POSTS WITH TAG: marriage

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    The hair loss had started well before we began dating. Although I met my husband when we were 10 and he still had a full head, by the time we re-met in our 20s, it was already disappearing. It bothered him a lot.

    Losing one's hair at 40 is depressing. At 22? It just seems like some kind of cosmic cruelty. And yet I didn't care. At first.

    Every man in my family -- my dad, my uncles on both sides, both grandfathers -- is bald. I thought hair loss was just part of being a man.

    I had no idea how much it really bothered (some) men and how much it would come to bother me. For my husband, it was a sore point. I could have told him he gained weight, that he had food stuck in his teeth, or that he was dressed badly, but if I knocked his hair (or lack thereof), all bets were off.

    I know he's not alone.

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    Just talk to me or any of my adorable, successful, fun single female friends and we'll tell you that there is a man drought going on. Seriously, it's like the pool of men who are marriage material has evaporated faster than well, water in California.

    But now, there is actually empirical evidence to back up this favorite girl's night topic of conversation. 

    According to newly released results from the latest Pew Research Center census analysis, there are only 91 eligible bachelors out there for every 100 single women. That means 9 of us are SOL (so out of luck) before we even get a date with one of those remaining in this endangered species. There really is a shortage of men who are husband material!

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    They say it's the little things you fall in love with about a person that end up driving you the most crazy. I disagree.

    I still love the little things. The way he opens one eye when he's too tired for two. How he instinctually grabs my hand on a flight as we're taking off. His ability to make me laugh even when he isn't there by leaving little notes or random memorabilia in obscure places. No one can deliver an inside joke better or more appropriately timed than my husband. We lie in bed laughing late into the night. The man can make me giggle like no other.

    No, it's the little things I never loved -- or knew -- that make me mental. 

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    There's something scary a lot of women do, whether we're in a new relationship or we've been married for years: We imagine how it will all end. Maybe it's how he'll die tragically in an accident, or maybe he's going to cheat on you, you're sure of it. But we carry around these fears and we let them torture us.

    Can you relate? Do you do that, too?

    Going there every once in a while isn't such a big deal. Everyone does it. But for some of us, these dark fantasies become obsessions, and they can lead us to some irrational, undermining actions. Our fears can end up ruining our relationships.

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    When my husband and I were first together, about half our lives revolved around sex. We were always in the mood, tearing each other's clothing off every chance we got. It was so much fun and, I suppose, a large portion of the reason we now share three children.

    There are consequences to all that fun.

    Sometimes I get nostalgic for that time. I remember us at 25. Or even at 23. We'd just moved in together for the first time. Our first grown-up apartment. We spent days in it where we didn't leave the house. We'd call them "naked days," ordering in food, watching movies, and having sex over and over.

    We don't do that anymore.

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    You know what is so much fun for couples to do together? Fight over housework! Oh yeah, baby. Nothing turns me on like arguing over whose turn it is to unload the dishwasher. And don't even get me started on how exhilarating the laundry squabble is. 

    Kidding, obviously. Dividing up what to do around the house is one of those problems that can divide a husband and wife.

    "I definitely see household chores and division of labor as something a lot of couples argue about," says family counselor Rachel Sussman. As of 2013, men spent about 10 hours more a week on paid work, while moms were spending six more hours a week on household chores and three more hours on childcare. But does it feel equal?  

    If you find yourself struggling to strike the right balance, here are a few tips for sorting it all out peacefully with your spouse -- without breaking dishes or throwing socks at each other.

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    It all started when we bought our first house together two years ago. Prior to that we had been living in a small condo in the city, which we also owned, but for some reason we always agreed on decorating decisions. Add in another 1,200 square feet? And all that synchronicity was gone like the wind.

    Our first fight was about color in the living room. The former owners had painted the living room and sitting room a horrifying forest green, which they'd then made worse by inserting bits of patterned, gold wallpaper into framed squares. It was ugly, indeed, and on that we agreed.

    On everything else? Not so much. Should the walls be gray (like I wanted)? Should we paint the woodwork to lighten it up (like I wanted)? Should we buy a gray couch (like we wanted)? Or an orange one (like I did)?

    You get the idea. I started telling friends of our fights, which were becoming epic and the one thing most all of them agreed on was this: Men have NO business making decorating decisions.

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    "If this is going to be something you end up bringing to a couples' therapy session, I don't even know what to tell you!" my best friend said, shaking her head. We were discussing how I wanted to hire a cleaning service -- maybe every other week or once a month -- but my husband wasn't on board. Better ways to spend money when we could easily DIY.

    I had been trying to explain to her how important it is to my husband that our home be clean and neat. Proof: Mise en place -- the French expression meaning "putting in place" that's often used in professional kitchens -- is one of his favorites. But not just when it comes to cooking. He would love if mise en place could apply to all things in life. And at the very least, in every room in our house!

    My husband was raised in a home where Neat + Tidy = Peace of Mind.

    I, on the other hand, was not. The last thing I usually feel like doing is cleaning.

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    In the early days of my marriage, I can fully admit I was one super scattered wife. At just 25, I was still in the "look at me" phase of youth when I wanted every man to notice me and think I was attractive.

    My husband would often tell me (and to be honest, still tells me), "You care about everyone's opinion but mine."

    At one point, that was probably true. After all, he HAS to think I am attractive. He's stuck with me. Somehow the eyes of others felt more discerning, more important.

    I told myself back then that my husband had low standards for beauty (he doesn't), which was really a way of insulting myself. If he thinks I am the hottest woman out there, he must be wrong, right?

    I know I'm not alone. I've heard countless women discount their spouse's opinion that way, and it's sad. Because now, after growing up a bit and becoming a mom three times over, I've realized the truth: ONLY his opinion matters.

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    A friend of mine used to always say, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"

    She would typically make this proclamation after she'd finish telling me about the spa weekend she'd booked for a getaway with her sister. She'd reiterate her theory after she'd describe the latest fabulous date night she and her husband shared.

    She certainly seemed happy and so did her husband. Apparently, she was onto something. According to a Rutgers University study published in the October issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family, a man married to a happy wife tended to have greater overall satisfaction with his life regardless of his own feelings about the marriage. 

    And just why is that? As Rutgers University sociologist Deborah Carr explains, an unhappy woman is going to let you know about it.

    "They tend to register their discontent," she notes, "while a man might be more able to brush off the ups and downs."

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