marriage

What’s the Matter with Marriage?

Couple-bluesteel1561x1203

A festival of links. If you follow these you’ll be exposed to a lot of discussion from a wide variety of perspectives on the current state of mate-seeking and marriage, and a lot of unhappiness about both. Some of the comments are from points of view I have never considered. Much of this is ideological and political wrangling; I think good marriages are very important to a healthy society, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to change laws to somehow “promote marriage.” There are certainly current government policies that have created incentives that make people hesitate before subjecting themselves to a commitment that seems like it might end badly for them, and I’d support identifying and reducing these disincentives where possible. Leave people free to work out their problems and find good solutions; free the economy from some of the excessive regulation that hampers growth and good jobs, so a dynamic economy helps people feel safe enough in their jobs to found new families.

Warning: I don’t endorse any of these, but they are thought-provoking:

Dear Girls Who Are (Finally) Ready To Date Nice Guys: We Don’t Want You Anymore

Dear “Nice Guys” Who Are At the End of Their Rope: You Actually Aren’t That Nice.

Just Say No: For white working-class women, it makes sense to stay single mothers.

Why isn’t Carl good enough?

Men on Strike, by Helen Smith (wife of Glenn Reynolds the Instapundit, who was kind enough to plug Bad Boyfriends on his site) is a provocative look at how boys and young men are being damaged by schools run primarily by women who now view masculine energy as something to be suppressed, and a society that views men as suspect and probably at fault in any issue. It certainly does not help that lower-class young men are devalued and underemployed at a much greater rate than ever before, and so we get Carl from the link above, “Just Say No,” who while father of a woman’s child is seen as a hindrance in her life.

More on Divorce, Marriage, and Mateseeking

Marriages Happening Late, Are Good for You
Monogamy and Relationship Failure; “Love Illuminated”
“Millionaire Matchmaker”
More reasons to find a good partner: lower heart disease!
“Princeton Mom” Susan Patton: “Marry Smart” not so smart
“Blue Valentine”
“All the Taken Men are Best” – why women poach married men….
“Marriage Rate Lowest in a Century”
Making Divorce Hard to Strengthen Marriages?
Student Loan Debt: Problems in Divorce
“The Upside of ‘Marrying Down’”
The High Cost of Divorce
Separate Beds Save Marriages?
Marital Discord Linked to Depression
Marriage Contracts: Give People More Legal Options
Older Couples Avoiding Marriage For Financial Reasons
Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Vox Charts Millennial Marriage Depression
What’s the Matter with Marriage?
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
Constant Arguing Can Be Deadly…
“If a fraught relationship significantly shortens your life, are you better off alone?
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
“It’s up there with ‘Men Are From Mars’ and ‘The Road Less Travelled’”
Free Love, eHarmony, Matchmaking Pseudoscience
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
“The New ‘I Do’”
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Mark Manson’s “Six Healthy Relationship Habits”
“The Science of Happily Ever After” – Couples Communications
Free Dating Sites: Which Have Attachment Type Screening?
Dating Pool Danger: Harder to Find Good Partners After 30
Mate-Seeking: The Science of Finding Your Best Partner
Perfect Soulmates or Fellow Travelers: Being Happy Depends on Perspective
No Marriage, Please: Cohabiting Taking Over
“Marriage Markets” – Marriage Beyond Our Means?
Rules for Relationships: Realism and Empathy
Limerence vs. Love
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
When to Break Up or Divorce? The Economic View
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
“Sliding” Into Marriage, Small Weddings Associated with Poor Outcomes
Subconscious Positivity Predicts Marriage Success…
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)

Older Couples Avoiding Marriage For Financial Reasons

One of the themes I will bring up often is how legal marriage has been manipulated by legislatures who seem to want to promote it, then set up financial disincentives because in most of the tax and welfare policies they promote, they want to appear “progressive” — in other words, tax at a higher rate for the well-off, and remove social subsidies from people whose incomes go up. As a result, two income couples must seriously consider whether it is worth the legal protections of marriage when their taxes may rise and their subsidies fall. For older couples with children from previous marriages, legislatures have often taken away their freedom to give their estate away as they wish, requiring certain percentages to the surviving spouse. Even with complex prenups, courts may not follow their wishes, and so it is safer and cheaper to forgo legal marriage and try to get what protection they can from medical and financial powers of attorney and trusts. Which are also expensive to draft.

The New York Times covers this here.

More on Divorce, Marriage, and Mateseeking

Marriages Happening Late, Are Good for You
Monogamy and Relationship Failure; “Love Illuminated”
“Millionaire Matchmaker”
More reasons to find a good partner: lower heart disease!
“Princeton Mom” Susan Patton: “Marry Smart” not so smart
“Blue Valentine”
“All the Taken Men are Best” – why women poach married men….
“Marriage Rate Lowest in a Century”
Making Divorce Hard to Strengthen Marriages?
Student Loan Debt: Problems in Divorce
“The Upside of ‘Marrying Down’”
The High Cost of Divorce
Separate Beds Save Marriages?
Marital Discord Linked to Depression
Marriage Contracts: Give People More Legal Options
Older Couples Avoiding Marriage For Financial Reasons
Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Vox Charts Millennial Marriage Depression
What’s the Matter with Marriage?
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
Constant Arguing Can Be Deadly…
“If a fraught relationship significantly shortens your life, are you better off alone?
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
“It’s up there with ‘Men Are From Mars’ and ‘The Road Less Travelled’”
Free Love, eHarmony, Matchmaking Pseudoscience
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
“The New ‘I Do’”
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Mark Manson’s “Six Healthy Relationship Habits”
“The Science of Happily Ever After” – Couples Communications
Free Dating Sites: Which Have Attachment Type Screening?
Dating Pool Danger: Harder to Find Good Partners After 30
Mate-Seeking: The Science of Finding Your Best Partner
Perfect Soulmates or Fellow Travelers: Being Happy Depends on Perspective
No Marriage, Please: Cohabiting Taking Over
“Marriage Markets” – Marriage Beyond Our Means?
Rules for Relationships: Realism and Empathy
Limerence vs. Love
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
When to Break Up or Divorce? The Economic View
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
“Sliding” Into Marriage, Small Weddings Associated with Poor Outcomes
Subconscious Positivity Predicts Marriage Success…
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)

Marital Discord Linked to Depression

CoupleFighting600x396

Studies generally agree that a happy marriage lowers stress and confers long-term health advantages. On the other hand, an unhappy or stressful relationship may be worse than living alone. This study from University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers demonstrates a link between marital discord and a tendency toward depression, as the burnt-out stress system is also less activated by positive thoughts and experiences.

Which tells us what we already knew: having as your closest partner someone who constantly stresses you out is very bad for you, while the right sort of partner reduces your stress level and increases happiness. Now we wait for the study on how to improve contentious relationships!

More on Divorce, Marriage, and Mateseeking

Marriages Happening Late, Are Good for You
Monogamy and Relationship Failure; “Love Illuminated”
“Millionaire Matchmaker”
More reasons to find a good partner: lower heart disease!
“Princeton Mom” Susan Patton: “Marry Smart” not so smart
“Blue Valentine”
“All the Taken Men are Best” – why women poach married men….
“Marriage Rate Lowest in a Century”
Making Divorce Hard to Strengthen Marriages?
Student Loan Debt: Problems in Divorce
“The Upside of ‘Marrying Down’”
The High Cost of Divorce
Separate Beds Save Marriages?
Marital Discord Linked to Depression
Marriage Contracts: Give People More Legal Options
Older Couples Avoiding Marriage For Financial Reasons
Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Vox Charts Millennial Marriage Depression
What’s the Matter with Marriage?
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
Constant Arguing Can Be Deadly…
“If a fraught relationship significantly shortens your life, are you better off alone?
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
“It’s up there with ‘Men Are From Mars’ and ‘The Road Less Travelled’”
Free Love, eHarmony, Matchmaking Pseudoscience
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
“The New ‘I Do’”
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Mark Manson’s “Six Healthy Relationship Habits”
“The Science of Happily Ever After” – Couples Communications
Free Dating Sites: Which Have Attachment Type Screening?
Dating Pool Danger: Harder to Find Good Partners After 30
Mate-Seeking: The Science of Finding Your Best Partner
Perfect Soulmates or Fellow Travelers: Being Happy Depends on Perspective
No Marriage, Please: Cohabiting Taking Over
“Marriage Markets” – Marriage Beyond Our Means?
Rules for Relationships: Realism and Empathy
Limerence vs. Love
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
When to Break Up or Divorce? The Economic View
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
“Sliding” Into Marriage, Small Weddings Associated with Poor Outcomes
Subconscious Positivity Predicts Marriage Success…
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)

Separate Beds Save Marriages?

Lucy-Desi

Well, maybe not. But it could certainly help some.

The world seems to be split between spooners and people who don’t sleep well snuggled up, either because it’s too warm or they need to move around more in their sleep. The world is also split between snorers and non-snorers, and the rate of snoring tends to rise with age, so your wonderful husband or wife may have put on a few pounds and entered the snoring category over time.

Heavy snoring edges into sleep apnea — where the airways or so obstructed breathing actually stops several times a minute. If your partner seems to stop breathing then recover with a jerk several time a minute, you should encourage them to see a sleep specialist — apnea is life-shortening and can cause dangerous daytime drowsiness.

Having separate beds or even separate bedrooms, if you can afford it, are excellent ways to improve sleep quality for both partners. Many people have this arrangement already, but it is still not socially acceptable.

I was reminded of this by this article in Slate:

So what’s holding me back from selling our king mattress and ordering two twins? Society! Mention separate beds today and most people assume marital troubles.

“In our culture, sharing a bed is a sign of intimacy, and it could also be a barometer of the health of the relationship,” sleep expert Dr. Anne D. Bartolucci told me when I called her for backup. “Falling asleep in the company of another person puts you in a very vulnerable position, and it shows a certain amount of trust. There’s a reason that ‘sleeping with’ someone is one of our expressions for sex. Also, it’s a bonding experience, and it’s been shown that couples who share a bed communicate better and experience other benefits like increased levels of oxytocin, which can reduce inflammation.”

I don’t suffer from inflammation. I do suffer from bad sleep. And chronic bad sleep, according to Bartolucci, has been shown to increase the likelihood of stroke and heart attacks. It makes people more susceptible to developing not only health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure but also conditions like obesity that increase the risk of major health issues. It also contributes to or exacerbates psychiatric problems like anxiety, depression, and attention deficient hyperactivity disorder. Why must we risk these things just to prove to ourselves that we are happy couples? Separate beds means better sleep, which in turn can produce healthier spouses and a happier marriage. I rest my case.

Though when I gingerly mentioned this theory to my husband and he agreed with me, I did feel a tiny bit hurt.

More on Divorce, Marriage, and Mateseeking

Marriages Happening Late, Are Good for You
Monogamy and Relationship Failure; “Love Illuminated”
“Millionaire Matchmaker”
More reasons to find a good partner: lower heart disease!
“Princeton Mom” Susan Patton: “Marry Smart” not so smart
“Blue Valentine”
“All the Taken Men are Best” – why women poach married men….
“Marriage Rate Lowest in a Century”
Making Divorce Hard to Strengthen Marriages?
Student Loan Debt: Problems in Divorce
“The Upside of ‘Marrying Down’”
The High Cost of Divorce
Separate Beds Save Marriages?
Marital Discord Linked to Depression
Marriage Contracts: Give People More Legal Options
Older Couples Avoiding Marriage For Financial Reasons
Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Vox Charts Millennial Marriage Depression
What’s the Matter with Marriage?
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
Constant Arguing Can Be Deadly…
“If a fraught relationship significantly shortens your life, are you better off alone?
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
“It’s up there with ‘Men Are From Mars’ and ‘The Road Less Travelled’”
Free Love, eHarmony, Matchmaking Pseudoscience
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
“The New ‘I Do’”
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Mark Manson’s “Six Healthy Relationship Habits”
“The Science of Happily Ever After” – Couples Communications
Free Dating Sites: Which Have Attachment Type Screening?
Dating Pool Danger: Harder to Find Good Partners After 30
Mate-Seeking: The Science of Finding Your Best Partner
Perfect Soulmates or Fellow Travelers: Being Happy Depends on Perspective
No Marriage, Please: Cohabiting Taking Over
“Marriage Markets” – Marriage Beyond Our Means?
Rules for Relationships: Realism and Empathy
Limerence vs. Love
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
When to Break Up or Divorce? The Economic View
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
“Sliding” Into Marriage, Small Weddings Associated with Poor Outcomes
Subconscious Positivity Predicts Marriage Success…
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)