A Beautiful Wife Leads to a Happy Marriage

Happy Couple

A Beautiful Wife Leads to a Happy Marriage

What qualities would you most associate with a blissful union? Love? Commitment? Trust? Good communication skills? Or just the wife being hot? A beautiful wife leads to a happy marriage, one study claims. Conducted by psychologist Andrea Metzer, over 450 newly married couples were tracked for four years. The question on the researcher’s minds, does having an attractive spouse lead to a happier marriage? It turned out to be true, but only for guys.

Physical attractiveness didn’t have any effect on the women directly. But the husband’s satisfaction increased his wife’s satisfaction. So indirectly it did have a positive effect. This study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. This isn’t the only study to reach this conclusion. In 2008 the Relationship Institute at UCLA did a study. Here they found that men felt lucky having married an attractive wife. This lead to a high level of marital satisfaction, as the husbands feeling lucky treated their wives well, increasing their satisfaction level too. But when the husband felt more attractive than the wife, the opposite was true. They didn’t feel the need to help her out.

Certainly, being attracted to your mate is important. There are different kinds of attraction however. And everyone finds something different attractive. But even physical attraction, though it can lead to overall satisfaction, isn’t enough to keep a marriage together. A deep bond of respect, trust, commitment and love are also necessary. Without them, many other problems will come between spouses. Though an important point, this study could also illuminate us on another issue that helps cause the demise of marriage, letting ourselves go and taking our partner for granted. Just because one is married doesn’t mean keeping ourselves up is over. Of course, we should be eating right and exercising for the benefit of our health. But we should also take proper care of ourselves so that our spouse still finds us attractive.

The marriage isn’t the end of wooing, wooing should still be an ongoing process to keep things fresh, and to keep the spark alive. Wear something nice around the house just for your spouse’s benefit. Every once in a while put on some perfume or cologne just to drive them wild. Reinvest in keeping your partner interested and attracted to you and loads of other benefits will come along. For more advice read, I Still Do: Bring back that Spark- Learn How You Can Rekindle the Flame Forever by Dr. Joshua Osenga, Ed.d.

Marital Happiness Determined by Gut Feelings

gut feelings

Marital Happiness Determined by Gut Feelings

Before getting married, listen to what your gut is telling you. According to a new study, it knows better than one might think. The journal Science recently published research which concluded that your gut feelings about a relationship can predict how blissful the marriage will be long term. Associate professor James K. McNulty, the studies’ lead author, took 135 newlywed participants and using advanced computer software asked them questions about their partners. The study found that what participants said had no actual bearing on marital satisfaction. But their subconscious or gut feelings were the ultimate predictors. Generally people’s natural reaction to their partners predicted the relationship’s course, but those people either wouldn’t or couldn’t verbalize those thoughts or feelings.

Lots of people have bad feelings about relationships that they stay in. Why is that? For a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s for childish ones. Others told them this relationship wouldn’t work out and they want to show them. There are those who are in denial about their marriages. They so want to be loved, and don’t think anyone else will love them. Or they feel as though they’ve invested so much time already, and don’t want to see that time wasted. There are those who believe that they can change a person, or that the person will change and grow more to what they want over time. But all of these are plans for failure. Relationships based on denial or settling will never be fulfilling. In fact, those who get out of these relationships and find someone who really loves, cares for, respects and takes care of them wonder what they were ever doing in that other relationship to begin with. When you get a negative gut feeling about a relationship, don’t ignore it. And don’t walk down the aisle pretending it isn’t there. That dissatisfaction won’t go away. It will follow you until you deal with it. For more advice read, Before You Plan Your Wedding… Plan Your Marriage by Dr. Greg Smalley & Erin Smalley.

Overcoming Choice Overload in Online Dating

choice overload

Overcoming Choice Overload in Online Dating

Today with so many dating websites and apps, we can very quickly become overwhelmed with choices. With Tinder we can swipe so many faces and weigh decisions on people who hardly say anything about themselves, whom we have little but a couple of pictures worth of evidence to go on. Other choices are monstrous. You can spend over two hours answering OKCupid questions for comparability. eHarmony is similar in this vein. Yet, if you talk to couples you don’t see an overwhelming amount coming from these sites. So what’s the deal, are all these choices really making us happier and better able to focus in on the right person or is it just a menial, anxiety ridden drag? Over ten years ago a book mirroring this very phenomenon, The Choice Paradox: Why More is Less by psychologist Barry Schwartz made its way to the fore. In it, Schwartz argues that we are bombarded in the modern world by a barrage of meaningless choices. A look at the wall of drinks available at the local convenience store is just one example. Schwartz argues that this “Choice overload” causes us to make our standards too high, fail to meet them and feel guilty in the aftermath. If there is any explanation about how some of us date online, this is it.

Schwartz has resurfaced as of late being interviewed by a variety of media sources about his opinion on the rise of social media. The phenomenon he said has only increased anxiety, now in the form of things like FOMO (fear of missing out). Internet daters today are fraught with this very thing, going through profile after profile, on date after meaningless date and never looking past the surface, never giving a relationship a chance to take root. On Tinder for instance, it’s so easy to swipe right and overlook someone that could be perfect for you. But how would you know? Online dating has many pitfalls. Sometimes we spread ourselves too thin and chat with too many people at once. It’s hard to keep each person straight. At other times we are in complete limbo, emailing back and forth with someone we never know if we’ll see in person. People come in and drop off all the time with no reason or explanation. Sure it’s brought on more choices, but there’s also more confusion to go with it, as to how best to proceed. It’s almost always helplessly hoping that something works out and being disappointed. So should you find someone that’s good enough and stick with them, even if Mr. or Ms. Perfect could still be out there, somewhere in the farthest reaches of the internet?

In Schwartz’s experiments with choices in consumer products, “satisficers,” or those who don’t need the very best smart phone, latest TV or sharpest car were consistently the happiest, whereas “maximizers” or those who needed to have the very best at all times, were constantly let down. “Maximizers” were also less satisfied in their career and more likely to be diagnosed with depression. According to Schwartz’s view you should settle for something that is acceptable. Schwartz said in a Reddit chat last year that for a selection process, say for example high school juniors should pick five colleges, not five times that much. Why not do the same for dating? Use a site where you can view profiles, pick your top five, the ones you have the most in common with and have the best feeling about, and invest in them, instead of 25? When having a list of traits you want in a partner why not have a shorter, more manageable and practical list? Be flexible. See past little things. Instead of having to have a certain net worth as a requirement, consider someone who pays all their bills on time. The person you went out with may not have been the best kisser, but they can learn. You can teach them. Consider what is good enough for you and stick to it. “‘Good enough’ is almost always good enough,” Schwartz said. It doesn’t mean giving up on your dream of finding the perfect person. It means understanding that there is no such thing, being practical and finding your happiness here in this world. Usually, something clicks into place with someone and things just feel right. But that will never happen if like a Tinder jaunt you just keep on swiping right. For more useful advice read, Cupid’s Guide to Online Dating – A Practical Guide to Finding Love by R.C. Lane.

Why do Baby Boomers Divorce the Most?

boomers

Why do Baby Boomers Divorce the Most?

Though it’s always quoted as hovering around 50%, the divorce rate in America is now closer to 40% than 50%. This is true for almost every demographic except the baby boomer, those born between 1945 and 1964. For them the rate has grown to 50% in two decades. So why do baby boomers divorce the most? Some experts have posited that since baby boomers came up in an age of great prosperity and challenged every aspect of conventional society from gender inequality to civil rights, they are now challenging what it means to be middle-aged and redefining marriage and relationships too. Others say that they are looking for a relationship that is unattainable, perfection. Still others believe that they want the most out of life, including attraction and sexual satisfaction in their partners. As baby boomers age their peculiarities will be of much study to psychologists, demographers, sociologists and many others. The question will be how marriage and relationships change in this important demographic as they continue to age and what unique qualities will there be when they are seniors.

Baby boomers were the first generation to reject traditional gender roles outright. With the advent of the birth control pill came the sexual revolution as well as great strides in feminism. Of course this was also the generation that challenged the traditional notion of marriage and enacted a record number of divorces through the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. It may be their propensity toward divorce that causes their children, the Gen X, Gen Y and Millennial generations to wait longer to get married and start a family. It may also be the reason that the younger generations are cohabitating more. Of course financial considerations also come into play, and perhaps are more of a cause.  But the baby boomers paved the way to make it possible. The mistakes of the baby boomers and their propensity toward divorce may have also made marriages much more stable, decreasing the divorce rate among later generations. This is because people are much more serious when entering into a marriage. They take it very seriously, do not want to be divorced and so they wait and make sure the person is the right one before going ahead and getting married. If you are looking for a relationship as a divorcee from the baby boomer generation, read the book, Boomers Guide to Dating (Again) by Laurie A. Helgoe, Ph.D.

Marriage in America Today

marriage

Marriage in America Today

The number of people getting married is declining. Experts say the marriage rate today is lower than it was in 1880, another time when extreme differences in income affected the social landscape. Though marriage is touted in America and many societies as helping to preserve the social order, the atmosphere with which we operate is far from conducive in promoting it. In the original Gilded Age as Mark Twain called it, a new class of industrialists slashed wages and with it the prospects of workers of marrying age, mostly male factory workers. Sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin at John Hopkins University wrote that one difference today is many are choosing to cohabitate and have children without a marriage license filed away in the family home. That would never do in the 19th century. But today it’s quite common.

One problem is the gatekeepers to pop culture, the TV and movie writers, musical artists and others have failed to keep up and give us an image we can hang onto for this new state of affairs in how long-term love should be.  Zoë Heller at the New York Review of Books says films today and other cultural milieu are filled with simplistic plots and clichés about love, without delving into the complicated minutia of modern relationships and how best to navigate them. They don’t reflect what people are actually experiencing, nor do they give a strategy for which to encounter the prickly paradigm of modern love. Supporters of traditional values decry the end of marriage as it once was. But couples staying together longer show greater stability, know each other better and perhaps can best negotiate differences. The expense of a wedding, weakening norms and lack of financial benefit may result in a further decline in marriage, experts believe. On the upshot for advocates, statistics show that those who are getting married stay together longer. Also, the divorce rate has dropped dramatically. In fact, since the 1980’s, divorce has been in deep decline. 70% of those who married in the 1990s celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary today. That’s 5% higher than those who married in the 70’s and 80’s. Those who tied the knot in the new millennium have an even lower divorce rate.

According to economist Justin Wolfer at the University of Michigan, two-thirds of married couples today stay together. For those cases where divorce does occur, two-thirds of the time it’s the wife who wants it. The reason is women’s expectations for marriage have vastly changed. Gender roles in America saw a dramatic paradigm shift over the past two decades due to the Feminist movement. This in turn affected how both sexes interact with one another. Today, marriage isn’t only about raising a family or having financial support. It’s about love and partnership. People also want someone who will help lead them into personal growth. They want to grow and better themselves and they look to their partner to help them complete their metamorphosis. A lot of times, when we feel as though we are in a stale relationship and the well has gone dry, we feel it’s time to move on. The baby boomer generation remains the one with the highest rate of divorce. People are living older nowadays, and so when the children have moved out and they still have decades of life left, they want to make the most of it. That sometimes means leaving someone they no longer connect with in order to enjoy those years with someone they do. For more on this topic read, The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today by Andrew J. Cherlin.