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Tag archive for: marriage

Love Makes You Fat. Here’s Proof.

“Love makes you fat,” my adage-spouting grandmother always said. Now science proves it.

European researchers discovered earlier this year what anyone with eyeballs and a few married friends could have easily told them: that couples are generally heavier than single people.

It’s been proved before — by a study in 2013 that showed the happier people were in their marriages, the more weight they gained. And by yet another one the year before that.

(Okay, lightweight social scientists, time to find a new subject. Might I suggest 7 Ways That Listicles Are Making Us Stupid or Why Are We Still Talking About Donald Trump?)

So what’s the reason for this now officially undeniable link between mass and matrimony? There’s the obvious answer, of course: that once you’ve found a partner, you stop working so hard on your appearance. You skip a spinning class here and there, stop spending mornings wrestling with your straightening iron and — oh, what the hell — buy your first-ever pair of elastic-waist pants.

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Avoiding the Custody Shuffle

My parents split up when I was a toddler, and I’ve always felt lucky that I was too young to feel the full sting of my “normal” being torn in two.

While divorce alleviates the intolerable tensions of a sour marriage, the children of divorcing couples rarely feel the same relief. Mom and dad’s breakup rocks their notion of “family,” and ping-ponging between dual residences upends their sense of “home.”

That’s why more and more divorcing couples are opting to let their kids remain in the family home while the parents rotate in and out instead. Dubbed “bird-nesting” (in some species of birds, both parents share in the feeding and protection of their young), the practice tends to be tricky for mom and dad, but easier on kids.

Santa Barbara dad Maddox Rees and his wife have been bird-nesting from their family home since they separated two years ago. When one is at home with their sons — ages 10, 9, and 4 — the other stays at a one-bedroom apartment that they also share.

Weird? A little. But it made the most sense for them at the time.

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Take This Ring and …

Marriages begin with the promising plink of ritual: aisle-marching, veil-lifting, rice-flinging. But they end with the unceremonious thud of reality: stacks of documents, pained court appearances, crammed moving vans.

In Japan, a nation where ritual is revered and divorce is on the rise, couples have found a way to bring the same pomp, poignance, and purpose to their breakup as they did to their nuptials: divorce ceremonies.

Since last year, entrepreneur Hiroki Terai has officiated more than 20 such ceremonies at his Tokyo “divorce mansion.” He charges $600 to help divorcing couples mark the end of their relationship and take a vow to begin their lives anew. Ex-husband- and ex-wife-to-be ride to the event in separate rickshaws and smash their wedding rings with a gavel as friends cheer. Divorcés say they feel relief — even release — when it’s over. Afterwards you can get a new ring, one of the Mens Tungsten Rings for example start the new journey.

More typically in the States, folks have separate celebrations when their divorces are finalized: “I’m going to have one this month when the cord cuts,” says a spouse-sloughing friend of mine. “But it’s going to be with girlfriends at a bar. I thought I would burn the wedding license and auction his wedding band — you know, the one he took off when he dated other women.”

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Relationship Dissection

Down underground, in the basement of UCSB’s psychology building, behind two locked doors and another emblazoned with red hazard signs, a man lies in a pitch-black room, his skull in a scanner. Behind a window, lab techs stare silently at black-and-white renderings of his gray matter.

If this clinical scene doesn’t make your heart flutter, your face flush, and your guts flip-flop with jumpy juice, then you’re clearly not a scientist at the university’s Brain Imaging Center.

But Bianca Acevedo is. She’s a postdoctoral research fellow (am I the only one who enjoys calling women fellows?) who studies the neuroscience of love. “It’s a relatively new field, but it’s flourishing quickly,” said Acevedo, who spends her days translating lofty romantic notions into precise scientific terms. Working with the campus’s “Close Relationships Lab,” she uses a “Passionate Love Scale” to evaluate the “neural correlates of long-term pair-bonding.”

All of which would be funny if it weren’t just a little bit creepy.

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On Decent Proposals

It’s June. Wedding season. Only a few days left to dig out that embossed invitation, navigate your buddy’s online bridal registry, and take a Sharpie to the scuffs on your party shoes.

During the reception, the deejay will spin “Single Ladies,” and you’ll want to hit the dance floor and show off your mad self-spanking skills. But the groom’s gabby Aunt Joan and sozzled Uncle Ted will stop you to tell The Story. The treasured “How He (or She) Proposed” anecdote. It’s told and retold at these events, laying the foundation for the couple’s mutual mythology, the oral history of their romance.

Our culture loves a good “Will you marry me?” narrative. It’s the dragon-slaying folktale of our modern world. How’d he do it? How’d he fell the beast? Did he use wit, or brawn? Did he bury the ring in bean dip or convince the philharmonic to bust out Dramarama’s “Anything, Anything,” falling to one knee and wailing, “Marry me, marry me, marry me …”?

Outrageous proposals abound in recent news. A San Diego tattoo artist inked “Rachel, will you marry me?” onto his own leg. (I’d marry him for his perfect punctuation, but that’s my freak-ness weakness.) A New Jersey valedictorian popped the question by calling her beau and fellow grad to the stage after her speech. A New York fella edited himself into Back to the Future, rented a movie theater, and took his girlfriend to see the flick — in which he shows up on screen, looks into the camera, and asks her to be his wife. They all said yes. Aww.

Continue reading On Decent Proposals

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My columns are collected in three lovely books, which make a SPLENDID gift for wives, friends, book clubs, hostesses, and anyone who likes to laugh!
Keep Your Skirt On
Wife on the Edge
Broad Assumptions
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