MARRIED MEN EARN MORE $$$: Men who get married work harder and more strategically, and earn more money than their single peers from similar backgrounds. Marriage also transforms men’s social worlds; they spend less time with friends and more time with family; they also go to bars less and to church more.
On average, young married men, aged 28-30, make $15,900 more than their single peers, and married men aged 44-46 make $18,800 more than their single peers, after controlling for differences in education, race, ethnicity, regional unemployment, and scores on a test of general knowledge.
Married twins earned 26% more than their identical twins who were not married.
SEE YOUR PARTNER: The key is to understand that partners are not renovation projects. Think always in terms of looking at your own expectations, negative emotional responses, dark moods and insecurities and deal with them first.
Paying attention takes time and focus — two things we’re short on these days. Sitting next to each other while surfing the Web on separate laptops doesn’t cut it. Neither does dinner if your eyes are on your cellphone as much as they’re on your partner. A neglected spouse might not clamor for your attention as aggressively as a pet, but they need the dose of love just as much.
For 10 minutes each day, couples should “talk about something other than work, family, who does what around the house or your relationship.” The goal is “to always really understand your partner.” To not lose sight of their goals and dreams and passions — the things that probably drew you to them in the first place. As you share breakfast in the morning or wind down before bed, the rule offers a chance to talk about your partner’s wish list of vacation destinations or about a book they’re reading. Anything that allows you to stop and connect and not just feel like business partners trying to make your way through a packed agenda.
NAME YOUR EMOTIONS: It’s also true that we can’t change what we don’t notice. Denying or avoiding feelings doesn’t make them go away, nor does it lessen their impact on us, even if it’s unconscious. Noticing and naming emotions gives us the chance to take a step back and make choices about what to do with them.
Emotions are just a form of energy, forever seeking expression. Paradoxically, sharing what we’re feeling in simple terms helps us to better contain and manage even the most difficult emotions. By naming them out loud, we are effectively taking responsibility for them, making it less likely that they will spill out at the expense of others over the course of a day.
FAKE LAUGHING: A fake laugh is an imitation of a real laugh, but produced with a slightly different set of vocal muscles controlled by a different part of our brain. The result is that there are subtle features of the laughs that sound like speech
If you slow down a “real” laugh 2.5 times, the result is strangely animal-like. It sounds like an ape of some kind, and while it’s hard to identify, it definitely sounds like an animal. But when you slow down human speech, or a “fake” laugh, it doesn’t sound like a nonhuman animal at all—it sounds like human speech slowed down.
When we asked people whether a slowed laugh recording was a human or nonhuman animal, they couldn’t tell with the real/spontaneous laughs, but they could tell that the recordings of fake/volitional laughs were of people.
I think this is when most people give up on their stories. They come out of college wanting to change the world, wanting to get married, wanting to have kids and change the way people buy office supplies. But they get into the middle and discover it was harder than they thought. They can’t see the distant shore anymore, and they wonder if their paddling is moving them forward. None of the trees behind them are getting smaller and none of the trees ahead are getting bigger. They take it out on their spouses, and they go looking for an easier story.
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller
There are no grown-ups. We suspect this when we are younger, but can confirm it only once we are the ones writing books and attending parent-teacher conferences. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.
There are no soul mates. In fact, “soul mate” isn’t a pre-existing condition. It’s an earned title. They’re made over time. In my 20s someone told me that each person has not one but 30 soul mates walking the earth. (“Yes,” said a colleague, when I informed him of this, “and I’m trying to sleep with all of them.”)
HOW TO FALL IN LOVE IN AN EXPERIMENT: Given a few commonalities, you could fall in love with anyone by creating interpersonal closeness. Saying things like, “I like your voice, your taste in beer, the way all your friends seem to admire you,” makes certain positive qualities belonging to one person explicitly valuable to the other.
Love is an action. It assumes that what matters to my partner matters to me because we have at least three things in common, because we have close relationships with our mothers, and because he let me look at him. Love doesn’t happen to us. We’re in love because we each make the choice to be.
The decline of sideburns and the spectacular rise of clean-shave men (American Journal of Sociology)
DECLINE OF SIDEBURNS, BEARDS, & MUSTACHES: To analyze changing modes in men’s facial barbering” from 1842 to 1972, the pictorial news magazine “The Illustrated London News” that featured mostly prominent British gentlemen was used. The men in the photos featured beards, moustaches, sideburns, any combination of those, or were clean-shaven.
POLICE OFFICER WITH NO GUNS? In Britain, Ireland, Norway, Iceland and New Zealand, officers are unarmed when they are on patrol. Police are only equipped with firearms in special circumstances. Police officers there have saved lives — exactly because they were unable to shoot.
Most of Ireland’s officers are not even trained in using firearms. Ireland’s police officers would not even know how to use a gun if they were threatened. Only 20% to 25% of Irish police officers are qualified to use firearms.
A member of the St. Louis County Police Department points his weapon in the direction of a group of protesters in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 13, 2014. (Jeff Roberson/AP)
MORE REASONS TO GET MARRIED: Those who consider their spouse or partner to be their best friend get about twice as much life satisfaction from marriage as others.
Women benefit more from being married to their best friend than men do, though women are less likely to regard their spouse as their best friend.
The benefits of marital friendship are most vivid during middle age, when people tend to experience a dip in life satisfaction, largely because career and family demands apply the most stress then.
Those who are married have much shallower dips – even in regions where marriage does not have an overall positive effect.