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How Marriage Affects Your
Cost of Love
Finally a fair way to
How Marriage Affects Your
Genuine wedded bliss can bring health benefits.
On the positive side, a healthy marriage can inspire healthier living. Here are three ways saying I do can do wonders for your well-being:
1. Improves your heart health
A nationwide study of patients of all ages found that married people are less likely to develop heart disease than those who are single, divorced or widowed. Spouses had a lower risk of a heart attack or stroke, regardless of their age or gender. Even married people with other risk factorssuch as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and obesityshowed a lower rate of heart disease. The reason, say researchers, is people in happy, committed relationships experience less stress and conflict in their everyday lives.
2. Increases survival rates for illness or surgery
Marriage wont reduce your chances of getting cancer; however, it could affect your long-term prognosis and survival rate. Patients who are in a committed relationship when their cancer is diagnosed have a better survival rate than patients who are divorced or separated from their partners. In fact, a study found that among people diagnosed with cancer, the disease was more likely to be farther advanced for singles at the time of diagnosis, while married people were more likely to be diagnosed at an earlier stage.
Similarly, happily married patients who have coronary bypass surgery are more than three times as likely to live 15 years longer than unmarried patients, according to a University of Rochester study. Researchers speculate that married patients are more likely than single patients to receive treatment, visit their doctor regularly, and eat a healthier diet because of the support and encouragement of their spouse or partner.
3. Increases emotional resilience
People in committed relationships are more likely to be happier, have higher self-esteem, feel greater life satisfaction, and experience less stress or depression than people who arent in a romantic relationship, a Cornell University study found. Researchers say having a dependable partner helps people feel less isolated and better able to manage outside stressors.
A walk down the aisle doesnt necessarily put you on the path to better health. If your relationship with your partner is difficult, stressful or unfulfilling, you may be at risk for different health challenges than if you were single.
Research shows that couples in ambivalent relationshipsin which partners dont consistently support or act positively towards each otherare more likely to experience health problems associated with stress.
Couples in unhappy marriages experience higher blood pressure than those in supportive marriages, according to a study by Brigham Young University. Over time, marital conflict and stress can lead to a greater risk for heart disease including heart attacks, heart failure, and hardening of the arteries.
Additionally, couples who regularly fight reduce their bodies ability to fight infections. An Ohio State University study showed that spouses who insulted each other, made sarcastic or dismissive statements toward each other, or were overtly nasty to each other had a weakened immune system, making them more susceptible to illness, compared with couples who behaved positively and lovingly toward each other.
If youre having difficulty with your spouse or
partner, consider seeking the help of a counselor,
psychologist or even your physician. It could be the best
thing you do for your marriageand your health.
Is getting married really the secret to happiness?
A new study of 8,700 Americans, who were interviewed every year for ten years, found that single women had a similar increase in emotional health whether they moved in with their partner or if they got married, and these findings held true for second marriages/live-in partners as well. (Why didn't they make a comment about how men felt? Reason, maybe, is that marriage and laws provide extra benefits for women, especially non-working women that are seldom there for men. Men suddenly become financially responsible for women which takes some of the burden off of women to participate equally in providing for the benefit of the couple. The Editor)
This is news: up until the 1990s, studies showed that
marriage provided a far bigger emotional boost than moving
in together without marrying. This study indicates that
marriage isn't as necessary as it once was for social
support and companionship, and that living together outside
of wedlock doesn't carry as much social stigma as it once
The law contains many unexpected surprises. (Editor: Proposed laws regarding "Informed Consent" before marriage have failed numerous times in the California legislature. It is clear, there is a large segment of the women's movement that doesn't want men to have a clear picture of what they are commiting to.) Let the betrothed beware!
Note: The majority of this information comes from the Family Code book of California. Your state probably varies on many points. This is meant as a guide only. Laws change daily. To get the latest information, contact your divorce lawyer or purchase a copy of the Family Code from your state.
A man and woman about to be married are at the lowest level common sense about making a legal contract that they will be in their entire lives. They are in love.
They are full of happy dreams, mutual delusions and inaccurate expectations of what lies ahead. The sobering unfortunate fact is that one out of every two marriages will end in divorce.
Since all of one's future earnings and acquisitions are at stake, the marriage contract is legally and financially the most important transaction of one's life. One would expect that the law would guard betrothed citizens and protect them from the harsh consequences of the vulnerable state of love-sickness. But it does not!
Instead it imposes unexpected hidden surprises upon the parties to the marriage contract. Professor Lenore J. Wietzman, in her 1974 article, Legal Regulation of Marriage - Tradition and Change. 62 California Law Review 1169 at 1170 explains that the marriage contract is unlike most contracts"
"It's (the marriage contract) provisions are unwritten, its penalties are unspecified, and the terms of the contract are typically unknown to the the "contracting parties." Prospective spouses are neither informed of the terms of the contract nor are they allowed any options about these terms. In fact, one wonders how many men and women would agree to the marriage contract if they were given the opportunity to read it and to consider their rights and obligations to which they were committing themselves." (emphasis added)
In Maynard v Hill 125 U.S. 204, the Supreme Court said:
"Marriage as creating the most important relation in life,a having more to do with the morals and civilization of a people than any other institution, has always been subject to the control of the legislature. That body prescribes the age at which parties may contract to marry, the procedure or form essential to constitute marriage, the duties and obligations it creates, its effect upon the property rights of both, present and prospective, and the acts which may constitute grounds for its dissolution." (emphasis added)
Every prospective husband and wife in California needs to know what happens legally after they get married. The Court further said:
"The consent of the parties is of course essential to its existence, but when the contract to marry is executed by the marriage, a relation between the parties is created which they cannot change. Other contracts may be modified, restricted, enlarged or entirely released upon the consent of the parties. Not so with marriage.
"The relation once formed, the law steps in and holds the parties to various obligations and liabilities. It is an institution, the maintenance of which in its purity the public s deeply interested for it is the foundation of the family and of society; without which there would neither be civilization nor progress." (emphasis added)
That is a large coercive power for the State to have over two individuals who decide to get married, effecting a simple partnership.
Marriage is a civil contract under the law (Family Code 300) but unlike other contracts, there's no remedy for a breach of this contract.
A. A spouse can do no work in the house and no work outside the home without legal penalty.
B. A spouse can refuse to have sex with his or her spouse once the marriage is consummated (consummation means having sex one time after the marriage ceremony).
The "rights" to sex in marriage are not enforceable in any court.
A federal judge stated the reason most clearly:
"If (married persons) were permitted to regular by private contract where the parties are to live and whether the husband is to work or be supported by his wife, there would seem to be no reason why married persons could not contract as to the allowance the husband or wife may receive, the number of dresses she may have, the places where they will spend their evenings and vacations, and innumerable other aspects of their personal relationships.
"Such right would open endless field for controversy and bickering and would destroy the element of flexibility needed in making adjustments to new conditions arising in marital life...the objection is putting such conduct into a binding contract, tying the parties' hands in the future and inviting controversy and litigation between them"
Graham v Graham 33 F. Supp. 936 939
(Eastern District of Michigan, 1940)
C. A spouse can have sex with as many other persons as he or she pleases without legal consequences, either during the marriage or at the time of divorce.
California codes make the lack of remedy clear. Adultery is no longer of legal concern.
California Civil Code 42.5 states:
"No cause of action arises for:
a) alienation of affection
b) criminal conversation (e.g.: sexual intercourse)
c) seduction of a person over the age of legal consent..."
Family Code 2335 states:
"In a...proceeding for legal separation or dissolution of marriage...evidence of specific acts of misconduct shall be improper and inadmissible..."
Adultery is therefore not only inadmissible as evidence; it is improper even to mention the fact of adultery in a divorce case.
D. The non-working spouse can get credit cards and run up huge bills without your knowledge or consent.
Even if you are the sole source of money in your household, your non-working spouse can make contracts, get numerous credit cards, incur bills, and use your earnings to meet those obligations.
Civil Code 1812.30 (a):
"No person, regardless of marital status, shall be denied credit in his or her own name if the earnings...over which he or she has management and control are such that a person of the opposite sex managing and controlling the same amount of earnings...would receive credit."
Family Code 1100:
"...either spouse has the management and control of the community personal property..."
This includes your earnings!
Family Code 910:
"...the community property is liable for a debt incurred by either spouse before or during marriage, regardless which spouse has the management and control of the property and regardless whether one or both spouses are parties to the debt or to a judgment for the debt."
If you have worked hard, paid your bills or time and developed a good credit rating, the addition of a spouse with poor credit, spendthrift ways and a total disregard for budgeting can spell disaster to a marriage and your credit.
Family Code 760:
"...all property real or personal wherever acquired by a married person while domiciled in this state is community property..."
Family Code 751:
"The respective interests of the husband and wife in community property...are present existing and equal interests."
The law indeed contains some surprises for the married person. One surprise is the California community property system. This law is based on a fixed assumption that supplies immediately to all spouses the instant they enter a legal marriage.
The fixed assumption (no matter what the truth may be) is that each spouse contributes in his or her own way with honest, good faith effort to the success of the marital partnership so that each spouse is entitled to and legally owns one-half of whatever the other spouse earns.
In the 1859 California Supreme Court case, Meyer v Kinzer, 12 C 247, the Court states at page 251:
"These provisions of the statute are borrowed from the Spanish law...The statute proceeds upon the theory that the marriage, in respect to property acquired during its existence, is a community of which each spouse is a member, equally contribution by his or her industry to its prosperity, and possess an equal right to succeed to the property after dissolution in case of surviving the other...No form of transfer or mere intent of parties can overcome this positive rule of law. All property is community property except that owned previous to marriage or subsequently acquired in a particular way. The presumption therefore attending the possession of property by wither is that it belongs to the community; expectations to the rule must be proved." (emphasis added)
Unfortunately, some spouses choose not to work either in the home or outside the home. These non-working spouses get a full one-half anyway.
F. You must get your spouse's prior written consent for many transactions.
Your spouse is a full partner with full and equal management powers of your earnings and acquisition. Therefore, under Family Code 1100 you MUST:
1. Get your spouse's prior written consent before you quit your job, since a job involves earnings, pensions, medical benefits and vacation pay.
2. Get your spouse's prior written consent before you gamble, put money in the California Lottery, buy a bicycle for your son, or buy jewelry for your mother.
3. If you fail to get prior written consent, your spouse can sue you during your marriage for your "mismanagement" of community property. Family Code 1101. The practical effect of such a suit on a marriage would have to be one of extreme strain.
G. If this is your spouse's second marriage, beware. The first wife can collect support from the second wife's separate property inheritance. CCP 700.160 (b) (2)
H. If your spouse becomes addicted to drugs, alcohol, or gambling, there is no legal remedy short of divorce.
I. Some men and women are gold diggers. They marry with the conscious intention of getting property and lifelong support from a hardworking or wealthy spouse.
Again, the law provides no remedy for this kind of fraud. In a marriage contract, the law inserts many clauses and surprises which you have not agreed or even considered.
As we have seen, there is no remedy during the marriage for a breach of the marital contract. Divorce does not provide a remedy either.
In a divorce, three things happen:
1. Spousal Support will be ordered. The working or higher earning spouse is ordered to pay Spousal Support to the non-working or lower earning spouse. The amount is usually 40% of the earning spouse's income. How long depends on the length of the marriage. If the marriage lasted over seven years, the earning spouse MUST pay the dependent spouse until the dependent spouse dies or remarries! This often means for life! There is no legal way out. Are you surprised? (The shortest amount of time of any "job" to get a lifetime pension.)
The dependent spouse gets Spousal Support as a matter of right regardless of whether the dependent spouse committed adultery or breached the marital contract in other ways. California requires that upon divorce, division of property and Spousal Support be granted without consideration of fault. Family Code 2335.
2. The property will be divided in addition to your paying Spousal Support. All the property acquired during the marriage will be divided equally, one-half to your spouse, without consideration of fault. The extra surprises are the items the law considers "property." For example:
a. Pensions, stock options, profit sharing plans, life insurance, frequent flyer benefits.
b. Personal injury damages. If you are hurt during marriage and are paid a monetary settlement, the court can award some of it to your spouse even though you suffered the pain and permanent loss of earning capacity. Family Code 2603.
c. Education Benefits. Even if you worked your own way through school and fully supported your spouse, you can be forced to pay to your spouse one-half the money spent on your education plus one-half of the income you could have earned, ha you not gone to school. Family Code 2641
D. Goodwill. If you have a business or profession during marriage, the law says you have "marital goodwill." This means the tendency of old customers to come back. There are no legal or accounting standards to value this "goodwill." Nevertheless, an appraiser will testify that your goodwill has a value; typically at least equal to last year's earnings. You cannot sell it. It may have no value to you. Nevertheless, you will pay to your spouse one-half of what the court finds the value of your goodwill to be, in addition to one-half the value of the "hard" assets such as furniture and accounts receivable.
E. Property that you owned before marriage or inherited. Spouses by reason of "pillow talk," a wish to provide or to show a trust and good faith, often transfer title to that house or cards to the new spouse. You will likely not get these items back at the time of divorce. The last presumes you have made a gift, so you may not get back what was once your very own property. The same is true if you make improvements on your spouse's house.
3. You will be ordered to pay attorney's fees. The earning spouse will be ordered to pay the attorney's fees of the dependent or non-earning spouse. Nowhere is the absence of remedy for break o the marital contract more graphically illustrated than in the law requiring an innocent spouse to pay the attorney's fees of the wrongdoing spouse. Although it is a one-time charge, it is often from $5,000 to $20,000 and it is the most irritating feature of all to the innocent spouse.
(See Premarital Agreements by the same author who wrote Annulment: Your chance to remarry within the Catholic Church.)
For most people, premarital agreements are more about protecting both your assets from the state and greedy divorce lawyers than about protecting a rich spouse from a poor one. California has enacted the Uniform Pre-Marital Agreement Act (Family Code 1600) authorizing an agreement before marriage to be effective upon marriage. The California Supreme Court has upheld the validity of a pre-marital (or prenuptial agreement). Daviey 17 Cal.3d 342.
By such an agreement, betrothed parties can avoid some of the surprises set forth above. (Editor: If she makes statements like "Don't you trust me?" or "You must not love me." be careful. Part of the marriage contract is a business deal, according to law. A woman who can be trusted wouldn't make those kinds of statements and would be interested in bringing clarity about expectations of each party before commitments, verbal, legal or financial have been made.) You and your betrothed can provide:
1. His earnings shall be his separate property and her earnings shall be her separate property. The concept of "community property" can be negated entirely if you wish.
2. Credit limits.
3. Who shall manage what property.
4. Protection from the new spouse from the claims of the former family against the other spouse.
5. Possibly a future Spousal Support waiver, although the courts have not yet ruled on this.
6. Possibly a clause that all property, support and custody disputes shall be settled by private arbitration.
Code of Civil Procedure 1281 states:
"A written agreement to submit to arbitration...a controversy thereafter arising is valid, enforceable and irrevocable..."
7. Possibly a clause requiring each party to pay his/her own attorney's fees.,
Only the court can end the status of marriage, but that can be accomplished separately by what is called "bifurcation," and the divorce as to status only can be obtained by mail on affidavits. Family Code 2336
The problem with pre-marital agreements is that they suggest a lack of trust and thus seem to be inconsistent with the trust that two people about to be married should have. On the other hand, the legal surprises that the law imposes are also inconsistent with the expectations of most couples. Many engagements have been broken because one or the other suggested a premarital agreement.
Nevertheless, we urge betrothed couples to put aside their "rose colored glasses," temporarily examine the surprises imposed by law and bargain for a written agreement.
It is imperative that the business aspects of a marriage contract be separated from the love and romantic aspects. The well-to-do have used these contracts for decades. So should you.
If bargaining for such an agreement leads to a broken engagement, so be it. The marriage probably would not have survived anyway. Considering the present laws, we think that anyone who marries these days without a premarital agreement is foolhardy.
YOU MUST see a lawyer to draft a pre-marital
agreement. They are tricky. The courts do not look upon them
with favor. We have attached a check list of items that
might be covered in an agreement and should be discussed in
any case. You should fill this check list out and take it to
We, _________________ and ________________ are planning to be married. We do hereby agree:
1. Nature of Relationship:
( ) A. Husband will work outside the home.
2. The choice of where to live shall be made by:
( ) A. Husband
3. Husband's earning during marriage shall be:
( ) A. His own separate property.
4. Wife's earnings during marriage shall be:
( ) A. Her own separate property.
5. If we acquire Community Property by Reason of
Paragprah 3B, 4B, or 6B, the management and control of this
property shall be:
6. Property that we own at the time of marriage and any property we acquire during marriage by gift or inheritance shall:
( ) A. Remain the property of the spouse to
whom it is given.
7. Regarding minor children that either of us have at the time of marriage:
( ) A. The natural parent shall support
9. Living Expenses during marriage:
( ) A. Husband will work and pay all.
10. Property acquired during marriage constituting a major expenditure such as cars, houses, boats, washing machines, etc.:
( ) A. As to each item, we will make a written
agreement as to its ownership or the shares of
11. Property acquired during marriage needing maintenance shall be:
( ) A. Maintained by the person in
12. Sexual Relations:
( ) A. If either party is dissatisfied with the
sexual relationship, the other agrees to accompany the other
to a reputable counselor upon request.
13. Birth Control - Children
( ) A. We want children immediately.
(g) Baby-sitting and child care while mother works will be paid as provided in paragraph 8.
14. Household chore and duties will be performed as follows:
A. Grocery shopping
15. Credit and credit cards
( ) A. Neither will purchase anything on
credit without the written consent of the other.
16. Alcohol, drugs and tobacco:
( ) A. Husband states that he is not now
physically addicted to or psychologically dependent
on: Alcohol__, Drugs__, Tobacco __, Wife
17. Education of a spouse:
( ) A. Husband will attend school and promises
to pay wife what he spent on schooling if husband and wife
stop living together.
18. In case of disability, illness or unemployment of a spouse, the other spouse will support and care for the one unable to work. Medical and Hospital insurance, to the extent available, will be maintained for dependents through the employment of each spouse, unless waived in writing by both spouses.
( ) Unless changed by written agreement, each spouse agrees to make a will leaving all of the spouse's property to the other spouse.
( ) Dissolution:
In the event either of us decides to dissolve our marriage:
( ) A. Property shall be allocated to the owner
according to this agreement.
( ) 1. Husband
( ) D. Neither spouse shall have any obligations to support the other. If a court should nevertheless compel support, the supported spouse shall pay the supporting spouse back and the supporting spouse may sue and levy on the property of the supported spouse.
20. This agreement can be amended at any time. All amendments shall be in writing and shall be signed by both of us.
21. If any court finds any portion of this agreement to be unenforceable, the rest of the agreement shall remain valid and in full force.
There are so many of us who dream about walking down the aisle as our Prince Charming lovingly stares into our eyes. In the midst of the fantasy, we tend to forget real life isn't as picture perfect as our chantilly lace dress.
The truth? Happy endings aren't something we happen to stumble upon. They're a product of devotion and unfaltering diligence. There's just no such thing as a short cut to wedded bliss.
1. Your Partner's Religious Beliefs No matter whether you're religious or not, it's always important to know where you and your partner stand when it comes to faith. Where does your partner fall on the religious spectrum? Do their beliefs align with yours? How do you feel about their religious outlook?
These are the important questions you need to ask yourself before accepting his proposal. If you don't, things could get rocky later on.
2. Thoughts On Political Issues If you're more of a liberal gal while he skews conservative, give that some serious thought. Sure, it's true that opposites attract. However, that doesn't mean you'll have lasting power.
When it comes to hard-hitting political issues, being on opposing sides can cause serious friction. It's up to you to decide if your relationship and possible marriage can withstand the strife.
3. Career Goals Two people who possess two different levels of ambition can spell trouble in the future. Know where the other is hoping to go career-wise to avoid being disappointed and possibly resentful later on.
Sometimes people feel threatened by a go-getter partner. If either one of you fit the bill, handle that - stat.
4. Relationship History In order to successfully move forward, you have to know where your partner came from. This definitely includes past relationships. You want to make sure there aren't any bad relationship habits lingering.
Aside from that, it's nice to get a clear understanding of why things didn't work out with their exes.
5. If/When You'll Have Children Something to keep in mind: not everyone wants to have children. Find out if your partner is hoping to have a family of their own and when they plan on making it happen. A topic of this magnitude should be broached ASAP.
6. Spending Habits Is your partner good with money? Does he/she spend money on frivolous things, leaving no cash to pay rent and bills? That's a MAJOR red flag.
7. It's NOT just a huge party Yes, the wedding planning can be exciting (albeit stressful). But the marriage itself is NOT a huge party that concludes with endless sleepovers. Sh*t gets real super fast. So be prepared!
8. You WILL Disagree...and that's OK. You're two individuals trying to merge into one; it's bound to result in quite a few arguments.
While there's no denying how stressful that can be, it's not the end of the world OR your relationship.
The key is knowing that the conflict needs to be resolved and not swept under the rug.
9. It's Okay To Still Have A Life Outside Of Each Other Never allow either one of you to lose sight of who you are. Your monthly lunch with the girls? Keep that going. Him having a beer with his boys every now and then? A necessity.
Don't try to stifle your partner's "me" time. That's a major no-no.
10. The Ring Doesn't Make You His Boss To expound on our previous point, you shouldn't ever aim to control anyone, especially not the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with. Having a ring doesn't make you his boss. He's still entitled to his own thoughts, opinions, and livelihood (and vice versa).
11. When To Say You're Sorry This one's a doozy...
We get it, admitting when you're wrong can be super tough. But it's a skill you'll have to master - learn how to say "I'm sorry." There's nothing worse than someone who claims to know it all. NONE of us can be right all of the time. So say those two magic words when you screw up.
12. Picking And Choosing Battles Wisely Because not everything needs to be debated and contested. Know when to let things go. Pointless bickering is a buzz kill.
13. Where You're Going To Live Couples often struggle with deciding where they're going to settle down after the wedding. The key here is to make sure your new abode is safe and affordable. Everything else comes after.
14. Extent Of Their Domestic Skills Are you a great cook? Does he know how to clean? How about the other way around?
Before you start living together as husband and wife, you might want to figure this out. Trust us, learning your man is a slob once you've moved in will only grind your gears.
15. Family and Friends You can't hope to spend the rest of your life with someone if you don't get along with their family and friends. Don't sit around thinking it's not a big deal. IT IS.
An added perk of getting chummy with the friends and fam? They'll help back you up whenever he gets out of line.
16. Dirty Habits We all have them. Whether it's biting our nails, always showing up late, or spending way too much time on the computer, we all come complete with our own set of quirks. We suggest learning and coping with your partner's dirty habits before thinking of heading down that aisle.
17. Perfection Is A Myth Looking for Mr. Flawless? He doesn't exist. The sooner you realize that the better.
18. How He Treats His Mother How he treats his mother is a direct reflection of how he views women. If he disrespects her on a consistent basis, odds are, he'll do the same to you.
19. Figure Out Your Deal Breakers Marriage is supposed to be "until death do us part", which means you can't go running for the hills the moment things get a little shaky. But that isn't an excuse to become anyone's door mat. Figure out your deal breakers and let your partner know what you absolutely REFUSE to accept
20. How Your Partner Managers Anger You call tell a lo about a person when they're angry. Sometimes their rage coompletely wipes aweay their cool and calm facae, revealing who they truly are. Pay very close attention in those moments. You probably wouldn't want to marry someone who doesn't know how to control their anger.
21. Know Each Other This sounds obcious, but you won't believe how many people get this wrong. Many get so carrierd aay by the sparkling ring and the lavish wedding, they forget to learn who their partner truly is. Don't make that mistake.
In every state, women and men must be at least 18 years old to marry without parental consent. And, Nebraska requires you to be 19 while in Mississippi and Puerto Rico, you must be 21. And, while there are exceptions in some states if people have previously been married, are commonlaw married, married by proxy, or pregnant, the age requirement to be married with parental consent in some states might be surprising. See how you faired:
a. What state has no age limit - California
Furthermore, there are seven states that allow younger girls to marry with parental consent.
Arkansas - girls must be 16, boys must be 17.
1. Kiss for 12 Seconds
As a relationship ages, pecks on the cheek become the default, and they're about as erotic as a pair of baggy sweatpants. A long, lingering smooch reintroduces you to each other. Give her two a day: one in the morning before one of you leaves, and one as soon as you're both home. Mouths open. Arms around each other. "If you kiss like that for the rest of your lives, passion will never fade," Cadell says.
2. Start outside the bedroom.
The same old place is too conducive to the same old patterns, says Stella Resnick, Ph.D., a psychologist in West Hollywood and author of "The Pleasure Zone." Explore some new erogenous areas: The kitchen. The bathroom. Quebec City. Your bodies will be in new places, making it unlikely that you'll follow old routines.
3. Compliment Her.
And keep doing it ... at least five times a day. It'll make her feel noticed, special and appreciated, and she'll feel closer to you. "The more connected she feels, the more sexually inspired she'll feel," says Laura Berman, Ph.D., director of the Berman Center in Chicago. Compliment what she feels good about and cares about -- her hair, shoes, singing voice, work triumphs -- says Gloria Brame, Ph.D., a sex therapist and the author of "Come Hither: A Common Sense Guide to Kinky Sex." A confident sex partner is an adventurous sex partner.
4. Go Canoeing or Hiking.
Add a distinct but manageable touch of danger to the day. It will stimulate dopamine in her brain, which may trigger her sex drive, says Helen Fisher, Ph.D., an anthropologist at Rutgers University and the author of "Why We Love." Pick the right trip -- a guided whitewater excursion, for instance -- and learn all about the risks and the precautions you'll take. She'll see you as the cause of the excitement, as well as the source of security. Book the right B&B for the afternoon dry-off, and you're set.
5. Watch Pron without the Sound
Sure, you'll miss the snappy plumber-housewife banter. But now you two provide the dialogue. You'll learn how to talk erotically, so it's educational. But it's also fun, you're both invested in it, and it can help reveal fantasies, says Ava Cadell, Ph.D., a sex therapist and the author of "Love Around the House." And you'll probably find some way to kill time during the sex scenes.
6. ... or See a Chick Flick
Maybe porn isn't her thing. But Pitt, Clooney or McConaughey might be, and for her, these guys are porn, Brame says. She'll be fantasizing about a man who's sweet and will treat her well. And when he kisses the flirty female lead, you kiss your lady at the same time. Show her that reality -- her life -- can be better than that.
7. Feed Her Black Licorice
Bring it along when you're watching the Clooney flick. Black licorice has been shown to speed up her genital bloodflow by 40 percent, Cadell says.
8. Craft Fantasies
Some Saturday afternoon when you're feeling frisky, pour wine and divide 10 3x5 cards between you and your mate. Each of you writes down five sexual fantasies while the wine loosens your inhibitions. Then head out to a restaurant, where you can get a booth and some privacy in a public setting. Over dinner and more wine, pull out the cards and discuss. You'll feel filthy discussing this stuff in hushed voices in a public place, which is exactly the point. Your goal: Make three piles--"yes," "maybe someday" and "not on your life." Put the possibles in a shoe box, and once a month (she feels sexiest before she ovulates), pull a winner. Any necessary planning -- you can't go with just any football player/cheerleader outfits -- heightens the anticipation, Cadell says.
9. Explore New Regions.
You've heard about her nipples and vagina? Good. Now spend some time on the back of her neck. It's a brave new world of nerve endings, so gentle caressing and kissing are all that's needed. The base of her spine is sensation central, as well. Or gently stroke and kiss her belly just above the pubic hairline. Sex becomes about discovery, not seeking some destination. "Goal-oriented sex is not that sexy," Brame says.
10. Take an Overnight Train
There are stimulators all around, from the dining car to the passing landscape, to trying to walk and balance a gin-and-tonic in the aisle. And there's also your sleeping compartment, your own special sex-womb-with-a-view. It's a new place, and it moves, which adds a new dynamic. And it's somewhat public; there'll be new excitement when you're in flagrante delicto and the train stops, and people are outside your window.
11. Have Her go Commando for Dinner
The naked secret you now share will linger through dessert, says Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., a sociology professor at the University of Washington and author of "The Great Sex Weekend."
12. Talk in Public
Lie on a blanket in a park, with people all around, and whisper your fantasies to one another, sparing no detail. You'll create sexual tension, but there's safety because there's no possibility of sex then and there. "It's just plain sexy to start something that can't be finished right then," Fisher says. When you return home later, spread out the blanket on the floor -- a different location -- and release the tension.
13. Take Her to a New Restaurant
Dopamine is an ideal sex lubricant, and in any new experience, the jets are on. When walking in unfamiliar territory, put your arm around her. There's the thrill of the unknown, but you're guiding her through it -- a potent mix. "It might make her want to have sex with you," Fisher says.
14. Visit a Bookstore's Erotica Section
That in itself will fuel your imaginations. Make some purchases, then read them to each other. You'll discover new interests that, amazingly, never came up when you were buying garden supplies. Feel free to enact a scene. Check out "Heat Wave: Sizzling Sex Stories," by Alison Tyler; "Five-Minute Erotica," by Carol Queen; and the "Black Lace Series," by Kerri Sharp.
15. Use Fragranace for Foreplay
Spray a touch of the cologne she loves on the sheets. A study by Indiana University found that women who fantasized while smelling a popular men's cologne were more aroused than when smelling women's cologne or a neutral odor. If you don't have a scent, shop for one with her. That's foreplay, too.
16. Leave Home
Plan a trip without the kids, because Mom and Dad must also be husband and wife. (Lastminute.com and site59.com specialize in packaged getaways.) Take lots of pictures; in a few months, go through them with her, slowly, and recall all the great stuff that happened -- the sights, the food, the long mornings in bed. The feeling will come hurtling back, Schwartz says -- without airfare this time.
17. Throw the TV Out of the Bedroom
It sucks up time, makes you zone out and takes focus away from what the room is for, Wiley says.
18. Climb to One Peak at a Time
Some couples feel pressure to reach orgasm at the same moment. But that's like coordinating Patriots and Red Sox championships in the same year: nice when it happens, but improbable. So on a night when you're both primed to try something different, resolve to go for one orgasm at a time, without intercourse. As a gentleman, you'll insist that she go first, naturally. It will take some practice -- and lots of moaned instructions -- to get the manual stimulation or oral timing just right. This can only be good. Focusing on her solo pleasure will teach you useful lessons to employ the next time you strive for the Lombardi trophy together.
19. Ask for Directions
As you now know, the clitoris has two sides, so ask, "Do you like it on the left or the right?" says Violet Blue, a sex educator and the author of "The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy." Either she knows and will appreciate your sensitivity, or she doesn't, and now you've given her a new path to happiness. Plus, the question makes her feel more comfortable with giving you feedback.
20. Clean Out the Closet
She keeps saying it needs to be done, so start doing it together and then tackle her in there, on top of the out-of-season clothes you're going to wash anyway. The room is stocked with ties, blindfolds, costumes and a healthy air of 4.16-androstadien-3-one -- a chemical in your sweat, hair and skin. It's a potent arousal mechanism, according to a study at the University of California at Berkeley, and your clothes are saturated with it. When she reaches the peak of her androstadien madness, have her put on that blouse she hasn't worn in five years, and finally give it some purpose by ripping it off. "Most women want to be ravaged by the men they love," Cadell says.
21. Go Picasso on Her
Buy a half-inch camel-hair paintbrush at the art-supply store, dip it in chocolate sauce, and use it to adorn her stomach or thighs -- or paint a long line down her back and buttocks. Remove however you see fit. If she'd prefer to be her own O'Keeffe, have her paint sequential numbers on her body where she wants to be touched. Find your way in order by using your fingertips and mouth. Accounting was never this much fun.
22. Buy Her Something
It doesn't have to big. Just take her out, discover her wishes, indulge, pay. It's the "Pretty Woman" fantasy, but this time, you're Richard Gere. "Women turn on to togetherness and being taken care of," Schwartz says. Achieve a double jumpstart by funding an erotic shopping spree. Write out a gift certificate with an expiration date that coincides with your evening at a hotel. If she prefers to shop alone, let her -- either way, you'll find out what interests her, Blue says.
23. Write Her as Letter
One that does not involve a laser printer or an e-mail address. You want this to come straight from the heart. Write what you feel, but the ruling sentiment should be one of gratitude and confidence in your future together. Then, lick a stamp and mail it to her. She'll feel valued and special, and not just because you're supporting the postal service, which keeps the country working. "When a woman feels desired, she'll feel desirous," Wiley says.
Bodies feel good in the water. You're semi-clothed and you're in public, so it only goes so far, but you can play under the surface, which adds tension, Brame says. A late-night skinny dip in the ocean means fewer clothes and a little more danger, pumping up the dopamine levels. Throw a blanket down when you crawl ashore: Sand hurts.
25. Talk Big About the Future
You know her dreams -- children, a beach house, season tickets to the Steelers -- so tell her your plans to give her that and more. You're touching a primal desire and emphasizing your long-term commitment. "Women like to be provided for," Fisher says.
26. Experiment with Better Grooming
That is, trim each other's pubic hair until it's just right. You're making some smooth skin, which is much more pleasing for the 12-second kisses. But it also makes for fun in the shower. It's slow and methodical, but it also allows for some power-playing. She has the razor; she has control. And you determine, with her help, just how bare she's willing to go.
27. Go Ahead and Stare
Lavish praise on the lilies, and you'll be invited back
to the garden. So concentrate on a favorite body part and
talk about how beautiful she is. "Make her feel sexy by
thinking and saying she's sexy," Fisher says.
They show tools you can use in less than a minute that REALLY make a difference in your relationships.
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We've always loved Gay and Katie's work. In fact they we're two of our early relationship mentors when we were first getting started teaching people like you about relationships. We've even spent time with them in their home in California.
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They really make it lots of fun to learn the deepest,
most important things in the world--how to feel more love in
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"You can be right, or you can be married; take your pick." I can't remember who told me that, but I do remember they were only half-joking. The other half, the serious half, is exceedingly important. Because if marriage is going to work, it needs to become a contest to see which spouse is going to lose the most, and it needs to be a race that goes down to the wire.
When it comes to winning and losing, I think there are three kinds of marriages. In the first kind of marriage, both spouses are competing to win, and it's a duel to the death. Husbands and wives are armed with a vast arsenal, ranging from fists, to words, to silence. Spouses destroy each other, and, in the process, they destroy the peace of their children. These marriages account for most of the 50 percent of marriages that fail, and then some.
The second kind of marriage is rife with winning and losing, but the roles are set, and the loser is always the same spouse. These are the truly abusive marriages, the ones in which one spouse dominates, the other submits, and in the process, both husband and wife are stripped of their dignity. These are the marriages of addicts and enablers, tyrants and slaves, and they may be the saddest marriages of all.
But there is a third kind of marriage.
The third kind of marriage is not perfect, not even close. But a decision has been made, and two people have decided to love each other to the limit, and to sacrifice the most important thing of all -- themselves. In these marriages, losing becomes a way of life, a competition to see who can listen to, care for, serve, forgive, and accept the other the most. The marriage becomes a competition to see who can change in ways that are most healing to the other, to see who can give of themselves in ways that most increase the dignity and strength of the other. These marriages form people who can be small and humble and merciful and loving and peaceful.
And they are revolutionary, in the purest sense of the word.
We live in a culture in which losing is the enemy. We wake up to news stories about domestic disputes gone wrong. Really wrong. We go to workplaces where everyone is battling for the boss's favor and the next promotion, or we stay at home where the battle for the Legos is just as fierce. Nightly, we watch the talking heads on the cable news networks, trying to win the battle of ideas, although sometimes they seem quite willing to settle for winning the battle of decibels. We fight to have the best stuff, in the best name brands. We fight for attention and approval and a sense of worth, and when we finally look at each other at the end of the day, we fight, because we are trained to do nothing else. And, so, cultivating a marriage in which losing is the mutual norm becomes a radically counter-cultural act.
What do the rebellious marriages look like? When my blood is bubbling, I try to remember a phone call we received from my son's second grade teacher. She called to tell us there had been an incident in gym class. After a fierce athletic competition, in which the prize was the privilege to leave the gym first, my son's team had lost. The losers were standing by, grumbling and complaining about second-grade-versions of injustice, as the victors filed past. And that's when my son started to clap. He clapped for the winners as they passed, with a big dopey grin on his face and a smile stretched from one ear of his heart to the other. His startled gym teacher quickly exhorted the rest of his team to follow suit. So, a bunch of second grade losers staged a rebellion, giving a rousing ovation for their victorious peers, and in doing so, embraced the fullness of what it can mean to be a loser. When I'm seething, I try to remember the heart of a boy, a heart that can lose graciously and reach out in affection to the victors.
In marriage, losing is letting go of the need to fix everything for your partner, listening to their darkest parts with a heartache rather than a solution. It's being even more present in the painful moments than in the good times. It's finding ways to be humble and open, even when everything in you says you're right and they are wrong. It's doing what is good for your spouse, even when big things need to be sacrificed, like a job, or a relationship, or an ego. It is forgiveness, quickly and voluntarily. It is eliminating anything from your life, even the things you love, if they are keeping you from attending, caring, and serving. It is seeking peace by accepting the healthy but crazy-making things about your partner because, you remember, those were the things you fell in love with in the first place. It is knowing that your spouse will never fully understand you, will never truly love you unconditionally -- because they are a broken creature, too -- and loving them to the end anyway.
Maybe marriage, when it's lived by two losers in a household culture of mutual surrender, is just the training we need to walk through this world -- a world that wants to chew you up and spit you out -- without the constant fear of getting the short end of the stick. Maybe we need to be formed in such a way that winning loses its glamour, that we can sacrifice the competition in favor of people. Maybe what we need, really, is to become a bunch of losers in a world that is being a torn apart by the competition to win. If we did that, maybe we'd be able to sleep a little easier at night, look our loved ones in the eyes, forgive and forget, and clap for the people around us.
I think in a marriage of losers, a synergy happens and
all of life can explode into a kind of rebellion that is
brighter than the sun. The really good rebellions, the ones
that last and make the world a better place, they are like
that, aren't they? They heal, they restore. They are big,
and they shine like the sun. And, like the sun, their
gravitational pull is almost irresistible.
Research from Emory University shows the bigger the age gap in a marriage ... the more likely that couple won't last.
Now, at first that might sound like it makes sense. But according to this research, even being as little as one year apart can matter. The study was published in September, but a writer recently broke down some of the stats and brought the news in an easier-to-read format.
Randal Olson is the one who analyzed the stats from Emory, making a graph that shows couples with a 5-year gap in age are 18 percent more likely to divorce, and those with a 30-year gap in age are a whopping 172 percent more likely to divorce. But even just being one year apart puts you at a 3 percent higher divorce rate.
Although, according to the knower-of-all-things, Facebook, those low age gaps are pretty common. The company used its data for this analysis earlier this year: "Internationally, the male partner is on average 2.40 years older than the female. In 67% of relationships, the male is older than the female, compared to 20% where the female is older and 13% where the partners are the same age."
Age gap: 39 Years
The Scarface actor, 57, and his girlfriend Lyda, 18, hit the town in September 2014, officially cementing their status as a couple. The pair first stepped out publicly in July 2014.
And to top that, Female First said the perfect age gap for couples is four years and four months. Although, this wasn't very scientific. It was just a questionnaire of 2,000 people's opinions.
The Emory study also noted staying together longer increased your odds of not divorcing. Couples that have been together five years are 76 percent less likely to head to divorce court.
The study also shows a couple other factors associated with an increase and decrease the length of marriages, like how much money was spent on the wedding, how many guests attended and whether or not the couple attends church.
Spending more money was associated with a higher chance
of divorce, while the more guests that attended, the lower
the odds and couples that regularly attended church also saw
a decrease in the odds of divorcing.
So far the Supreme Court has more or less stayed out of the issue, but pressure is building for the high court to make a decision. If SCOTUS does decide to give same-sex marriage the okay it could be a big deal for the economy.
Weddings are a $51 billion dollar industry. The wedding
business employs nearly 800,000 jobs. The national average
of a wedding day is over $25,000. A new report, from Nerd
Wallet, is claiming that adding same sex marriage to all 50
states would add a couple billion dollars to the
Two years after Texas become one of the last states to allow transgendered people to use proof of their sex change to get a marriage license, Republican lawmakers are trying to roll back the clock.
Advocates for the transgendered say a proposal to bar transgendered people from getting married smacks of discrimination and would put their legally-granted marriages in danger of being nullified if challenged in court.
One of the Republican sponsors of the legislation said he's simply trying to clean up the 2009 law in a state that bans same-sex marriage under the Constitution.
"The Texas Constitution," Sen. Tommy Williams said, "clearly defines marriage between one man and one woman."
The legislation by Williams, of Houston, and Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, of Brenham, would prohibit county and district clerks from using a court order recognizing a sex change as documentation to get married, effectively requiring the state to recognize a 1999 state appeals court decision that said in cases of marriage, gender is assigned at birth and sticks with a person throughout their life even if they have a sex change.
Most states allow transgendered people to get married using a court order that also allows them to change their driver's license, experts said. Some advocates for the transgendered say the Texas proposal would not only prevent future transgendered marriages but also open up the possibility that any current marriage could be nullified.
"It appears the goal is to try to enshrine a really horrifying ruling and making it law in the state of Texas," said John Nechman, a Houston attorney whose law firm does work for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community.
Gov. Rick Perry's spokesman Mark Miner said the governor never intended to allow transgendered people to get married. He said the three-word sex change provision was sneaked through on a larger piece of legislation Perry signed two years ago regarding marriage licensing rules for county and district clerks. Perry, a Republican, supports efforts to "clarify the unintended consequences" of that law, Miner said.
"The governor has always believed and advocated that marriage is between a man and a woman," Miner said.
Williams said he understands that some people's gender cannot easily be determined when they are born and they later have an operation that could change the originally assigned gender.
"It is an emotional issue," Williams said. "I can appreciate that."
But when asked about claims of discrimination, Williams insisted his goal is to simplify marriage licensing for clerks who are trying to balance the 2009 law with the 1999 Texas appeals court ruling.
"They shouldn't have to resolve these issues," Williams said. "We have confused them."
Williams' legislation has cleared a committee vote and now awaits approval by the full Senate, which is predominantly Republican. The version in the GOP-dominated House has not yet been given a hearing.
Some advocates for the transgendered say that even if the legislation is passed, transgendered people could still get marriage licenses using other state and federally-issued documents such as a drivers' license or passport. But without the weight of a court order officially recognizing their gender reassignment, they worry any legal challenge, such as a divorce or estate dispute, would nullify the marriage.
"We want to be recognized as people. We want to have the same rights as all of you," Lisa Scheps of the Transgender Education Network of Texas said at a March hearing on Williams' bill. No one testified in favor of the legislation.
Kolkhorst, who authored the 2009 law that allowed the sex change documentation to be used in getting marriage licenses, did not respond to messages left at her office seeking comment on why she now wants to take it out.
The 2009 law originally was filed without the sex change document provision, but House records show Kolkhorst put it in as part of a lengthy amendment in the last month of the session. The changed legislation passed the House and Senate and Perry signed it into law a month later.
"It would be terrible for Texas, now that it finally caught up with the rest of the country, to take a step back," said Shannon Minter, an attorney for the national Transgender Law and Policy Institute. He said most states allow marriages for people who have undergone sex reassignment surgery.
Nikki Araguz was at the Capitol last week to lobby against the legislation. Her husband, a volunteer firefighter, was killed in the line of duty in July 2010 and she is being sued by her dead husband's family over control of his $600,000 estate.
Araguz had a final sex change operation in October 2008, two months after they were married, and says her husband knew and supported her. His family argues the marriage should be voided because Araguz was born a man and same-sex marriage is not legal in Texas. A hearing is scheduled for May 13.
"This is crazy. I feel like this is a personal attack on
me," Araguz told The Associated Press. "If this bill is
passed, it essentially means women like myself who have had
reconstructive surgery will not be allowed to marry their
Social worker Gary Direnfeld writes about the importance of investing in your marriage in this article, something we don't often consider as a part of effective parenting.
How ironic. With thousands of gay and lesbian couples anxious to get married, the District of Columbia is denying them that right while, at the same time, offering that special group of people - heterosexuals - yet another benefit to get married. They could get as much as $9,000 in federal funds (your tax dollars- and other cash just because they make their relationship legal. The idea, pushed by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and approved by Congress, gives couples earning under $50,000 a year a "marriage bonus" to buy a home, pay for job training or education for themselves of their children, or to start or expand a business. If a couple saves $3,000 in three years, they will receive a 3-to-1 match up to $9,000. So far, $1.5 million in federal dollars has been allocated, to be matched by private money from foundations and individuals. Just two couples and three individuals have signed up for far. How the Program Works
Source: USA Today
One ingredient apparently can go a long way toward a happy marriage. Find out which important element we're talking about.
Researchers found men and women in unhappy marriages suffered from increased stress levels throughout the day at home and at work as well as higher blood pressure at midday at the office, which could raise the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Married women are more likely to have sexual desire problems than either single women or married men, and those with children under the age of 5 are the most likely to report having little interest in sex, a new study shows.
Kind of person you are before you tie the knot is key, researchers find.
How many of us "cheat," why is it wrong, and what should be done about it?
Source: Wendy McElroy, www.ifeminists.net/introduction/editorials/2003/0204.html
How about if you've been married for a year? Or five years? A new study examines if "happily ever after" is actually attainable -- or if it's only found in fairy tales.
They say that married people can end up looking like each other. Now there's evidence that married people often suffer the same health conditions.
British researchers studied more than 8,000 married couples and found that spouses of people who had asthma, depression, and stomach ulcers were 70% more likely to develop the conditions themselves. This held true even after accounting for factors such as smoking, obesity, and age.
The study from the University of Nottingham is reported in the Sept. 21 edition of the British Medical Journal.
The couples also were screened for diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and depression. Spouses had higher chances of suffering from those diseases as well.
The researchers believe environmental factors including allergy triggers likely account for the asthma sharing. And diet and similar patterns of exercise likely account for the similarity with high blood pressure and cholesterol.
The study did not take into account how long each of the
couples had been together.
A 30-year-old tenet - that in a marriage, men get all the benefit while women get all the stress - has been dealt a blow by a study which says husbands and wives get an equal boost from wedded union.
Back in 1972, sociologist Jessie Bernard provided a major conceptual cornerstone for the fledgling Women's movement with research into mental health among married and unmarried people.
She found that symptoms of anxiety, depression, neurosis and passivity were far more prevalent among single men than among married men. She concluded that married men were happier because they got those benefits at the expense of women.
Bernard's work became one of the conceptual cornerstones of modern feminism, becoming popularly abbreviated into notions of male selfishness and that marriage "drives women crazy." But an Australian study says Bernard got it wrong, the British weekly New Scientist says.
Bernard's research was too narrowly defined she asked about stress indicators that overwhelmingly affect women more than men, for whom the likelier symptoms of poor mental health would be drug and alchol abuse, the study says.
Psychologist David de Vaus of Melbourne's La Trobe University looked at data from 10,641 adults taken from a 1996 national survey of mental health that includes substance abuse as stress indicators. Roughly speaking, he found there were "female disorders" and "male disorders."
Women were almost twice as likely as men to suffer mood and anxiety disorders, while men were twice as likely as women to drink too much or turn to drug abuse.
Ultimately, the percentage of married men and women at risk from mental disorder was almost exactly the same: 16.6 percent of husbands and 16 percent of women had had all the symptoms of at least one classified disorder within the 12 months prior to interview.
His study also found that marriage helps good mental health. Married people were the least likely to suffer from any disorder. In contrast, divorced and separated people were the most vulnerable to mood and anxiety disorders, while spinsters and bachelors were most at risk from drug and alcohol abuse.
De Vaus' study is published in full in the latest issue
of Family Matters, a journal of the Australian
Institute of Family Studies.
Marriage seems to be so good for men's health that married men are less likely to die in a given period than their single counterparts, according to researchers.
Professor Andrew Oswald and Dr. Jonathan Gardner from the department of economics at Warwick University looked at data on more than 12,000 adults from the British Household Survey and the British Retirement Survey.
Factoring out influences such as smoking and drinking, married men were 6.1 percent less likely to die over a seven-year period than single men, they found.
Women benefited less from marriage, with their death risk dropping just 2.9 percent.
Researchers have often found that married men and women are healthier than their single counterparts, (Editor: so why was smoking and drinking factored out?) and the Warwick researchers speculate that a spouse might reduce a man's stress and encourage a healthy lifestyle.
But that does not seem to be the only factor, they noted..
"Exactly how marriage works its magic remains mysterious," they wrote in their report.
"Perhaps a strong personal relationship improves mental health and helps the individual to ward off physical illness. More research here is certainly needed."
Oswald said the findings debunk the idea that wealthier
people live longer. "Forget cash. It is as clear as day from
the data that marriage, rather than money, is what keeps
people alive," he said in a statement
It is estimated that 83% of divorces could be prevented if couples asked each other the right questions before they got married. For a list of the 1,000 most important questions to ask your partner, click here...
Dorian Solot isn't surprised by the rising number of couples living together before marriage. ''They want to be absolutely sure this is the right person before they say, 'I do' for a lifetime,'' she said.
But a report released Wednesday suggests they may be hurting, not helping, their marriage prospects: These marriages are significantly more likely to end in divorce.
That is partly because people who choose to live together tend to be younger, less religious or have other qualities that put them at risk for divorce, said Catherine Cohan, assistant professor of human development and family studies at Penn State University. But that may not fully explain it, she said.
''Many people enter a cohabiting relationship where the deal is, 'If this doesn't work out we can split up and it's no big loss because we don't have a legal commitment,''' she said. ''The commitment is tenuous, and that tenuous commitment might carry over into marriage.''
It is one of several findings from a comprehensive report on cohabitation, marriage and divorce, described as the detailed look at cohabitation, marriage and divorce ever produced.
The report, based on a survey of nearly 11,000 women, found that by age 30, three in four women have been married and half have lived with a partner outside marriage.
It identified numerous risk factors for divorce: People who are young, with low incomes, no religious affiliation and less education. Also, children of divorced parents are more likely to divorce themselves.
Overall, 43 percent of marriages break up within 15 years, according to data from the National Survey of Family Growth.
Black women are least likely to marry and most likely to divorce, with more than half splitting within 15 years. Asian marriages are the most stable, with whites and Hispanics in between.
Women are waiting longer to get married than they used to, and after a divorce, they are less likely to remarry than women once were.
The survey, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that 70 percent of those who lived together for at least five years did eventually walk down the aisle.
But these marriages are also more likely to break up. After 10 years, 40 percent of couples that had lived together before marriage had broken up. That compares with 31 percent of those who did not live together first.
Part of the problem may be attitudes toward cohabitation are different than attitudes about marriage, said Wade Horn, a marriage expert who directs children and family programs at the Department of Health and Human Services.
When living together, he said, the attitude is ''I vow to stay together with you as long as you make me happy.'' In a marriage, people focus on making their partners happy.
''If you're used to viewing being together as a test of the other person's ability to take care of your needs, once you get married it's hard to just switch that,'' Horn said.
Solot, executive director of the Boston-based Alternatives to Marriage Project, is more optimistic - as long as couples begin living together with similar expectations.
''If one of you thinks you're headed for the altar and the other thinks you're just splitting the cost of rent, you're both in for a surprise,'' she said.
The report, based on 1995 data, found other groups facing a high risk of divorce, including:
-Young people. Nearly half of those who marry under age 18 and 40 percent under age 20 get divorced. Over age 25, it's just 24 percent. The difference is maturity, says Chicago psychologist Kate Wachs.
''A lot of young people focus on right now, and if I'm not happy right now, I should get divorced,'' said Wachs, author of ''Relationships for Dummies.'' Older people have more life experience and realize ''if I hang in there, it will probably get better.'' -Nonreligious people. Affiliating with religion - any religion - helps. Of those who don't consider themselves part of any religious group, 46 percent were divorced within 10 years.
-Children of divorce. Women whose parents were divorced are significantly more likely to divorce themselves, with 43 percent splitting after 10 years. Among those whose parents stayed together, the divorce rate was just 29 percent.
The report also found:
-Broken marriages do not always lead to divorce, with many separated couples still legally married.
This was particularly true for black women: Just 67 percent of women who were separated from their husbands were divorced three years after the separation.
-Just over half of divorced women - 54 percent - get
married again within five years. These rates have been
falling since the 1950s, when 65 percent of divorced women
One in three marriages will end in divorce during their first 10 years, with certain couples more likely to split up than others, a government survey finds.
People who marry young, have less money, are not religious and whose parents are divorced are more likely to divorce themselves.
Overall, by age 30, three in four women have been married and about half have lived with a partner outside marriage.
Those are among the findings of an extensive survey of nearly 11,000 women ages 15 to 44 exploring factors influencing cohabitation, marriage and divorce. The survey, conducted in 1995 by the National Center for Health Statistics, focuses on a wide range of family and fertility issues and included only women. A new round of interviews being done now includes both men and women.
Among the findings released Wednesday:
Women whose parents were divorced are significantly more likely to divorce. Among women whose parents stayed together, 29 percent were divorced after 10 years. Among those who came from broken marriages, 43 percent were divorced.
Couples who live together before getting married are more likely to divorce. After 10 years, 40 percent of cohabiting couples had broken up, versus 31 percent of those who did not live together first.
``If you have a couple thinking about getting together, they don't believe it's right to cohabit. These are also the kind of people not likely to divorce,'' said Matthew Bramlett, the report's lead author.
Black women are significantly less likely to marry than white women. By age 30, 81 percent of white women have been married, whereas only 52 percent of black women. The report notes one explanation, that there are fewer black men considered marriage material, given their high rates of unemployment.
Black women are also less likely to remarry after a divorce than white women.
Broken marriages don't always lead to divorce, with many couples broken up but still legally married.
This was particularly true for black women. Just 67 percent of women who were separated from their husbands were divorced three years after the separation. Among Hispanic women, it was 77 percent; among whites, 91 percent.
Just over half of divorced women - 54 percent - get
married again within five years. For white women, it's 58
percent, but just 44 percent for Hispanic women and 32
percent for black women. These rates have been falling since
the 1950s, when divorced women had a 65 percent chance of
The New Scientist magazine recently featured a series of articles on the science of gender and asks some fundamental questions about how we see ourselves as men and women.
At the heart of all long-term relationships lies a
fundamental deception, according to one of the articles. The
evolution of monogamy makes interesting reading and confirms
the cynic's view of human relationships that women only stay
with men for security, and men only stay with women for
What makes us feel male or female? Is our sense of being male or female more fluid than we currently think? Perhaps two sexes aren't enough Source: www.newscientist.com/newsletter/features.jsp?id=ns22904
There are men, and there are women, but is that all? A
challenging article about gender reassignment surgery. Is
genital surgery on intersex babies pandering to social
prejudices? Source: www.newscientist.com/newsletter/features.jsp?id=ns22901
Divorced or separated men are more than twice as likely to kill themselves as men who remain married. On the other hand, a marital split is not a significant risk factor for suicide among women. These are the findings of a recent study of suicide and divorce that reveal a surprising gender gap on the issue.
We knew from past research that divorce was linked to increased risk of suicide," says Augustine Kposowa, the author of the study that appeared in The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. "What we didn't know was the difference between men and women in this respect."
Kposowa, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California at Riverside, based his findings on death statistics compiled in the National Longitudinal Mortality study, which tracks causes of death. He analyzed the cause of death for almost 472,000 men and women over a nine-year period, starting with 1979. In that group, 432 men and 113 women had committed suicide.
Kposowa says the link between divorce and suicide in men holds true even after adjusting for other factors associated with suicide risk, including age, income and level of education. Race is also a factor, with 50 percent more white than black men committing suicide. For women, he found, age is a stronger factor than marital status. The suicide rates were higher for women over 65.
The medical director of the American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide, Dr. Herbert Hendin, says it's been widely known that men are more than four times as likely to commit suicide as women.
But their heightened suicide risk after divorce or separation could involve a host of variables, Hendin, a professor of psychiatry at New York Medical College, adds. More than half of those who commit suicide have substance-abuse problems, which are more common in men and often lead to marital breakups, he says.
Trying to cope with loss of control Control can also be an issue for some men who insist on being the ones who decide what happens and when in their lives, he adds. They can feel particularly threatened when their wives file for divorce.
Hendin speculates that the findings concerning divorced women and suicide may reflect a change in women's attitudes. In the past, he says, women may have had their self-esteem more closely tied to their marriages and were devastated when that relationship failed. "We're probably seeing that women are more able to deal with life on their own now," he says.
Kposowa's own theories, which he intends to test through further research, include the link between men and their children, which he says is often severed because the woman is usually awarded custody.
"A man may not get to see his children, even with visitation rights," Kposowa says. "As far as the man is concerned, he has lost his marriage and lost his children and that can lead to depression and suicide." Kposowa next says he intends to compare suicide rates of divorced fathers with those of divorced men with no children.
Another possible explanation for the gender gap in post-divorce suicide risk is that women cope better because they are more likely to have supportive networks of friends and family, Kposowa says.
That rings true to Dr. Michael Meyer, a clinical professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and author of the book, Men and Divorce.
"Men tend not to talk to their male friends that easily
about personal problems in their lives," Meyer says. "And,
they also tend not to go to their primary care physicians as
easily as women for anything or seek psychiatric help of any
kind. The result can be a very scary sense of
In the months leading up to our wedding some 13 years ago, my husband and I had a series of meetings with the priest and the rabbi who were to preside jointly over our ceremony. These weren't exactly pre-cana classes -- more like a series of "getting-to-know" you sessions -- but they were thought-provoking all the same.
We got a lot of good advice from our respective officiants. The Rabbi leaned in and told us that the secret to a good wedding wasn't the food, but the music. He then proceeded to recommend a band from the South Side of Chicago called The Gentlemen of Leisure which he assured us would rock the house. The priest, for his part, counseled us that we should never go to go to bed angry.
Both kernels of wisdom turned out to be true. But something else the priest said has also stuck with me through the years: "In my opinion, it's far too easy to get married in this country and far too difficult to get divorced."
That comment came back to me last week when I read that the major left wing political party in Mexico has proposed a change to the civil code that would issue temporary marriage licenses. The minimum marriage contract would be for two years and could be renewed if the couple stayed happy. The contracts would also include provisions on how children and property would be handled if the couple splits.
Having lived in Mexico for a bit of time, I'm fairly certain that this bill won't pass muster in the heavily Catholic country. But it's certainly an idea worth taking on board, in Mexico and elsewhere.
I consider myself to be a happily married person. But I also know that I'm a minority. Many of my close friends and family members have split from their partners, some bitterly so. And many of the couples I know who have stayed together clearly regret that decision.
As I've stated before, I'm not pro-divorce. But the statistics speak for themselves. While divorce rates have been dropping over the past 20 years in the U.S., for the average couple marrying for the first time, the lifetime probability of divorce or separation remains between 40 and 50 percent. These days, researchers speak of a "three year glitch" (as opposed to the "seven year itch") in estimating the average time before a couple begins to grow sick of one another.
And still -- curiously, almost blindly -- we continue to idealize marriage.
To be sure, some interesting alternatives to marriage are surfacing on the horizon. Cohabitation has doubled in the U.S. in the last 15 years among 30-44 year olds. In Canada, the new buzzword is LATS, which refers to people who live apart but remain in long-term, committed relationships. According to the 2001 census, one in twelve Canadians falls into this category.
Alongside these innovations -- and for the old-fashioned amongst us -- we could also make marriage, like so many other contracts we enter into, fixed-term and renewable. In today's world, that seems not only practical, but desirable.
Please respond with "I do."
Wake up to reality. This scenario happens to hundreds of married men every day. "Your wife files for divorce. She's been planning this for a while, so knows all the steps to take. She will likely petition for "temporary" custody of the children and for "temporary" alimony and child support. Simultaneously, she may claim that the marital tension you are generating around the house is jeopardizing the well-being of the children, and she will petition the court to evict you from the familyhome. If she cannot prove that your presence in the home is jeopardizing the children, she may make a more serious claim. She may charge you with committing an act of physical or emotional "abuse" against her or the children. Under the state's domestic violence statue, she will not have to prove that you actually abused anyone; she will only have to "make averments sufficient to indicate" that you did. She will not even have to notify you that she has accused you. She can simply go to court "ex parte," without you or your lawyer to defend you, and get an "emergency" order of protection to evict you. You will be summarily evicted from your home without a hearing on your wife's accusation that you're an abuser." That's just one paragraph from Jed Abraham's new book, From Courtship to Courtroom: What divorce law is doing to marriage. If you're planning to get married, read this book. If you're married, read this book. If you're "happily married" read this book. Most women, once they've made the decision to get a divorce, don't offer any more chances. It's over. And they've been thinking about it, and talking to their friends about it, and most to a lawyer before you have a hint of what's going on. There are over a million divorces a year. There are over 3,000,000 charges of child abuse a year, 2,000,000 of which get thrown out for lack of merit. Most of those are in a divorce situation. And, those men who have survived the false charges, have lost not only their family, but their friends and often times their job. The stigma never goes away. And, while false allegations are incredible child abuse, seldom is any action taken on the court's part against the person falsely making those accusations. In fact, in many status, the definition of "domestic violence" only define a scenario of the man as abuser, the woman as victim. You can shrug this all off and say it won't happen to me. And, it may not, if you're a gambler. But the odds aren't in your favor, if you're a man.
Black Men reports that in the U.S., where marriage is at the lowest point in recorded history, there are almost 43 million single women. That's why Y&R's Brand Futures Group (an advertising agency) predicts an increase in women-targeted soft-core pornography and escort services and perhaps even a rise in "sex exploration" parties, a more safety-conscious variation on the orgies of the '60s and '70s. By age 30, only 1% of Chinese women are unmarried, compared with 15 percent of Western women at age 40. (The Economist). By 2011, the majority of British adults will be unmarried (Reuters). By early in this century, an estimated 50% of the U.S. children will live apart from their biological fathers. (American Coalition for Fathers and Children). The combined findings of numerous studies in Europe and the U.S. point to a 50% decline in human sperm counts since the late 1930s. (Associated Press). And, globally, 38% of all pregnancies are unplanned. (Alan Guttmacaher Institute (MSNBC).
In the past decade, various researchers have published studies which they say prove that married people are, on average, happier and healthier than single people. This is easily explained by the fact that these researchers never called me when I was married so I could set them straight.
Although I am divorced, I often surprise people when I tell them I do believe that marriage can be a great thing. For example, I think my parents have a good marriage (and not just because it produced me). I see how the affection and companionship between them sustains and nurtures them; it's tender and dear, and I hope to have something that wonderful when I am their age.
Because I do believe in marriage, I always check out the newest studies, and finally one has come along that proves what I've known all along: A good marriage can heal you, and a bad one can hurt you.
Fiendishly clever researcher Janice K. Kiecolt-Gaser of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State University, along with her husband and fellow researcher Ronald Glaser, created a research model to determine how couples interact with each other, and how that affects their health.
Here's what happened to those who agreed to spend the evening with Janice and Ronald. On two occasions two months apart, each of 42 married couples were admitted to the hospital for a 24-hour testing period -- which right from the start is nobody's idea of a "romantic getaway."
In the elegant fluorescent hospital lighting (perhaps over a lovely dinner of cold meatloaf, gray green beans and a Jell-O cup, undoubtedly accompanied by a small carton of a fairly recent vintage of skim milk), the couples were asked to engage in two 10-minute supportive discussions regarding something each spouse wanted to change about him- or herself.
I assume that when they fostered "supportive discussions," they encouraged the kind of passive-aggressive conversations long-term couples often have in marriage counseling offices, such as "The thing I'd like to improve about myself is to have more understanding about your lack of sensitivity in never remembering to put the toilet seat down in the middle of the night, like last Thursday when I fell in and threw my back out." Naturally, supportive discussion then ensues.
So that was the first evening they spent with Ronald and Janice. When they went back a couple of months later, things were very different indeed. On the next cozy hospital "getaway," Ronald and Janice skipped the whole supportive thing and forced the couples to switch topics to the all-time marital hit parade topics of money, or in-laws, or subjects specifically selected to spark an argument.
Our adorable wedlock research duo did not bother to serve even one measly cocktail before the emotional games began, which is where Ron and Jan manage to get on my last nerve.
Both the positive and negative sessions were videotaped by Ron and Jan, and then (they claim) meticulously analyzed for "evidence of hostility." I'll bet that cheapskates Ron and Jan had plenty of relaxing refreshments on hand for themselves during this part of the process.
As if being Ron and Jan's personal home game of Punk'd weren't pain enough, the study couples were -- and I am not even kidding about this -- wounded, literally, by their hosts before the staged conversations. I'll spare you the details.
Anyway, without getting into all the "scientific data" that Ron and Jan cited in order to keep up this sick gamesmanship they insist on calling research, let me just cut to the chase and say that their brilliant conclusion was that if your spouse is mean to you, you don't heal as quickly.
Apparently, according to their study, Ron and Jan found that highly hostile couples experienced healing rates only 60 percent of those experienced by less hostile spouses. I'm sure we're all thrilled that thousands of research dollars were spent revealing this particular great discovery.
And while it's not in the formal document the couple published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, I'm going to go ahead and hazard a guess that fully 100 percent of the observed couples agreed that, however they felt about each other by the end of the study, they were at least grateful not to be married to Ron or Jan.
So, though my happily married mother is not published in any fancy academic journals (and furthermore she is a lovely and gifted hostess who would never expect people to have a conversation of any kind, either supportive or negative, without a bountiful spread of food and drink), she long ago came up with similar findings to Ron and Jan about marriage. She revealed her results to me when advising me on the wisdom of staying married to someone who often spoke harshly to me in front of others.
My mother (who has received no grant funding of any kind and has never physically wounded anyone) said: "Your husband is the one person in the whole world you should be able to count on to be nice to you. If he's mean to you, it's bad for your health and you're better off alone."
There you have it. In the end, mom, Ron and Jan all came
to the same conclusion, though using radically different
methods. And their joint conclusion is undeniably profound.
It is, quite simply, this: "If your spouse can't say
something nice, he shouldn't be your spouse at all."
A New York magazine article entitled "The New Monogamy" states that marriages are becoming more and more open. The thinking is that agreed-upon "cheating" will ward off the urge to stray further. In this view, as long as each spouse "sluts around" (their words, not ours) within the boundaries deemed acceptable by both parties (rules range from just kissing to engaging in full-blown orgies), they aren't actually cheating. Sure, it sounds pretty crazy. But let's just go with it for now, keeping in mind how unnatural forsaking all others can feel to some in committed relationships -- and how striving for true monogamy can outright ruin some relationships. So, provided the rules of engagement are mutually agreed upon, is the open approach reasonable? We asked our Love Council to weigh in.
Dan Cronin Why Are These People Together to Begin With?"
I think there's something really interesting and healthy about people who want to redefine the boundaries of a relationship so that they are more likely to stay within those boundaries. These people are taking into consideration the evolutionary view that we're a bunch of horn dogs, the practical view that most marriages end in divorce and the emotional view that deceiving someone you love really sucks.
But there's a description in that article of a woman returning home to find her boyfriend in the bathtub with another woman -- and thinking nothing of it -- that gave me pause. It made me wonder why these people are together to begin with. This woman's impassive response to what for most people would warrant a dish-throwing blowout makes me wonder what emotions could have surfaced under even slightly different circumstances. What if this woman was feeling depressed? Had a bad day? "Honey, I'll be right out -- just after I'm done scrubbing the back of this chick I met at the Arcade Fire concert." I don't think so.
Sure, old monogamy has its problems. But I still think it's better than the new one, if you can make it work.
Cathi Hanauer & Daniel Jones "Is This Arrangement Reasonable? Absolutely"
Cathi: We already know that monogamous marriage is far from a raging success in this country. In my opinion, if some couples want to try veering slightly from the contract by creating their own rules, more power to them. I commend their courage in thinking deeply about marriage and its shortcomings, and for having the creativity and guts to adjust it to fit their mutual needs.
The catch, of course, is that this undermines one of the major reasons people marry -- for security. And though security doesn't do much for passion, it's also a huge reason people stay together "till death do us part." Part of committing to someone else is knowing that person will be there for you through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, and if your "thin" or "sick" happens to come when your partner is out "slutting around" with someone else -- or vice-versa -- I would think it would be very hard not to feel hurt or betrayed. I've actually suggested open marriage to Dan more than once, though I have to admit I'm always a teensy bit relieved when he says no freakin' way.
Dan: You have to remember that just because it's all above board doesn't mean it's trouble free. I know a couple with an open marriage, and they're happily together. But I do know they struggled with jealousy and worked very hard to compartmentalize their feelings.
I believe that all human beings are hard-wired to feel jealous, and it's an emotion you'll likely have to learn to manage -- not ignore or sidestep -- if you decide to open up your relationship to others.
Dr. Sarah Stedman "This Concept Is Frightening!"
This question made me wonder if I am just an old-fashioned, socially programmed sexual Neanderthal. But the truth is that I have a system of spiritual values for human dignity that I stand by, and this phenomenon called "the new monogamy" flies in the face of every quality I consider to be essential to the success of a long-term relationship: commitment, mutual respect and the spiritual celebration inherent in two people building a life together. This new version of monogamy sounds like a glorified excuse for self-indulgent, irresponsible behavior, and my suspicion is that there are a lot of younger people out there who are just as frightened by that concept as I am. So if the so-called new monogamy sounds like a clever way of having your cake and eating it too, it probably is. Monogamy is a choice. It doesn't come naturally and sometimes it requires negotiation between partners. But the fact remains that in the end you can either have that cake or you can eat it, but you simply can't have it both ways.
Michele Weiner-Davis, MSW "Managed Monogamy? Oxymoron"
You have got to be kidding. I've been a marriage therapist for nearly 30 years and I've yet to witness even one open marriage work. Setting morality or the dangers of STDs aside, this idea of managed monogamy -- talk about an oxymoron -- is a disaster waiting to happen. Even if spouses have good intentions and believe they've agreed upon fair rules for fooling around, all bets are off once they open Pandora's box. The promise of pleasurable, kinky, extraordinary sex has a funny way of enticing people to behave in ways -- especially toward their spouses -- that they might not ordinarily. And when they do, jealousy sets in. One spouse wants to call the deal off and the other is too busy getting turned on to care. So, although old-fashioned monogamy may be a far-from-perfect solution for more adventurous couples, it's still, by far, the best one we've got.
Dr. Ruth "There's No Acceptable Percentage of Risk"
Because I'm a sex therapist, I see the people who have problems, and that probably slants my view in a predictable direction. But boy, do I see problems when couples have been having sex with other people -- even when both parties initially consented to the idea. Two happily married people might think that their relationship can survive introducing other partners into the mix. But when one partner gets jealous, then the damage done to the relationship is often irreparable.
Are there couples that engage in this agreed-upon
cheating without incurring any harm? Possibly. So I guess
the question becomes: What are the odds of a relationship
falling apart because of such behavior? I can't be certain,
but if you value your relationship, there is no acceptable
percentage of risk in my book. It's my belief that the old
monogamy is far better than the new one.
As long as relationships exist, there will always be arguments that coincide. These fights will usually go on for an extended period of time until one person decides to shamefully admit defeat, even though they knew deep down that they were right. Now with TheFairFight.com, we finally give you the opportunity to prove yourself once and for all. No relationship therapists. No biased opinions from friends. No cost. No Dr. Phil. Simply results. Being hailed as "The kids who are taking on Dr. Phil", (WVUD 91.3), TheFairFight.com is sure to turn some heads. Offering an interesting option for couples and friends. Does it really work you ask? Take a look for yourself. The Fair Fight...because someone's right TheFairFight.com
"Just because you didn't do marriage well doesn't mean you can't do divorce fabulously."
That's something my mother-in-law said to me when her son and I were ending our young, impetuous, and ultimately-not-right-for-us marriage. It stuck with me through
These sweet images from Brittany Peck's Saturday wedding have struck a chord with families across the Internet, and they seem to be getting that very same lesson about "doing divorce well" through to millions.
The photographer got a clue something unusual was about to happen.
Delia Blackburn, an Ohio photographer, was snapping pictures at the nuptials, as you do. She described to WKYC3 what happened when the father of the bride, Todd Bachman, approached her.
Before Bachman finished walking his daughter down the aisle, he turned around in the direction of his daughter's stepdad, who was also in attendance.
Then Brittany's stepdad details what happened next.
And he came up to me and reached out and grabbed my hand and he said, 'Hey, you've worked for this as hard as I have.' He said, 'You deserve this as much as I do. You're gonna help us walk OUR daughter down the aisle.' At that point, I had no clue what was going on." Todd Cendrosky, stepfather of Brittany Peck
Todd Bachmann explains his last-minute decision like this:
It hasn't always been peaches and cream, by any stretch of the imagination. ... There's no better way to thank somebody than to assist me walking my walking OUR daughter down the aisle."
And Brittany herself was pleased with the outcome.
The bride sent a video message from her honeymoon to WKYC, saying, "We've seen it all, been through it all, but at the end of the day we're all happy."
Divided families know that love isn't a finite thing
there's enough to go around.
Love can hurt your finances. Stop and consider these 4 things before you tie the knot.
Entrepreneurs, you take considerable time and effort to get a business started. You may need to apply this same due diligence prior to your wedding date. Don't get me wrong-- I'm all for marriage-- but let's be smart about this lifetime commitment with its huge tax consequences.
You probably already know that some married couples will pay less in tax, especially if one spouse earns more than the other. But for two well-paid professionals, their combined incomes may put them in the highest tax brackets, also causing their tax bills to rise.
Here are 4 other business matters to consider before you tie the knot.
1. Introducing the Marriage Tax Mortgage Penalty.
This year, the IRS has given couples one more reason not to get married. Unmarried couples can now deduct twice as much of their mortgage and home interest on their tax returns. This stems from a California case where Bruce Voss and Charles Sophy were registered as domestic partners and owned two properties together.
The tax code says taxpayers can deduct the interest on up to $1.1 million ($1 million for a mortgage and $100,000 for a home equity loan) in mortgage debt. Voss and Sophy each tried to deduct this full amount, but the IRS audited their returns, saying the $1.1 million limit had to be applied on a per-residence basis. In other words, they had to share the deduction limit. The men sued, lost, then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which overturned the ruling in August, and found that the men should each get their own $1.1 million deduction limit.
This summer, the IRS "acquiesced" in that ruling, which means it applies to everyone in a similar situation. The bottom line is if you stay unmarried, you can deduct the interest up to $2.2 million, as opposed to married couples who are still limited to $1.1 million.
This probably won't be a marriage deal-breaker for you, but it's smart to run the numbers by a tax professional.
2. Your Wedding Date Matters. Just as you (hopefully) plan your business matters for the most tax advantageous results, have you thought about setting your actual wedding date this way?
Whatever your status is on December 31-- married or single -- that's how the IRS treats you for the entire year. I had a friend who got married on December 27. Had he consulted me, I would have told him to wait until after January 1 of the next year because that one week cost him more than $7,000 in additional taxes. That was his particular case under the tax code then. Your marital status may or may not help you, which is why you should also add "tax advisor" to your guest list.
3. Decide on a Prenuptial Agreement. No one starts a business thinking it will end in failure. Likewise, no one wants to approach marriage planning for a divorce. But as an entrepreneur, you may want to protect a family business or pass a business to children from a prior marriage.
Even if there is a pre-nuptial agreement in place, there are cases being challenged for various reasons, including one spouse signing and later claiming he or she didn't receive adequate legal counsel. A spouse may claim she was rushed into signing or had inadequate disclosure of circumstances and assets. You could also find yourself in the case where financial circumstances have changed so much that the pre-nuptial agreement doesn't fit your circumstances at the time of divorce.
Entrepreneurs, really, I'm not trying to kill the romance, but make sure you have both legal counsel and a tax professional weigh all of your options prior to the marriage.
4. Get a Business Valuation. Many times an entrepreneur's most valuable asset is the business. You would be smart to obtain a business valuation near the date of your marriage. If you own a business prior to marriage, your spouse may be limited to claiming half of the increase of the value. He or she may have contributed to that increase by hours, finances or even emotional support. A pre-marriage valuation could save you thousands or even millions of dollars.
Many couples don't even talk about their financial situations before the wedding day. I'm talking about basic things like, "Honey, what's your credit report look like?" If your soon-to-be spouse is deeply in debt, you will be too.
Take it from someone who has 47 years in the businesses
of taxes, stop and think before you tie the knot.
The average cost of a wedding in American is around $28,000. - Dave Ramsey
It is not from reason and prudence that people marry, but from inclination. - Samuel Johnson.
It is said that marraige is an attempt to change a night owl into a homing pigeon. Why is it then that in choosing among marraige, children and career, 49% of women and 73% of men would prefer all three?
We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly. - Sam Kenn
The primary reason for the high rate of divorce is the high rate of marriages.
A toast to marriage: It's why we build bars. - Gaylon "The Cheif" from Battlestar Gallactica
A wedding is just a happy funeral. - Paul Theroux
Never allow someone to be your priority while
allowing yourself to be their option
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