In this fun and light-hearted story for Ted.com, writer Jenna McCarthy talks about how happy marriages work, based on research findings. One piece of advice is to not try to win an Oscar for Best Actress.
Every year, in the US alone, 2,077,000 couples make the legal and spiritual decision to spend the rest of their lives together and not sleep with anyone else, ever.
He buys a ring, she buys a wedding dress. They go shopping for all sorts of things. She takes him to dance lessons. And then comes the big day. They will stand before God and family and some guy with whom her father used to do business, and vow that nothing, not utter poverty, not deadly disease, not utter and utter misery, will diminish them in the least.their eternal love and affection.
These optimistic young fools promise to respect and appreciate each other through the “hot flashes” of mid-life crisis, and accumulated 20 extra pounds until that distant day when one of them will finally be able to rest in peace. You know, because he can’t hear the snoring anymore. Then he will get terribly drunk, smear cake on each other’s faces and play “Macarena”, and we’ll be there to shower them with towels and toasters, drink their free drinks and sprinkle them with cereal, and so on every time, even though we know that, according to statistics, half of them will divorce within the next decade.
Of course the other half won’t, right? They will continue to forget anniversaries and argue about where to spend the holidays and which way the toilet paper should come off the roll. And some of them will continue to enjoy the company of partners, even when neither can chew solid food.
And researchers want to know why. I mean, look, it doesn’t take a double blind placebo study to figure out why a marriage doesn’t work. Disrespect, boredom, too much time spent on Facebook, sleeping with other people. But you can have the complete opposite of those things—respect, excitement, intermittent Internet connection, mind-numbing monogamy—and things can go to hell again.
So what happens when it doesn’t? What do people have in common who end up lying next to each other in the ground. What are they doing right? What can we learn from them?
And if you’re still happy sleeping alone, why should you stop and dedicate your life to finding that one special someone? that you can annoy for the rest of your life?
Well, researchers have spent billions of dollars trying to figure it out. They stalk happy couples and study their every move and behavior. And they try to determine exactly what makes them different from their desperate neighbors and friends. And so it turns out that success stories share a few similarities, except that they don’t sleep with other people.
Obviously, right? Obviously, this leads to prosperity in marriage because we women take a lot of care about our weight and appearance, while men are mostly interested in sex…most often with women who are thinner and look better than them.
However, the beauty of this research is that no one is saying that women need to be thin to be happy, we just need to be thinner than our partners. So instead of all those strenuous diets and exercises, we just have to wait for them to gain weight, and maybe bake a pie. This is good to know, and it’s not that complicated.
For example, a happy woman. Instead of pointing out her husband’s growing belly or suggesting he go for a run, she can say,“Wow, honey, thank you for trying that I look relatively thinner.” There are couples who can find the good in every situation. “Yeah, it was terrible when we lost everything to the fire, but it’s kind of nice to sleep here under the stars, and it’s great that you have all that fat to keep us warm.”
We really need a study to show us that. But here’s what’s going on. The more attractive he is to her, the more sex there will be; the more sex they have, the nicer he will be to her; the nicer he is to her, the less she grumbles at him about leaving wet towels on the bed, which finally leads to them living happily ever after. In other words, men, you could do a little work on the housework.
This is a real study, and let me clarify. The researchers did not look for documented statements about a happy childhood, nor did they study old diaries. The data was formed based on whether people seemed happy in those photos. I don’t know how old you are, but when I was a child, my parents took photos with a special apparatus that contained something called film, and by God, film was expensive. We couldn’t take 300 photos in that fast digital way of working and then choose the most beautiful one, with the biggest smile, for the Christmas card. No no. They would dress you up, line you up, and you would laugh into the fucking machine like they told you to, or you could say goodbye to the birthday party. But still, I have a huge pile, fake-happy pictures from my childhood, and I’m glad that, according to them, I have less chance than some people to get divorced.
I’m serious. Betty Davis, Joan Crawford, Halle Berry, Hilary Swank, Sandra Bullock, Reese Witherspoon, they were all left alone shortly after taking home that statue. They actually call it the curse of the Oscars. It is the kiss of death for a marriage and something that should be avoided.
And it’s not that they successfully played roles in movies that is dangerous. It turns out that just watching a romantic comedy leads to a drastic drop in relationship satisfaction.
The obvious, resentful realization that maybe it could happen to us, but apparently hasn’t and probably won’t, makes our lives seem unbearably bleak compared to theirs. And in theory, I suppose if we pick a movie where someone is brutally murdered or dies in an exploding car accident, we’re more likely to walk out of the theater feeling like what we got is pretty good.
That. I can’t tell you much more about that one because I stopped reading after the title.
But here’s a scary one: Divorce is contagious. That’s right – when your close friend breaks up, your chances of getting divorced increase by 75%.
I have to admit that I don’t understand this one at all. My husband and I we’ve watched a lot of our friends share their possessions, then struggle to be single at our age in the era of sexting and viagra and dating sites. I think they did more for my marriage than a lifetime of therapy could.
Now you may be wondering, why does anyone ever get married? Well, the United States federal government lists more than a thousand legal benefits when you become someone’s spouse—a list that includes prison visitation rights, but hopefully you won’t need it.
We are healthier, physically and emotionally. We create happier, more stable and successful children. We have more sex than our supposedly promiscuous single friends, believe it or not. We’re even living longer, which is a pretty compelling argument for marrying someone you like a lot in and of itself.
If you’re not currently experiencing the joy of doing your taxes together, I can’t tell you how to find a housekeeper who’s about the ideal size and attractiveness, who prefers horror movies and doesn’t have many friends teetering on the edge of divorce, but I can only encourage you to try it, because the benefits, as I presented, are significant. The bottom line is, whether you’re married or still looking, I believe that marriage is an institution worth striving for and protecting. So I hope you will use the information I have given you today to measure your personal strength against your own risk factors.
For example, my marriage, I would say it’s going well. On the one hand, I have a husband who is irritatingly reliable and incredibly handsome. So obviously I’m going to have to grow it. And like I said, we have those divorced friends, who may be secretly or subconsciously trying to separate us. I’ll have to pay attention to the do. We love a cocktail. On the other hand, I have fake-happy pictures. Also, my husband does a lot around the house, and would love to never watch another romantic comedy for the rest of his life.
Those things work to my advantage. But just in case, I plan to work extra hard not to win an Oscar in the near future. And for the sake of your relationships, I encourage you to do the same. See you at the bar.
Source: Sito&Rešeto by www.sitoireseto.com.
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