. Highly educated or high-achieving women are less likely to marry and have children than other women. If they do marry, they are more likely to divorce. Even if they don't divorce, their marriages will be less happy. And, oh, yes, they'll be sexually frustrated, too.
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Conventional wisdom says the answer to both questions is yes. But a close look at the historical transformation of marriage in America suggests that educated women now have a surprising advantage when it comes to matrimony.
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Educated men and women are more likely to marry and less likely to divorce than others . And guess what? They have better sex lives, too.
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42 percent of college-educated married women who work out-earn their partners, and their marriages are just as stable as those in which the husband makes more than his wife.

But it's likely that at the end of the day, these women are just too tired to talk.  Sue Shellenberger talks about Dealing with the Dead Zone in the WSJ.

Too tired to talk after work? You're not alone. About 45% of high-earning managers enter a conversational dead zone after a long workday, when they're too pooped to say anything at all to their spouse or partner, says a December Harvard Business Review study of 975 global managers by Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Carolyn Buck Luce. Such strains are "wreaking havoc" on family and personal life, the study says.

I propose that at the end of the work day, everyone gets an hour of silence and quiet before coming together for dinner.

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February 10, 2007

"Log on, subscribe, meet, marry"

A fascinating interview.  Waldorf is one entrepreneur who's not only made a lot of money by giving people what they really care about but has been transformed in the process.  But what caught me was the company's vision.

The Wall St Journal interviews The Matchmaker, Greg Waldorf, CEO of eHarmony.com, the online dating site that projects $200 million in revenues in 2007.

Consumers, Mr. Waldorf explains, are far more disposed to pay for goods rather than services on the Internet. "People expect things on the Internet to be free," he says. "So how have we built a business that will have nearly $200 million in revenue this year? We grew our subscriber base by about a third from 2005 to 2006. How? Because this is something that people care a lot about."
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Mr. Waldorf, now 38, has been an entrepreneur since the age of 13, when he started his own software and consulting company in L.A. ...In 2000, Mr. Waldorf became a founding investor of eHarmony, joining forces with founders Greg Forgatch and Neil Clark Warren, a clinical psychologist with three decades of experience counseling married couples. Dr. Warren's research shaped the company's scientific approach: Compatible singles are matched based on their answers to an elaborate questionnaire. The site, with its relatively lengthy process and subscription rates of around $60 a month (almost twice the price of other dating sites) reaches out to users who are clearly looking for much more than just a date. It seemed like a good business idea," Mr. Waldorf explained. And also, "it seemed meaningful."
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Yet now, Mr. Waldorf may have unexpectedly fallen into his own niche. "If you want to call it the dinner party test, people are fascinated by talking about relationships. It's an addictive business. Think about it from my point of view, I've been involved in a lot of companies, enterprise software, mobile application deployment . . . then all of a sudden you're involved in a business like this . . . How do you get involved with another business after this? What's the next thing to relationships in terms of involvement with the customer?"
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The vision behind the company is not simply to create marriages, but to create happy marriages by using scientific research to unite compatible individuals. "I know it sounds corny when I'm talking about this," Mr. Waldorf says, but, "if you can lower the divorce rate by 1%, it could affect a million people in a generation. I don't know if that's an exact number, but it gives you a sense of how many people's lives are impacted."
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The popularity of Internet dating is just one more sign that we're witnessing a fundamental change in the way people interact, a difference that can be particularly pronounced across generations. "I'm 38," Mr. Waldorf says. "I ask my friends' kids this: "If you had to give up email, text messaging or IM, which would you give up?' And I have yet to meet a person who's under 20 who would not give up email first. I find this fascinating. I find this unbelievable. . .

The very IM and texting that so enthralls the younger set often leads to high tech abuse.  A newly released survey shows that more than  one in three teens report  a boyfriend or girlfriend has harassed them with text messages, one in four reported insults, one in five had pressure for sex and one in ten was threatened with violence.    Nearly all were reluctant to tell their parents for fear of losing access to their phone or computer.

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January 26, 2007

Fancy a Farmer?

If you're a Welsh dairy farmer getting up early every damned day to milk the cows, you can't be hanging around pubs at night looking for love.

Why not a message on a bottle?  That's just what they are doing, pasting their photos on thousands of plastic containers of organic milk destined for grocery shelves.  The campaign has caused a sensation in Wales.

The Moo for Love" Welsh Farmers' Message on a Bottle.

 Fancy A Farmer? 
  Fancy A Farmer 2

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January 16, 2007

Before Marrying

Engaged couples spend far more time planning their wedding than planning their marriage.  No wonder post-bridal depression is so widespread.    It's the things you don't know that can hurt you.  Marriage Is Not Built on Surprises

Too often, people planning to marry don't ask some questions because they don't want to rock the boat.

Considering the time this has spent on the New York Time's most emailed stories, it's past time I resurrect an old draft to lay out Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying in the extended entry.   

Readers pile in with more questions to ask on bended knee.

Earlier I've written about the financial questions engaged couples should ask in Money is a Life Skill.   

Don't forget the Fool Proof Test for Marriage. or the German Formula for a Happy Relationship. 

Know what the single most destructive attitude in a marriage is.

Know that  hard marriages can harden your arteries and arguments can dramatically slow wound healing.  So you certainly need to know about the Care and Feeding of Husbands.  The latter works well with Animal Training Techniques for Husbands.

Maybe you're just thinking about living together  in which you should know the Four Myths About Living Together.  Guys, the Case for Marriage shows that you will benefit financially, socially, sexually and have a better career when you make that commitment.

Above all, remember Love is not a feeling.  Love is a doing.  Do love.

1) Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?

2) Do we have a clear idea of each other’s financial obligations and goals, and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?

3) Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?

4) Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?

5) Is my partner affectionate to the degree that I expect?

6) Can we comfortably and openly discuss our sexual needs, preferences and fears?

7) Will there be a television in the bedroom?

8) Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one another’s ideas and complaints?

9) Have we reached a clear understanding of each other’s spiritual beliefs and needs, and have we discussed when and how our children will be exposed to religious/moral education?

10) Do we like and respect each other’s friends?

11) Do we value and respect each other’s parents, and is either of us concerned about whether the parents will interfere with the relationship?

12) What does my family do that annoys you?

13) Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?

14) If one of us were to be offered a career opportunity in a location far from the other’s family, are we prepared to move?

15) Does each of us feel fully confident in the other’s commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:33 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

January 1, 2007

Single and stupid

Emily Yoffe, an advice columnist, found that the advice she gave to a  pregnant woman to marry her boyfriend and think about the new baby rather than what her parents would think and her advice to stable, happy couples to have children provoked the most mail, mainly con, then she got all year.

readers let me know that my notion that a young woman in a committed relationship should marry the father of her child-to-be is as passé as serving aspic at the wedding—if there were a wedding.
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One said - Marriage and motherhood are two of the biggest steps a woman will ever take, and to take one just because you're taking the other is ludicrous."

With nearly 40% of children being born to unwed mothers, it's  the "unmarriage revolution", one with disastrous consequences.

Who are these women listening to?

When will these women wise up and think about their own futures and the futures of their children that will be handicapped in just about every respect by having only one parent.

Miss Kelly has a fine summary post on Kids, Marriage, Mothers and Fathers, Wealth and Poverty.

UPDATE:  T.J.  knows all about the DNA syndrome - DNA -Daddy Not Around

"Most of the kids I deal with today, they say, 'My mama be tripping' or 'My daddy, I don't know where that sucker's at.' They're angry. They're raising themselves. ... No wonder we've got 14-year-old kids having kids. That 14-year-old girl is on her own and she's easy prey for men. That 14-year-old boy has a friend who's 21 and you wonder why you've got a Glock in your house.

"I know. That 14-year-old boy was me. That man preying on the girls was me. We've got to raise our children. They can't raise themselves, and that's where the problem is. A lot of men, especially black guys, we say we're not with our baby's mama because of what that woman did to us ... .

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November 16, 2006

A Black Woman's Plea

Mary Mitchell in the Chicago Sun Times says it wasn't always this way. "Enough of this selfishness: Time for black men to act like men.

Black women are waiting longer and longer to walk down the aisle. By the time some get there, they have already had one or two children. If the children are by different fathers, these women's lives are further complicated.

Common sense should have told us there would be consequences for this selfish behavior.

By now, so many blacks have ignored the warnings about the harm caused by the absence of black fathers that those consequences are now overtaking communities in the form of high dropout rates and senseless violence.

Black man, this is not an attack. It is a black woman's plea.

We are tired of seeing our daughters travail in such sorrow. We are tired of watching our grandchildren cling to fragile family ties. And by now, we are clear:

Politicians can't fix this problem. Preachers can't fix it.

There's only one real way to ensure that a black child has the best chance to succeed in this life.

Black man, marry your baby's mother.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:37 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

September 10, 2006

The Case for Marriage

Ask Mom says it's far better for men than women

Financially, socially, sexually, men benefit from marriage.  Married men are healthier and have better, more satisfying careers.  Most convincingly, married men live far longer than not-married men.

Women usually don't have to be sold on the idea of marriage.  Genetically we are programmed to find a man, follow him around like a puppy, then volunteer with cheerful innocence to be nursemaids and slaves for the children that result.  Strange, because for women, marriage is statistically a bad career move and a consumer of personal "happiness".  Married women are less healthy than single women and live no longer. Yet women seek marriage, congratulate their friends for it and idealize it in many ways.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:08 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

September 9, 2006

Jilted bride turns it around

Kudos to the woman who, upon learning that her fiancee was cheating on her, nixed the wedding and turned the would-be reception into a charity benefit. 

Jilted bride turns wedding into charity
I'm really just trying to turn it around and make something positive out of it," said Kyle Paxman.

Paxman, 29, had planned to celebrate her nuptials at the Basin Harbor Club on Lake Champlain on Saturday. When she found out about her fiance, she called off the 180-guest wedding and the four-year relationship.

She and her mother canceled the band, photographer and florist, but learned they would not be reimbursed for the reception and block of rooms they had reserved. So they turned the reception into a benefit for the Vermont Children's Aid Society and CARE USA, an international relief organization that aims to combat poverty by empowering women.

With resiliency like that, Kyle's going to do just fine.

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August 14, 2006

Bad news for husbands

Once a woman is in a secure relationship, her sex drive plummets according to research in Germany.

Security 'bad news for sex drive'.

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August 8, 2006

Post bridal depression

With all the pressure to plan, organize and spend an average of $36,000 for THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF THEIR LIVES, is it any surprise that, after the wedding, the brides crash?

Even Bridezilas get the post-nuptial blues

"You're expected to look your most beautiful and to be the centre of attention. It's no wonder a lot of girls feel like some part of them has died afterwards."

According to Paula Hall, a relationship psychotherapist, one in 10 new brides are so disturbed by the anti-climax of married life that they end up clinically depressed.

"There is an ingrained belief that this is supposed to be the best time in a person's life and people don't want to let go of the fantasy," she said.

The chatrooms of bridal websites have become busy with women consoling each other about the post-wedding adjustment to married life.

That's what happens when you spend all your time planning a wedding and pretty much nothing about planning for marriage.

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July 21, 2006

Same-sex Divorce?

The first of the same-sex marriages in Massachusetts is breaking up.

Julie and Hilary Goodridge were together for 2 decades before marrying officially in the Bay State.  Now they are concerned most about their daughter Annie, 10.

After 2 years, same-sex marriage icons, plaintiffs in the landmark case,  split up

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July 2, 2006

Animal Training Techniques for Husbands

One of the most emailed articles from the New York Times in recent weeks is how Amy Sutherland used animal training techniques on her husband. It's sweeter than it sounds.

What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage

The central lesson I learned from exotic animal trainers is that I should reward behavior I like and ignore behavior I don't. After all, you don't get a sea lion to balance a ball on the end of its nose by nagging. The same goes for the American husband.

Back in Maine, I began thanking Scott if he threw one dirty shirt into the hamper. If he threw in two, I'd kiss him. Meanwhile, I would step over any soiled clothes on the floor without one sharp word, though I did sometimes kick them under the bed. But as he basked in my appreciation, the piles became smaller.

That's the L.R. S (least reinforcing syndrome). If a behavior provokes no response, it typically dies away.

The "incompatible behavior", is a simple, but brilliant concept says Amy.

At home, I came up with incompatible behaviors for Scott to keep him from crowding me while I cooked. To lure him away from the stove, I piled up parsley for him to chop or cheese for him to grate at the other end of the kitchen island. Or I'd set out a bowl of chips and salsa across the room. Soon I'd done it: no more Scott hovering around me while I cooked.
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After two years of exotic animal training, my marriage is far smoother, my husband much easier to love. I used to take his faults personally; his dirty clothes on the floor were an affront, a symbol of how he didn't care enough about me. But thinking of my husband as an exotic species gave me the distance I needed to consider our differences more objectively.

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June 30, 2006

Hateful behind the veil

This is one clause for a pre-nup that beats all.

"if he ever
refuses a clear opportunity to leave for jihad, then I want the choice of a divorce"

From Hateful chatter behind the veil. All from the web postings of the wives of the terrorists arrested in Canada who were planning to detonate bombs against the Toronto stock exchange, storm Parliament and, if they were lucky, behead the prime minister.

  Wives Canadian Terrorists

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June 26, 2006

A Wedding to Die For

  Hugh O'brian Wyatt Earp 2

Hugh O'Brian who some of us remember as Wyatt Earp married for the first time at age 81 to his girlfriend of 18 years, Virginia Barber, 54.

The ceremony, dubbed a Wedding to Die For, took place at a cemetery, Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

O'Brian, who won honors in high school and in the Marine Corps almost became a lawyer until he went to L.A. determined to earn money for tuition. He not only became an actor, he became a humanitarian and a visionary after meeting Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Africa.

He continued to win awards for his screen and stage work, but none probably meant as much to him as the honors he won for his work for over 50 years in youth leadership, called HOBY, empowering youth to achieve their highest potential.

But until June 25, he never had the honor of being a husband. In lieu of gifts at his wedding, he asked for donations to HOBY.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:23 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

June 24, 2006

Sexless Marriages

Homosexuality is a crime punishable by death in most Moslem countries. So many are seeking Marriages of Convenience so they live a somewhat normal life.

Muslim Gays Seek Lesbians for Wives

On a Web site for gay South Asians, 27-year-old Syed Mansoor uploaded the following message last summer:

"Hi, I am looking for a lesbian girl for marriage. I am gay but I would like to get married because of pressure from parents and society. I would like this marriage to be a 'normal' marriage except for the sex part, please don't expect any sexual relationship from me.

"Being an Indian gay person, I believe it is so much worth it to give up sex and have a nice otherwise normal family. We can be good friends and don't have to repent all our life for being gay/lesbian."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:37 PM | Permalink

June 14, 2006

Wedding Sponsors

Another sign that weddings have become much too big and too commercialized.

Couple signs advertisers to sponsor wedding day.

To have a large wedding on the field of a professional baseball team, some individuals might take out a second mortgage. But a marketing-savvy couple is rallying up a stable of local and international companies to sponsor their special day.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:47 PM | Permalink

June 9, 2006

Men want to marry more than women do

Men are far more likely than women to want to get married - and are just as keen to start a family reports the Boston Herald.

“The world is a tough place and the men understand that if they’re going it alone, it makes for a great cowboy movie, but it doesn’t make for a great life,” said Dr. Richard Pomerance, a Bay State psychologist specializing in relationship decisions.

More than 12,000 men and women took part in a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistic

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:39 AM | Permalink

June 7, 2006

The Beauty of Old-Time Hacks

What David Warren says to his fellow journalists in Elementary Stuff

In a long, rambling, extemporaneous memoir, I emphasized the traditional hack virtues of smoking and drinking and general loucheness against the prim political correctness of the current media mainstream.

The beauty of the old-time hacks, I averred, was that they did not seek fame, only adventure, in contact with life. They could be as anonymous as mediaeval artists. They did not consider themselves to be intellectuals, and so their heads were free of stinking pride. Yet they had pride in craft, which the current ones seldom have. All our little Woodwards and Bernsteins today want fame, instead. And they want it smoke-free and soberly, they are professional fame-seekers.

Adventure and contact with life, that's the stuff.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:54 PM | Permalink

May 31, 2006

The apple of his eye

A most unusual marriage proposal as the New York Apple Store opens

She sees the proposal’s existence on Apple’s website as an added bonus, as anyone can see it for themselves. “It’s like having the most unique, glamorous, and timeless proposal, with the whole world as our witness,” she said. “I can’t wait to say ‘I Do’!”

If you go to Apple's time lapse photography of its first 24 hours on Fifth Avenue and click on 5 am you can see it.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:26 PM | Permalink

May 25, 2006

When women panicked.

A notorious Newsweek cover story in 1986 said, based on a Harvard-Yale study, 40 year old, educated, single women "were more likely to be killed by a terrorist" than land a mate.

Now we cringe at the thought of such a comparison. Hey, scare-mongering then and now always boosts sales at news-stands.

From the WSJ, An Iconic Report 20 Years Later: Many of Those Women Married After All by Jeff Zaslow. (subscription only)


A lot of us recall the hand wringing over that study, the countless articles and TV debates, the tearful conversations between single women and their mothers. The statistics were later challenged by U.S. Census Bureau demographer Jeanne Moorman, who calculated that those 30-year-olds actually had a 58% to 66% likelihood of finding a husband; for 40-year-olds it was 17% to 23%. But the Harvard-Yale study's core message -- that educated, career-focused women risk spending their lives alone -- still reverberates today.

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Well, a new study suggests that new research suggests that highly educated women are actually MORE likely to find husbands.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:09 PM | Permalink

April 21, 2006

The Japanese Martha Stewart

She's like the queen of Japan, an Empress of Domesticity, the Japanese Martha Stewart. Harumi Kurihara is in New York to publicize her first book in English, Haruma's Japanese Cooking.


"Harumi's Japanese Cooking : More than 75 Authentic and Contemporary Recipes from Japan's Most PopularCooking Expert"


Cooks like Ms. Kurihara, who incorporate modern and global flavors without stooping to fast food, earn both worship and respect.
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A Japanese mother's reputation in school rests on her bentos," said Nobuko Suzuki, the editor of Ms. Kurihara's Japanese cookbooks. Bento boxes — and the wrapping, arranging, rolling, folding and decorating that goes into them — are portable national icons, carried by children and adults alike.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:35 PM | Permalink

April 1, 2006

Three or Four Computers Ago

About two million Americans met their spouses online.

Today the Wall St Journal in Mism@tched.com (subscribers only) examines how dating sites are scrambling now that the first wave of divorces are starting.

False claims on online dating profiles may be introduced in court years later. Anecdotal evidence indicates that engagements are shorter as people rush into marriage sooner and overlook some of the potential downsides.

Best quote.
Some even say they would date online again. Kelly Fleshman, 35, a Web developer from suburban Baltimore, says she doesn't blame the medium for the problems in her marriage. "We got along better than anyone I have ever gotten along with in my life," she says. They ended the marriage last year, and Ms. Fleshman says she's relieved the love notes that started their relationship are nowhere to be found: "I don't have those emails -- that was, like, three or four computers ago."

How much of the record of our lives is lost because it was "like, three or four computers ago."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:45 PM | Permalink

March 30, 2006

Financial Infidelity

Financial Infidelity is like, you know, shopping behind your spouse's back.

Can a bit of secret spending add spice to a marriage?

Surveys show that up to half of all couples admit that they commit 'financial infidelity' by lying about purchases they've made writes Jeffrey Zaslow in the Wall St Journal.

How do you and your spouse handle discretionary spending?

If couples haven't set a limit in advance, there's apparently a whole cottage industry of consultants out there ready to help couples negotiate their own "open to buy" amounts.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:08 PM | Permalink

March 28, 2006

Money is a Life Skill

For most of us, money is a difficult subject to talk about. It's too personal and tied up with all sorts of emotional baggage.

Still, sometimes we must; for example, before getting married.

even among the most compatible couples, the prewedding vow of personal-finance silence eventually leads to frustration, fights and power struggles.

The Wall St Journal has nine questions partners should ask each other before they take their vows.

1. What are your financial assets and liabilities
2. How do you use debt?
3. What is your money history?
4. Do we need a prenup?
5. What are your financial aspirations?
6. What are your career expectations?
7. How do you propose we divide financial duties?
8. Will we operate from one checkbook or three?
9. Do you have a basic understanding of money?

"Money is a life skill, like swimming," says Ms. Schwab Pomerantz. "Both of you need to know how to swim, because life is full of stormy seas."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:49 PM | Permalink

March 26, 2006

Marriage is for White People

I was stunned to learn that a black child was more likely to grow up living with both parents during slavery days than he or she is today, according to sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin.

Marriage is for White People

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:03 PM | Permalink

March 8, 2006

Do Love

Frank Porretto says the single most destructive attitude in a marriage is

"Your purpose in my life is to make me happy."

His precepts for a happy marriage?

1. Each should resolve to treat the other as he knows the other would like to be treated.
2. Take pleasure in your ability to please your beloved.
3. Love isn't just something you feel; it's also something you do.

The latter points to what I consider the single greatest misconception about love. Love is not a feeling. Love is a doing.

HT: Gerald Van der Leun, Unbroken Vows

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:57 AM | Permalink

March 3, 2006

Hard Marriages Can Harden Arteries

The University of Utah has released a study that shows that hardening of the coronary arteries is more likely in wives when their husbands express hostility during marital arguments. When women exhibit dominant or controlling behavior was related to atherosclerosis in husbands.

Smith summarizes: “A low-quality relationship is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:56 PM | Permalink

Thinking about Living Together?

Janice Shaw Crouse exposes Four Myths About Living Together Without Marriage.

A college professor described a survey that he conducted over a period of years in his marriage classes. He asked guys who were living with a girl, point blank, “Are you going to marry the girl that you’re living with?” The overwhelming response, he reports, was “NO!” When he asked the girls if they were going to marry the guy they were living with, their response was, “Oh, yes; we love each other and we are learning how to be together.”

Bad for both, but especially bad for women.

Via Joe Katzman who calls it The Long Pretending

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:16 PM | Permalink

March 2, 2006

What Women Want in Marriage

After a survey of more than 5000 couples, two sociologists report

"Women today expect more help around the home and more emotional engagement from their husbands," Wilcox says. "But they still want their husbands to be providers who give them financial security and freedom."

It's having your cake and eating it too.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:28 PM | Permalink

February 28, 2006

Checklist for the Business of Life

The Financial Planning Association and the National Endowment for Financial Education have teamed up to create an online life-stages financial planning tool.

  Life Events And Financial Decisions

Life Events & Financial Decisions is definitely a site to bookmark if only for as a checklist for the Business of Life™.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:44 PM | Permalink

Why every couple needs a pre-nuptial agreement

John Mayoue on Why every couple needs a pre-nuptial agreement

Let's face it - marriage may well be a union of the hearts, but it is also a union of bank accounts. When couples marry, they create a legal relationship between one another. There are many financial advantages to marrying - this is how the government encourages people to marry instead of just living with one another - but if those marriages end, by divorce or even death, the legal relationship you have with your spouse may create unplanned financial fallout.

Who needs such fallout when you are going through the emotional trauma of a divorce, or mourning the death of a spouse? In many respects, a pre-nup is the practical way of avoiding at least some of the unpleasant realities. Couples who get a pre-nup, in my opinion, are doing the responsible thing - helping the person they love most by removing some aspects of the thing couples argue about most: money.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:20 PM | Permalink

February 18, 2006

The Perfect Man

I've found the perfect man thanks to Mary Katharine.

He's manly, he's handsome, he opens pickle jars, rubs feet, understands, says the right thing, he's Brawny Man.

No one else can listen quite like him. See for yourself

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:15 PM | Permalink

January 30, 2006

Harlequin Survey

Harlequin, the publisher of romance novels, recently conducted a survey in 16 countries and

asked men and women on six continents about traits they liked or disliked and how they went about trying to meet Mr. or Ms. Right.

Across the world, women put humor on the top on the list and in North America, so did men.

I think this is good news,

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:02 PM | Permalink

January 25, 2006

How to Break in Your Husband

Real Simple on how to break in your husband or boyfriend

Enforce the lessons you learned with siblings and college roommates:
Respect personal space,
do your share of the dishes, and
take good phone messages, says Carolyn Hax, a syndicated advice columnist for the Washington Post."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:38 PM | Permalink

January 20, 2006

Betrayed by a Parrot

When the African grey parrot said, " I love you Gary' in his partner's voice, Chris Taylor became suspicious.

Ziggy is a mimic and a half, and from his cage in the corner he had heard every bill and coo of a secret love affair.

A chill ran down Mr Taylor’s spine. He turned to Suzy, whose cheeks had flushed to beetroot. As she dissolved in tears she was forced to admit to a month-long fling with Gary, some of their intimacies conducted in Mr Taylor’s home while he was out at work, but Ziggy wasn’t. She could not deny it; every time her mobile phone had rung, Ziggy had piped up in perfect imitation of her: “Hiya Gary.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:30 PM | Permalink

The Men We've Been Looking For

After reading, thanks to Hally, Maryamie Scobel's Ten Reasons Why You Should Date a Geek, I think I'm going to try it.

Women of America. THESE ARE THE MEN WE'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR.

UPDATE on the Do's and Don'ts of Dating Geeks.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:54 AM | Permalink

January 19, 2006

Similarity Attracts

A shared history can help make a second marriage work writes Jeff Zaslow in the Wall St. Journal's Moving On column.

Marital history is as crucial in choosing a mate as education, class, religion or race, says Hiromi Ono, a sociologist at Washington State University. She has found that previously married people are twice as likely to marry those with similar marital histories.

It's human nature to gravitate toward people who know what you've been through because they've been there themselves. That's why ex-spouses of alcoholics often find each other, and why groups are created to help divorced parents socialize.

The cliché that opposites attract "is not supported by research," says Terri Orbuch of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. "Similarities attract, and that's what keeps people together for the long term."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:50 PM | Permalink

What price happiness?

Staying married is a great way to increase your wealth.

Couples who stay married through thick and thin accumulate twice as much personal wealth as people who get divorced or remain single, a new study reveals.

One of the key reasons folks who stay together see their assets grow is that one household is cheaper to maintain than two.

The study by researchers at Ohio State University tracked the personal and marital status of 9055 people from 1985 to 2000.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:05 PM | Permalink

January 5, 2006

Grow your own ring

How about bone rings grown from DNA as token of love? It's just the latest in biojewelry from London and costs about $9000. Cells from a fragment of jawbone - yes an extraction is required - are seeded on a ring-shaped scaffold structure where they grow for six to eight weeks.

With this bone, I thee wed

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:05 PM | Permalink

January 3, 2006

Arguments dramatically slow wound healing

The stress a married couple experiences during a 30-minute argument can delay their bodies’ ability to heal a wound by at least a day, according to a new study.

And if the couples’ relationship endures routine hostility, the delay can be even longer. There could be important implications for people suffering from chronic wounds, such as skin ulcers.

“We knew that chronic stress causes reduced immunity, but to find that an argument of just half an hour has such a profound effect on wound healing is quite shocking,” says Patricia Price at the Wound Healing Research Unit at Cardiff University, Wales, who was not involved in the study.

Arguments dramatically slow wound healing

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:26 PM | Permalink

December 2, 2005

Key to My Heart

By now, you've probably heard of the love molecule. Italian researchers say the molecule known as the nerve growth factor (NGF) makes your heart beat faster, gives you those butterflies in the stomach and the sense of euphoria when you fall in love. They say it only lasts about a year.

Ambivablog has read further and finds that NGF and Love Makes All Things New.

Could it be the Love itself along with the NGF has the power to renew and remake us all the way through life up to the gate of death? Can any new passionate attraction or friendship that we love do the same?

Some Stanford researchers have discovered a new type of lock-and-key mechanism that provides a critical step in reproducing nerve growth factor.

NGF and its family members called neurotrophins not only control the development of the nervous system in the embryo but also the maintenance of nervous tissue and neural transmission in the adult.

NGF plays a role in many nervous system problems such as neural degeneration in aging, Alzheimer's disease and neural regeneration in spinal cord injuries and other damage to neural tissue. It also may factor into mood and other psychological disorders. 

It's the key to my or to anyone's heart that opens to Love.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:44 PM | Permalink

November 25, 2005

Exposed by Parrot

If you're going to cheat on your spouse, get your parrot a new home.

Frank Ficker, 50, has now been kicked out of the family home by wife Petra, also 50, after she heard their 12-year-old parrot Hugo impersonating him on the phone to another woman.

Petra, of Freiburg, Germany, said: "Hugo always liked to mimic Frank and he could do his voice perfectly.

"Frank asking who's at the door, Frank yelling at our nephews, Frank telling me he loved me. And then one day I heard him doing Frank's voice, but saying "Uta, Uta"."

Petra turned the house upside down and found two plane tickets for a weekend break in Paris booked for her husband - and a mystery woman named Uta.

She said: "I kicked him straight out. It's just me and my parrot now."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:04 PM | Permalink

November 20, 2005

The Power of Making Choices

Coming of age in the 60s, the phrase "Keeping my options open" was one we all repeated to each other as the way to be for as long as we could. Only in retrospect does it appear to be bad advice.

From the Gruntled Center.

The problem with the religion of choice is that it does not let you actually choose anything. Any choice made now forces you to give up other choices in the future. If, on the other hand, you try always to keep your options open, you never get to live any particular kind of life fully.
-------

Choosing to live a married life with one particular woman is what makes the extraordinary change in men. Single men live the life of “options.” They have lots of choices, but many fewer accomplishments. Married men are the most productive economic group in society because they have given up the life of many options, and are living the life of their one great choice.

Hat tip Ambivablog

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:57 PM | Permalink

November 12, 2005

Virgins Rule

Now here's a refreshing post - Virgins Rule.

It's a point of view you don't come across much anymore and from a man of experience who's not a pig even if he's a Hog on Ice.

Read the number of women in the comments who wonder just how empowered they really are or were.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:43 AM | Permalink

October 24, 2005

Sharing your bank book

Marshall Loeb says in Till cash do us part.

Some loving couples would rather share a toothbrush than a bank book. But if you plan to be with your mate for the long-term, sharing your basic financial information is as important as sharing your health history.
At least once a year, you and your mate should talk about what you owe, what you're spending on and what are your future financial goals.
An easy way to have this conversation is to start by making or updating lists of what you own and owe, separately or in common.
You should know the names, email addresses and phone and fax numbers of the financial professionals in your mate's life. They include any stockbroker, accountant, banker, attorney, insurance agent and financial planner.
Then there are the lists of your assets. They include all real estate, bank and brokerage accounts, cars and boats, precious jewelry, works of art and insurance policies.
Keep your lists in the same secure place where you store your wills, property deeds and your marriage license, if you have one.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:13 PM | Permalink

July 20, 2005

Marriage Losing to Cohabitation

It may seem like good news that divorce rates have declined until you learn that marriage rates have declined even more dramatically.

Couples who once might have wed and then divorced now are not marrying at all, according to The State of our Unions 2005. The annual report, which analyzes Census and other data, is issued by the National Marriage Project at New Jersey's Rutgers University.

-----
Cohabitation is here to stay," says David Popenoe, a Rutgers sociology professor and report co-author. "I don't think it's good news, especially for children," he says. "As society shifts from marriage to cohabitation — which is what's happening — you have an increase in family instability.
---
The USA has the lowest percentage among Western nations of children who grow up with both biological parents, 63%, the report says.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:13 PM | Permalink

July 12, 2005

Time Out for Troubled Marriages

The usual prelude to a divorce is separation.  Now there's controlled separation negotiated by therapists, a movement that's gaining adherents across the country. 

Hilary Stout reports on Family Matters in the Wall St Journal (subscription only)

Separation in the U.S. has become essentially a prelude to divorce. But a new approach that has quietly attracted interest over the past few years aims to do the opposite. Controlled separation is usually negotiated in a therapist's office, never in a lawyer's, and its ultimate goal is to save the marriage by putting a concrete limit on the time apart (usually no more than six months) -- and negotiating more than a dozen hot points into a written contract to eliminate the uncertainty, insecurity and second-guessing that can become toxic in a troubled relationship.
---
In most separations, there are few rules. Legal separations, negotiated by lawyers, generally cover only finances and children. So-called trial separations, in which one spouse simply moves out with no guidance, are generally emotional and unpredictable since no one is ever sure what the other is up to. A marriage and family therapist in Wisconsin, Lee Raffel, developed the idea of controlled separation in the late 1990s out of "sheer frustration," after some three decades of counseling couples.

"I could see that when couples separated, they were having a terrible time," she says. "They didn't know if they wanted to stay or go. They only knew they were unhappy. They didn't know how to solve their problems and they did a lot of nasty things to each other."
---
It  doesn't always work, though. Elsie Radtke, associate director for the family ministries office at the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, says that more than half of the couples she counsels through controlled separation end up divorcing. But she feels that the process benefits those couples too. The split, she says, is often far less acrimonious as a result of the controlled separation.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:59 PM | Permalink

June 27, 2005

Is Fidelity in the Genes?

Fidelity to one's partner may be in the genes. 

The New Scientist reports:

ONE piece of so-called "junk" DNA appears to have a surprising role. In voles at least, a particular stretch of non-coding DNA seems to control a male's fidelity.

The world we are creating will bring about changes we can't even imagine.   

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:58 PM | Permalink

June 9, 2005

Manly Men

I'm all for manly men so long as they are clean, kind and funny. 

So it seems are most American women

Women want the "man" back in "manly," a Harris Interactive survey shows. The rough-and-ready attitude is in, women say, while the manicured "metrosexual" look is on the way out.
    A full 61 percent of women surveyed said they would rather see a man's hands rough and working hard than well-manicured, a slap in the face to the extreme-makeover, suave-guy crowd.
    Ninety-two percent of women said dependability is a desirable characteristic in an ideal mate. Only 16 percent chose "fashionable," and 62 percent chose "strong" as a desirable characteristic.
-----
    The Harris survey was conducted among 1,003 men and 1,128 women 18 or older from across the United States. Among the findings:
    •75 percent of women said their ideal man buys his grooming products at a grocery store or drugstore, not a salon.
    •72 percent of women said their ideal man spends his free time doing home-improvement projects.
    •41 percent of women said their ideal man spends his time watching sports.
    •47 percent of women said their ideal man spends his money on electronics, compared with 9 percent who answered "designer clothes."
    •90 percent of women said they prefer low-maintenance, easygoing guys

UPDATE:  It's different in France.  French men want to be pregnant

   Metrosexual This is not a manly man.

UPDATE 2  PARIS (AFP) - Macho man is an endangered species,  fashion industry insiders say. Move Over Rambo, you're cramping new man's style

"We are watching the birth of a hybrid man. ... Why not put on a pink-flowered shirt and try out a partner-swapping club?" asked Le Louet.

James Lileks' responds: Perhaps because you’ll look like a florist ad and contract the clap? There’s your modern lap: FTDs and STDs. I hate to break it to these theorists, but it does not take guts for a young man to want to have multiple sex partners. It takes guts to settle down and have a family and rein in the roaming libido.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:34 PM | Permalink

June 5, 2005

Fool proof test for marriage

Just in time for June weddings, Rabbi Marc Gellman, with many years of experience, offers his fool-proof test for marriage. 

Do they touch and do they laugh?
......
Touching is the way love begins and it is the way we try to keep it from ending even in the face of death.
........
Laughter reveals trust and joyousness, humility and helplessness in the face of love.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:44 PM | Permalink

June 3, 2005

Wedding at top of Mt. Everest

Hearty congratulations and many blessings to Moni Mulepati and Pem Dorjee, a Nepalese couple who got married at the top of the world, the 29,035 foot high summit of Mt. Everest.

Blessedly simple - no champagne, family, procession, wedding dress, bands or favors - the couple stayed only 10 minutes, long enough to take off their oxygen masts, exchange vows and have their pictures taken by friends.

Here they are on their return to Katmandu.

   Nepalese Couple

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:41 PM | Permalink

June 2, 2005

Humiliation of Croatian Bride

Do you remember when you were little and practiced making terrible faces and some adult would say, Be careful or your face will freeze like that?

Think of that happening and then think of the most embarrassing moment of your life and you still will not come close to the total humiliation of this Croatian bride.

Doctors had to be called to separate the bride and best man after they were caught in the act during a wedding in Croatia.

The couple were trapped together by a muscle spasm after a friend of the groom walked in on them as they had sex in the toilets.

Unable to be pulled apart, the couple had to endure a procession of wedding guests who came to see what they had been doing before doctors could turn up.

Unable to help, they had to transport the pair on a stretcher to the local hospital where she was given an injection to relax her muscles, allowing the best man to get free.

The wedding party in Varazdin, Croatia, continued after the groom announced the celebrations were to mark his divorce rather than his wedding, reported daily Slobodna Dalmacija.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:34 PM | Permalink

June 1, 2005

Yes dear

Married 80 years, Percy and Florence Arrowsmith, the world's longest married couple reveal their secrets.

She says, "Never go to bed with a quarrel"
He says, "Yes dear"

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:45 AM | Permalink

March 24, 2005

German Formula for Happy Relationship

Each criticism has to be balanced by five compliments.  This after tests on thousands of individuals by Professor Bierhoff in Germany.

Four compliments just won't do

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:28 AM | Permalink

February 28, 2005

Winds of Love

One blog I never fail to read is Winds of Change.  Joe Katzman, the solo founder of what is now a group blo, pens his own tale of true love, blogging, and happy endings and a circle come 'round in the shape of his grandmother's ring.

As his wonderful grandmother would say, May you and your beloved make your own happiness.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:52 PM | Permalink

February 15, 2005

I Love You, You're Just Like Me

One more February study that I missed, this one from the University of Iowa, I Love You, You're Just Like Me.

The study found that people first of all tend to select romantic partners who have similar attitudes, religious beliefs and values. Over the long term, however, it's similarities in personality that appear to be the most important factor in a happy marriage, the researchers conclude.

…Though it has long been a staple plot in Hollywood romantic comedies, the researchers found no evidence at all that opposites attract.

…."Once people are in a committed relationship, it is primarily personality similarity that influences marital happiness," the researchers write, "because being in a committed relationship entails regular interaction and requires extensive coordination in dealing with tasks, issues and problems of daily living."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:25 PM | Permalink

February 14, 2005

Valentine sacrifices

From the Saint of the Day, I learned

Valentine was a priest in Rome during the 3rd century, at a time when the Emperor Claudius II forbade the practice of Christianity and executed any who disobeyed him.  But Valentine ignored the law, and he comforted persecuted martyrs and may even have married Christian couples.

Arrested, he was brought before Claudius, who demanded Valentine renounce his father and accept the pagan gods of Rome. Valentine refused to comply.

It is said that Claudius had him imprisoned by a magistrate, whose daughter happened to be blind. Valentine cured her, converting the magistrate and his entire family to Christianity.

Enraged, Claudius had Valentine beaten, stoned and beheaded.

Legend tells us that he sent the girl a farewell note, signing it "from your Valentine".

Most of the Valentine stories you read are about passion and romance.  Here's one about devotion

Woman wakes from coma after husband's bedside vigil.
A woman has awoken from a coma in China after her devoted husband stayed by her hospital bedside for four-and-a-half years. 

Li Zhongqiu has lived in a Shanghai hospital and cared for his wife Jin Meihua since she suffered brain injuries after falling from her bicycle.  Doctors held out little hope of recovery but retired soldier Li, who married Jin in 1967, refused to leave her side.....He once refused treatment for burns when he scalded his foot carrying boiling water because he did not want to spend a night away from her.
Li's devotion was rewarded when his wife eventually woke and smiled and nodded at her husband, . She can now move the left side of her body and communicates by nodding.
Li said he never gave up hope: "After serving in the army for 29 years, I was able to stick to what I believed in," he told South China Morning Post
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:25 AM | Permalink

July 15, 2004

More women now adopting their husband's surname

In a reversal of a three decade long trend, more married women are taking their husband's surnames according to a Harvard University study. Personally, I think it's because of the frustrating logistical problems two-last-named married couples especially with children encounter everywhere. See
I Take Thee --And Thy Name, Too

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:39 AM | Permalink

June 10, 2004

Care and Feeding of Husbands

The most popular book on male-female relationships in years, selling to date over 800,000 copies is a book you probably never heard of.


The author says, "I was amazed at the reaction I have had from so many men about this book. So many of them are so unhappy. They feel emotionally abused by the women in their lives"

"Women have been told for so long that men are powerful and that women are always victims that they believe it. They expect men to be understanding of them, even when they are hostile, dismissive and undermining to the men in their lives. In truth men are fairly simple. They are born and raised by women. The acceptance and love of a woman is central to their whole lives. The woman, who knows that and is wise enough to use that power benevolently will have a happy life."

I learned about "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" by Laura Schlessinger in Blyth Spirit. Myrna Blyth was a long time editor of Ladies Home Journal and founding editor of More. Her book: "Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:56 AM | Permalink

May 17, 2004

Many Marriages today

Today is the first day gays and lesbians can be legally married in Massachusetts. Here are wedding tips from John Scalzi's Whatever that are useful for any wedding gay or straight.

    Even if you've written your own vows, you'll barely remember what you say. So don't sweat most of the words. It's the "I do" that counts.

    Speaking of which, I think it's always better to say "I do" than "I will." You're going to be married in the future, but you're getting married now.

    But remember, it's your wedding. Anyone else's opinion about what the two of you should do or say during the ceremony is strictly advisory.

    When you're told to kiss your spouse, do it like you mean it.

    When you plan your wedding, try to cover all contingencies. When the one thing you forgot could go wrong does go wrong during the wedding itself, accept it and keep going. Weddings are often imperfect, like the people in them. It doesn't mean they're not still absolutely wonderful (like the people within them).

    Before the ceremony, pee early and often. I know. But look, you want to be up there with a full bladder? You'll be nervous enough.

    Some people don't think you should invite your exes to the wedding. But I think it's not such a bad thing to have one person in the crowd slightly depressed that they let you get away. They'll get over it at the reception. Trust me.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:05 AM | Permalink