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Articles from July 2008

July 30, 2008

Why Be Married? For Protection Against Alzheimer's

More evidence today that being married may protect us against Alzheimer's Disease or a less serious loss of cognitive abilities.

This comes from Krister Hakansson of Sweden in a report to the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease today. The study looks at more than 1,400 people in Finland over a 21-year period from middle-aged to over 65.

Among those who carried a gene associated with Alzheimer's, the ones who were married when the study began fared much better than those who were widowed or divorced then.

Too Many Expectations in Marriage - a Universal Problem

"Divorces are mainly caused by too many expectations from the spouse."

Shabana Azmi, actress, activist, and Member of the Indian Parliament's upper house (the Rajya Sabha), said this Monday at the opening of a premartial counseling center in India's capital.

Although Azmi spoke of Delhi's mostly arranged marriages, she could have been talking about marriages in the U.S., too.

We fear lowering our expectations. None of us wants to be taken advantage of. However, marriage succeeds best when we expect love and little more. Our laundry lists of how we ought to be loved just get in the way of being loved.

July 29, 2008

Married and Bored? Don't Talk about It

This morning, I read a newspaper columnist's response to a woman who's become bored with her 19-year marriage. The woman can't see any way out of her boredom except to divorce. Unfortunately (or perhaps very fortunately), she could afford to divorce only if she wins the lottery or lands a rich boyfriend, because they are in debt.

The columnist suggested she talk to her husband, so she can discover he's bored, too. I was flabbergasted. Talking about boredom is BORING! And it seldom leads to excitement.

She could, instead, assume love. Why would someone terrific who loves you fiercely bore you? Here are some possibilities:

  • You've put the job of keeping your life interesting on his shoulders, and he hasn't any better idea than you do what might entertain you. Take back this job. Try new things. Get excited about life, and your husband will almost certainly look a lot more exciting.

  • He's tried to regain your interest, but you've been unreceptive, perhaps complaining about the cost or the time it takes. You never noticed the love you were being offered, and he felt you rejected it.

  • He's trying his best to interact with you in the way he believes you like best. Perhaps your tastes have changed, but you haven't let him know this.

  • He's struggling way too hard at something else, like getting out of debt or banking enough for retirement or winning some competition. Once you figure out what it is, you may be able to inject excitement and closeness by pitching in on his project.

  • Somewhere along the way, he handed you responsibility for keeping your sex life interesting, and you have run out of ideas. There are lots of people to ask and books to read for more suggestions. Or you could simply ask him to come up with one and give it a willing try.

  • You have stopped asking the interested questions you asked while you were dating, so he's stopped looking interesting. You may think you already know all about him, but he has been changing and growing and might seem utterly fascinating if you met him today. Pretend you just met and see what happens.

The purpose of assuming love is to come up with a list of explanations like this. Trigger your memory by moving your thinking away from the problem and back to the core of your relationship.

While assuming love, you can imagine the most saintly spouse in the universe loving the world's most loveable person in the same way your spouse is loving you. Just explain how this could happen.

Keep adding to the list until you suddenly get the "aha!" that jogs your memory and points the way toward a fix for the two of you. Or keep going until you realize there are more OK explanations than bad ones for what is happening, and you get the "Ahhh" that makes everything fine again. Only if you come up empty handed should you even consider ending your marriage.

Nineteen years of shared history offers more richness than any new relationship could. As long as you two still harbor some love for each other, a really great marriage remains within your reach.

July 14, 2008

From the First Anniversary to the Fiftieth

In today's Seattle Times, marriage advice from seven siblings, all of whom have been married to the same husband or wife for fifty years.

  • Faith

  • Eat together

  • A lot of give and take

  • Family time

  • Stay in touch with close relatives

  • Humor

  • Good cooking

  • Accept each other's idiosyncrasies

How do you manage that give and take? How do you accept each other's idiosyncracies? How do you find the humor in tough situations, like the ones all of them have faced in recent years? Assume love, expect love, and look for third alternatives.

July 12, 2008

Married? Busy? Take Your Spouse's Calls

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino says her predecessor, Tony Snow, "was the inspiration for her 2008 New Year's resolution, which was always to take her husband's telephone calls, no matter how busy she was at work," according to tomorrow's New York Times.

Tony Snow died today of colon cancer, at age 53, leaving a wife and three children it's evident he cared for deeply, and some great advice for all of us.

Why Be Married? For the Family

I've always thought it wonderful that when I married, I married into a family. Both my husbands' families are now part of my extended family. When my son married eight years ago, my family grew again. In a couple of weeks, I'll get to meet his mother-in-law and father-in-law, who live in India, in person for the first time. I can't wait. We share a couple of adorable grandkids who stand at the ready to translate for us.

When people marry expecting they'll divorce if it doesn't work out, I always wonder how they can be so cavalier about the rest of their extended family. Some manage to stay connected to their new family after divorce, but not many. My life would seem so much smaller without my California-Florida-Pennsylvania-Ohio-Texas-Ontario-Saudi Arabia-India family arms. They are a wonderful part of being married.

July 1, 2008

My Spouse Acts Like He (She) Hates Me!

My article,
My Spouse Acts Like He (She) Hates Me!
When You No Longer Feel Loved,
in the Summer issue of Going Bonkers? The self-help magazine with a sense of humor, will be in bookstores on July 3rd.

Which bookstores? Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-a-Million, Hastings Books, and independent bookstores like Doylestown Bookshop. Some outlets may not carry the magazine, and some may run out, so please ask a sales clerk if you have any trouble locating a copy.

It looks like a really great issue, with 29 feature articles on relationships, motivation, personality disorders, getting unstuck, and more, plus lots of shorter pieces and cartoons. Mine is the lead article on the cover, in case you want to look for it.

The Author

Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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