Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Service of Inquiring Minds

Thursday, August 4th, 2022

I suspect the wood planks are heavy and could easily make someone lose balance as they reach for each.

I’ve previously isolated questions in posts even though I end each with at least one.

These people take my breath away.

I started with two in 2016–“Service of Questions” and “Service of Why.” A smattering: Why do mothers give their toddlers in strollers tablets to stare at when there’s so much to see on a walk and why do telemarketers hire people who mumble? 

In 2019 in “Service of Questions—Does Google Have All the Answers?” I asked a few more such as how commuters in cars in the New York metro area fill their time in traffic for as long as 90 minutes? How do pet owners of moderate means afford vet bills when they have more than one?

Here are more that I’ve thought of recently:

  • How come the rise in interest rates seem to impact borrowers immediately but not those with garden variety bank savings accounts? I asked a random customer service person at a bank branch. He said CDs will reflect the interest rate change first and that it will take a few months for anything to kick in for savings accounts. Hmmmm.
  • I marvel at people who work in precarious situations and have snapped shots of some. Is being fearless like this something you can acclimate yourself to?
  • Why is the weather forecast on my iPhone so consistently wrong lately especially when it comes to predicting rain?
  • Why do people glorify a deceased spouse when for years they confided the person had made their life miserable?
  • Why don’t I recall hearing, years ago, about such breathtakingly horrific forest fires as now in the West and in Europe?

What random questions do you have? Any answers to mine?

Climbing on an off this ladder is the definition of precarious

Service of Opposites Attract When it Comes to Being on Time

Monday, May 23rd, 2022

I’ve written previously about tardiness in a post that claimed that running late was good for your health and in one that compared being late before and after mobile phones. Today I’ve chosen a different approach.

As I waited for a friend outside the restaurant Forty Carrots at Bloomingdale’s in Manhattan I took a look at the luggage in the adjacent department. Biding my time I picked up a tag which I couldn’t read without my glasses. Seeing my apparent interest a salesman approached and after I established that I was killing time we began to chat about whether we always arrived on time or were chronically late. I’d already concluded that half of many couples were either/or and the other the opposite. This causes friction and illustrates the adage that opposites attract. He admitted he was the one who was on time and his wife was the late one.

My husband was a last minute person and often late and I’d go nuts waiting for him and running late as a result. To save my sanity, when he’d ask I’d move back the departure time on our yearly trips abroad so I could relax as we sat helpless in airport traffic. I so disliked being late that I’d misstate the time for dinner invitations too. In retrospect, I would tolerate this maddening habit of his if I could share his life a few more years.

Some friends relate similar time discrepancies with their significant others although a cousin said that she and her husband were both on time. She remembered her father-in-law who was late to all social events–dinner in his home even if he was already in the house.

Do you share a timeline with close friends and family members or do you clash? Do you subscribe to the saying about opposites attracting?

Service of Why Women Stress Over Maintaining a Tidy Home

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

I drove my husband nuts when I’d tidy the apartment before a trip lest the plane crash and family and friends, clearing out the place, think I was a crummy housekeeper. When our house was for sale, I’d scour every inch when strangers I’d never meet viewed it.

Claire Cain Miller addressed probably why my husband didn’t care and why I stressed about it: the condition of where we lived reflected only on me.

The headline of her New York Times article was: “Why Women, but Not Men, Are Judged for a Messy House– They’re still held to a higher social standard, which explains why they’re doing so much housework, studies show.”

Miller didn’t address something just as important to me: I like returning to a neat and clean home if I’ve been away at work for a few hours or on a trip.

Miller wrote: “Even in 2019, messy men are given a pass and messy women are unforgiven. Three recently published studies confirm what many women instinctively know: Housework is still considered women’s work — especially for women who are living with men.”

One of three studies concluded: “Socially, women — but not men — are judged negatively for having a messy house and undone housework.

“The additional time that women spend on unpaid household labor is a root of gender inequality — it influences how men and women relate at home, and how much time women spend on paid work.” She reported that according to Department of Labor stats “women spend 2.3 hours a day on house tasks, and men spend 1.4 hours.”

Indoor chores are mostly women’s and outdoor ones–more weekly than daily–are men’s. Men who live where there are no lawns to mow or cars to wash don’t pick up additional indoor tasks she reported.

“When participants” in a study where 624 people were shown photos of either messy or neat rooms, “were told that a woman occupied the clean room, it was judged as less clean than when a man occupied it, and she was thought to be less likely to be viewed positively by visitors and less comfortable with visitors.” Respondents were harder on messy men, concluding that they were lazy slobs.

“But there was a key difference: Unlike for women, participants said messy men were not likely to be judged by visitors or feel uncomfortable having visitors over.” My first husband had an aunt who, I was told, washed her kitchen floor as often as two to three times a day. I never dared invite her.

Miller interviewed one psychologist who said many women thought “‘I should relieve my husband of burdens’ — it’s so automatic.’”

You’d think that these days when both parents work and fathers help with chores their sons will spend more time doing them as adults. “So far,” wrote Miller, “what we know about the next generation is that girls are doing less housework. But boys aren’t doing that much more.”

My boss in one job said that if her wastebaskets were empty she considered her home was ready for company. And you? If you live with someone, how do you divide the chores? Do you feel that women are on the hot seat where keeping a home tidy is concerned and that men are off the hook? Does such thinking impact dynamics at work?

Service of Listening to Your Heart, Social Pressures Be Damned

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

I kept Lesley M.M. Blume’s article, “The Woman Who Said No,” which was part of the Commitment series—165 Years of Love (and War)–in The New York Times’s wedding announcement section in Sunday Styles, because the woman, Mary Landon Baker, 1900-1961, was a pioneer. She didn’t cave to convention even though she had plenty of opportunities: Sixty five marriage proposals, supposedly, wrote Blume, yet the Chicagoan never married.

In the day, some postulated that she was shy.

She couldn’t have been lonely with all that company. It didn’t hurt that she was an “international catch.” Her father, Alfred Baker who left her a fortune when she was 27, “suggested to a reporter that she was simply having too delectable a time playing the field to settle down.” Baker later “confessed ‘I have never been in love.’”

Blume listed some of her fiancés as “an English Lord, an Irish prince, a Spaniard of means,” and a Yugoslav diplomat. She left Alistair McCormick at the alter three times. [He ended up marrying someone else in London.]

Blume wrote: “We will probably never know Miss Baker’s motives in marionetting her suitors, but we do know this: She was never in need of spousal support.” Blume was referring to her fortune. “She had security; she had status. Mary Landon Baker wasn’t ‘shy.’ Rather, she was free.”

In “Love and Marriage,” D’Vera Cohn wrote in 2013 on “Among married people, 93% say love is a very important reason to get married; 84% of unmarried people say so. Men and women are equally likely to say love is a very important reason to get married.” Other reasons married people say they got married included making a lifelong commitment, 87%; companionship 81% and having children 59%.

Do you think seeking financial security has a lot to do with why people marry in this country today? What priorities do you give love, lifelong commitment, companionship,  having children–or something else?

Service of Couples Therapy

Monday, April 11th, 2016

We enjoy “Doc Martin,” a program about the socially crippled but bright small town physician Martin Ellingham played magnificently by Martin Clunes. The drama takes place in a charming fictitious village, Portwenn, which is really the scenic Port Isaac in Cornwall. The Doc falls in love with the town school headmistress Louisa Glasson—the actor Caroline Catz–and after a few false starts they marry [Photo below, right]. Married life with the misfit doc isn’t easy, they separate and of late the doc and Louisa took their marriage to a couples therapist whom they fired just as she came to tell them she was taking a break and leaving town. The therapist wished them “good luck” in a sarcastic tone filled with insincerity and doubt.

Dr. William J. Doherty, interviewed by Elizabeth Bernstein for her Wall Street Journal article, “What a Marriage Therapist Really Thinks,” wouldn’t approve of the therapist’s overt pessimism about the future of their marriage. Dr. Doherty told Bernstein: “Therapists differ widely in how much hope they carry for deeply troubled couples. A lot of therapists, particularly those who do some marital therapy but aren’t experts, do a history and say to themselves: ‘This marriage will never last.’”

In addition the St. Paul, Minn.-based marriage and family therapist told Bernstein: “It is almost like a spiritual discipline to monitor my internal side-taking. One of the things I tell myself is there is always more to the story. The other thing is that in most marriages when people are showing their angry, frustrated side, those are hard feelings. There are usually soft feelings under that: helplessness and vulnerability. When someone is acting out harsh feelings, it is my job to keep in mind that there is something soft they’re not expressing.”

The family therapist says it’s a mistake to take sides and/or gang up against husband or wife as tempting as it might be. He wants each party to recognize their “contribution to the marital problems.”

He also shared: “A good question to ask your therapist is: ‘How many couples do you see who are successful?’ The answer you are looking for is ‘the great majority.’ The answer that should make you run for the hills is: ‘It depends on how you define success. For some, divorce is successful.’ This is the response of a neutral therapist who doesn’t have a stake in helping you stay together and being happy. You wouldn’t want an oncologist who says: ‘A lot of people die. Some live.’”

Doherty, who has been married over 40 years, never tells a couple that therapy isn’t working. He first wants to know what they think. He observed that “people idealize a therapist’s marriage. I tell couples that every married couple has two to three chronic problems that never go away. You learn to live with them more graciously and don’t let them hurt you as much.”

Of note: the word “love” didn’t once crop up in the article. Can you imagine why? Do you think that a business partnership or a team leader with warring staffers might pick up some pointers from such a practical, experienced couples therapist?



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