TIME relationships

Article on How Wives Can Keep Husbands Happy Is Going Viral

Manuel Orero Galan—Getty Images/Moment RF Marriage is work

Tips from Familyshare.com on saving your marriage have racked up millions of page views and shares

An article entitled “5 Ways You Are Unknowingly Destroying Your Husband and Killing Your Marriage,” published on FamilyShare.com is going viral, with almost five million views so far.

Here are the five ways women can fail their husbands, according to author Katelyn Carmen:

1) Having expensive taste: Carmen says “Wives, show sincere appreciation and respect to your husband by carefully following a budget and making the most of what you have.”

2) Being grumpy: “As soon as your husband walks through the door, you launch into action and dump every negative and angry thought that’s crossed your mind throughout the day… Negativity is draining. Men like to fix things, and constantly being hounded with complaints makes it difficult for him to help solve your pains.

3) Not putting your husband first: “When your children, mom, best friends, talents, or career in front of your husband, you send a clear message to him that he is unimportant.”

4) Withholding sex: “Sex should not be used as a tool to control your spouse; it should be viewed as a sacred tool to draw you closer to one another and to God…Even though you might not always be in the mood, it’s worth it to give in (when you can) and spend that time bonding.”

5) Being coy: “Don’t waste your time giving subtle hints that he won’t understand: Speak plainly to him. Be honest about your feelings, and don’t bottle things up until you burst. If he asks you what’s wrong, don’t respond with “nothing” and then expect him to read your mind and emotions.”

The article has clearly struck a chord, judging from the millions of page views and shares.

But not everybody is happy with what they’re reading:

Most of the criticism seems to be aimed at the fact that the article is specifically telling women how to please their husbands, and not the other way around, though the author does state at the top of the piece that the same advice could apply to men who want to make their wives happy.

TIME Pregnancy

Sex, Breastfeeding and Cheesecake: What The World Searches For While Pregnant

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Google searches reveal that Indian couples search for "sex" more than couples in any other country. Also "my husband wants me to breastfeed him."

Expectant couples all over the world are concerned about how pregnancy will affect their sex lives, but Indian couples seem especially worried. India’s top five Google searches for “How to ___ while pregnant” include “have sex,” “do sex,” and just plain “sex.”

And to confuse matters further, India’s top search (by far) for “my husband wants me to ___” is “my husband wants me to breastfeed him.” Which means that expectant couples in India are both really into sex and really into adult breastfeeding.

Men and women in the US, Britain, Australia, and South Africa also asked the internet how to have sex while pregnant, but people in Nigeria also asked how to “make love,” according to a Google Search analysis by the New York Times.

Other results showed a widespread preoccupation with avoiding stretch marks, sleeping, and losing weight.

The top search results for “Can pregnant women ___?” also varied by country. Most of the results were about eating certain foods and drinking coffee, but sex only broke the top five search terms in India, Mexico, and Nigeria.

Pregnant Brazilian women took a whole different tack. Popular searches for what pregnant women can do in Brazil include: “dye their hair,” “ride a bike,” and “fly.” Meanwhile, Google searches for Britain and Australia are dominated entirely by food queries (Can pregnant women eat mayonnaise? Cheesecake? Prawns?) while Nigeria, Singapore, Mexico and the US seem concerned with drinking coffee.

Only people in Mexico were searching for whether pregnant women can wear heels.

TIME relationships

Who Knew? Husbands Can Be Nagged to Death

Frederic Cirou—Getty Images/PhotoAlto

Danish research suggests a demanding spouse and whiny kids can send a person to an early grave--and that men are more vulnerable than women

A new study suggests that being needled by or arguing a lot with spouses, neighbors or relatives can shorten a person’s life. And that men, particularly those who are unemployed, are especially susceptible.

The research, published online in published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, asked almost 10,000 Danish men and women aged 36 to 52 about their daily social interactions. The researchers were pretty nosy, asking participants two main questions: “In your everyday life, do you experience that any of the following people demand too much of you or seriously worry you?’ and “In your everyday life, do you experience conflicts with any of the following people?” participants could choose friends, neighbors, partners, extended family or children.

Nine percent of the participants reported always or often experiencing demands or worries from their partner, 10% from children, 6% from family and 2% from friends. And 6% always or often experienced conflicts with their partner, 6% with their children, 2% with their family and 1% with friends.

In the course of the 11 years that the Danes were followed, 4% of the women and 6% of the men died, mostly of cancer, but also of the usual life-ending maladies: heart disease, liver disease from drinking, or accidents and suicide. And even after taking into account such factors as gender, marital status, long term conditions, depressive symptoms, available emotional support, and social class (defined by job title), the researchers determined that those who were frequently worried by or had demands placed on them by partners and/or children had a 50%-100% higher risk of early mortality than those who lived more peaceable lives.

“In this study, we found that men were especially vulnerable to frequent worries/demands from their partner, contradicting earlier findings suggesting that women were more vulnerable to stressful social relations,” write the authors, Rikke Lund, Ulla Christensen, Charlotte Juul Nilsson, Margit Kriegbaum, and Naja Hulvej Rod, all of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

They added that their findings were in line with other studies that found that men respond to stress with higher levels of cortisol, which may louse up their health. Only demanding spouses and children seemed to have this life-threatening effect on people. Annoying neighbors and in-laws, not so much.

Frequent arguments also led to a greater likelihood of dropping early from the mortal coil, but the data suggested that conflict was an equal opportunity grim reaper: both men and women were affected the same and it didn’t much matter who the arguments were with.

Because those who were both unemployed and involved in the most arguments had the highest risk of premature death, the researchers acknowledged that some of these effects could be attributed to differential vulnerability, that is, that people with fewer resources are less able to deal with stresses than more wealthy people can.

They recommend that social services providers teach skills in handling worries and demands as well as conflict management within couples and families.

TIME Marriage

The Real Problem With Women as the Family Breadwinner

Fox News isn't all wrong, but it ain't (just) about the money

Watching the recent kerfuffle over whether it’s sexist to think that marriages might be threatened when wives make more than husbands is a bit like watching a person trying to change a flat on a bus that’s on fire. Everybody’s avoiding the main issue.

In almost a quarter of marriages in the U.S., wives earn more than husbands. This is a huge, fourfold-sized shift from a half-century ago. And the effects on intimate human relations of this realignment in bacon bringing are still shaking out. The prognostications follow one of two narratives: either husbands’ egos — and thus the American family — will be annihilated; or men will eventually learn to stop holding women back and everyone will be better, more equal and richer than before.

A recent Fox news segment rehearsed the first theory, asking a series of young telegenic types if marriage would be destroyed by alpha females and their earning capacity. “Isn’t there some sort of biological, innate need for men to be the caveman?” asked Fox’s Clayton Morris. “Go out and bring home the dinner …?” The segment was roundly scoffed at by media commenters for being hopelessly outdated and antiwoman. “Men at Fox continued to justify their position that female breadwinners marked a breakdown in society,” wrote Emily Arrowood at Media Matters.

But the data, such as it is, tends to support the view, crudely put by Morris, that men find not being the breadwinner a little unsteadying. Pew research shows that most Americans still believe that having a mother at home and a father at work is the best arrangement for raising a family. And it’s true that men’s self-esteem is very much tied up in their ability to do well at work and to make money. Studies have found that men are more likely to cheat and feel worse about themselves when their wives make more than they do.

The anxiety all this generates is at the center of financial journalist Farnoosh Torabi’s new book When She Makes More. “The cold reality about making a relationship work when there’s an unusual income disparity,” she writes, “is that it takes a lot more effort than relationships with no or a traditional income disparity.” Torabi’s book offers a bunch of tips for high-earning wives-to-be, including being very open about their remunerative status, letting men pay the bill at the restaurant even if the women pay the credit-card bill later and sharing a bank account.

Torabi is pregnant, which is lovely for her, but she is in for one helluva shock. (She’s also been married for almost two full years, so it’s impressive that she’s already written a book about being a wife.) Meanwhile, the “marriage experts” on the Fox show probably had a cumulative age of less than 75. All of them, well-meaning as they were, are ignorant of the real issue, which is that the breadwinner problems are less about how much money any one spouse makes and more about what they do with that other resource, time.

But then, how could it be otherwise? Few people are prepared for the ferocity with which children siphon up every available resource in terms of time, money and brain space. It’s easy to be magnanimous and reasonable when every evening is available and every dollar disposable. Husbands and wives can discuss their finances at a leisurely pace over old-fashioneds in a local boîte. Mothers and fathers, on the other hand, usually find they take up the subject in enraged whispers around bedtime after they’ve discovered that the credit-card bill has gone unpaid yet again.

Women, studies show, are still bearing the brunt of child rearing and housework. This is not always because the dads are lazy; sometimes well-educated and competent women decline to delegate child-rearing responsibilities to other people. But either way, the marital-financial equation is exponentially harder to solve when there are offspring. And there’s less time to solve it and less room for error or experimentation. As divorce lawyers know, many ex-wives feel that if they were making most of the money and doing most of the child rearing and homekeeping, there was very little point in having a husband.

And many ex-husbands, who probably easily managed to get past the fact that their wives earned more, did not believe their lower salary then meant they had to do more on the homefront, especially if they worked just as hard as their better-paid wife. The data suggests two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by women, but the data does not show what the husbands did that might have led the wives to call their lawyers.

If we’re going to have an honest discussion about breadwinning women, it can’t just be a rational discussion about the wisest ways to divide up dollars. It has to be about time as well. And I’m happy to lead it off. Right after I get back from dealing with whatever my kids’ school called me about now.

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