Love in Marriage is a Relatively New Idea


Love in Marriage is a Relatively New Idea

We think of love as the reason for marriage as a foregone conclusion. Historically speaking, that isn’t the case. Love in ancient Greece was thought of as a mental illness, as was it in Medieval Europe. In France in the Middle Ages it was thought to be cured with intercourse with the beloved or some other. Marriage on the other hand was to combine wealth and for political power. It was also to make children to work family farms. Parents would be shocked in those days if their children wanted to marry for love.

Physical attraction has always been a part of marriage. The world over and throughout history polygamy has been the most popular form of marriage. It even appears in the Bible with King Solomon and David who had many, many wives. In a certain culture in Tibet, the Na people have the women go to the next village to conceive. Then they raise the children with their brothers. The children don’t have any parents like we think of them. They are raised by the whole village. Like that African saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Too much love within marriage was thought to poison throughout ancient and medieval times in the West. However with the American and French Revolutions we saw a change in mindset. People were concerned with their personal freedoms and the pursuit of their own happiness, as Jefferson so eloquently put it. Working for a salary instead of on the farm helped break marriage away from the economic sphere and to the sphere of the heart. Only in the middle of the nineteenth century did Americans begin marrying for love. They convinced themselves that it was the only reason to marry and that it had always been so.

The largest group to marry was the returning G.I.s and their Rosie the Riveter’s just after World War II. The men worked and the women stayed home to care for it and the children. Salaries rose for men. But a lot of women found it confining. Enter the women’s liberation movement of the 1960’s and 70’s. Women flooded the workforce. Soon we saw no fault divorces, the biggest years were between 1978 and 1980. 67% of divorces are filed by women. Today we are seeing vast changes. Some wonder if it is the end of marriage as we know it. But no one is tying the knot in America today, or at least not saying they are, without being in love. To learn more on this topic read, Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie Coontz.

What Exactly Is Cheating?


What Exactly Is Cheating?

One person’s cheating is another’s playing the field when it comes to dating. In a relationship things are more clear cut but there still may be some areas of ambiguity. Is having an office spouse cheating? What about emotional intimacy, can that exist outside the couple? What exactly is cheating? It turns out infidelity may be determined by your gender and age. In a recent poll 40% of men and 56% of women said that if their partner kissed someone other than them on the lips, it was cheating.

But as women got older the number that shared this opinion dropped. 75% of younger women ages 18-29 considered their partner locking lips with another cheating. 53% of women age 30-44 thought so. 38% of women 45-64 shared this same view, and for the 65 and over crowd, only 30% considered it cheating. For sending a sext, that is a sexy photo or text message to someone, 74% of men thought it was cheating, compared to the 80% of women who shared the same view.

When it came to developing a deep connection, women and men’s opinions were divergent. Only half of men considered this to be cheating compared to 70% of women. The participant’s age played a factor in whether or not forming a deep bond with someone was cheating. 52% ages 18-29 felt this way, compared with 69% of the 65+ respondents. Political persuasion played a factor as well. When polled about whether going to a strip joint was cheating, 19% of Democrats said so, compared to 35% of Republicans. 51% of Republicans said it wasn’t cheating while 86% of Dems agreed. What about reconnecting with an ex on Facebook, is this cheating? 21% of guys thought so, but 56% didn’t. For women, 26% thought it was cheating while 42% thought it wasn’t.

When it came to Facebook, a political bend played a factor as well. 19% of Democrats thought reconnecting with an ex was cheating, 51% didn’t. For Republicans, 29% considered it an infidelity while 44% thought it was okay.  Talk with your partner on what you consider cheating at your particular stage in the game. Have a conversation and establish some ground rules. If you aren’t exclusive realize what that means, and if you are outline what that means too. If you and your partner have experienced infidelity read, After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful by Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D.

Liberals and Conservatives can Smell Singles with the Same Ideology


Liberals and Conservatives can Smell Singles with the Same Ideology

Liberals and conservatives are different on a lot of things. Now, according to Brown University researchers, smell might be one of them. This study, published in the American Journal of Political Science, found that potential mates can sniff out a date with a similar ideology. This may be why partners often share the same political beliefs. The study is entitled, “Assortative Mating on Ideology Could Operate Through Olfactory Cues.” political scientist Rose McDermott found that although it is to a small degree, it is significant enough that there is a preference in body odor to mates that smell a certain way, the one’s that cast ballots the same way we do. Other than religion, politics is the strongest trait long-term couples usually have in common, according to previous studies. In this study, researchers wanted to know whether this phenomenon was merely biologically driven, or if a social element played a role.

146 participants between the ages of 18 and 40 took part in the study. They all hailed from “a large city in the northeast United States.” To see where each person fell on the political spectrum, a seven point scale was used. 21 of the participants, 11 conservatives and 10 liberals, were given a shampoo and a fragrance-free soap to take home and use. They had a gauze pad taped into their armpit. Participants could not have sex, use deodorant, cologne or perfume. They were told not to eat pungent foods, sleep with a pet or person in close proximity, or stay anywhere near strong odors. After 24 hours and one smelly armpit later, they returned. The gauze pads were inhaled by 125 participants. They didn’t get to lay eyes on the person from which the gauze pad hailed. Each sniffer was asked to rate each gauze pad for the attractiveness of the person it smelled like, using a rating system of one to five. Those whose smell rated highest for a participant tended to have the same ideology as the person giving the rating. Researchers wrote, “It appears nature stacks the deck to make politically similar partners more attractive to each other in unconscious ways.”

Researchers thought evolution might play a role. They wrote, “Parental similarity in values increases the likelihood that such individuals may be able to say together long enough to raise their children successfully into adulthood.” The way evolution sees it, if you agree with your spouse, chances are you will stay together, raise children, and those children will have a better chance at survival. Another reason might be how parental preference for certain smells may be passed down onto their offspring. Researchers wrote, “Humans, including mothers, spend most of their time around ideologically similar others.” They went on, “If social attitudes are linked to odor, as the literature suggests, then one mechanism that odor preferences transfer from parents to children may operate through their mother’s choice of mate. In this way, social processes may drive some of the pathways by which individuals come to prefer those whose ideological ‘smell’ matches their own.” Of course, we don’t pick mates on smell alone, and researchers know it. Physical urges, conscious decisions, emotional bonding and more all contribute to this complex process. For more on ways, be they traditional or not so much, to find the right mate, besides smelling them, read, How to Attract Your Soul Mate: The Secrets of Lasting Love by Barbara Gulbranson.