An Easy Do-Good Holiday Task

December 4, 2009 at 4:23 pm , by

jillbiden_portrait_fullEarlier this week, LHJ had the honor of attending an inspiring event hosted by our nation’s second lady.  Dr. Jill Biden, who has a long history of promoting community service, welcomed a group of kids from The SEED School in Washington DC and the WW Burrows Elementary School on the the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia into to the Vice President’s mansion on Wednesday.  The fifth- and sixth-graders made ornaments, decorated holiday cookies and sent Christmas cards to members of the Armed Forces.  (Check out these great pictures of the day from the Washington Post.) Dr. Biden told LHJ that supporting members of the military and their families is one of her top priorities. Ours too.  So we’d like to encourage our readers to take a few minutes to send holiday wishes to the men and women in the military.  The American Red Cross has an annual project, Holiday Mail for Heros, to make it super easy to do.  Just click here for all the info—and let our troops know how much we appreciate their service.

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Can This Marriage Be Saved? Tiger Woods Edition

December 3, 2009 at 6:16 pm , by

tigerI edit LHJ’s Can This Marriage Be Saved column, so naturally, that question popped into my mind the minute I realized there was more to Tiger Woods story than a minor fender bender and a valiant “rescue” by his wife Elin Nordegren. (The tabloids here in New York have been having a field day with Tiger’s tale, reporting that The World’s Greatest Golfer is a “Cheetah!”) Who knows what the real story is, especially now that press conferences have been cancelled and lawyers have been called in? But Tiger probably could use some advice on how to patch things up.  So I dug into our CTMBS archives on infidelity to get some professional advice for a wayward husband: (Tiger, are you listening?) One, he needs to own up to his transgressions and make an etched-in-stone promise not to be unfaithful in the future. Secondly, he needs to get into marriage counseling with his wife to figure out what “underlying issues” in their marriage might be at the root of the problem. As for Elin, she’s got to decide if she’s willing to forgive the stray Tiger—and if she does, she then has to consider his infidelity a closed chapter and never bring it up again!  Personally, though, I would understand completely if she simply decides to reach for another golf club.

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Bummer! The Drapers’ Marriage Cannot Be Saved!

November 11, 2009 at 11:57 am , by

betty and don2 Okay, we’ve been a little obsessed lately with the marriage of Betty and Don Draper, the main characters on AMC’s Mad Men. We’ve blogged about it (here and here,) and even got one of our Can This Marriage Be Saved therapists to offer advice on how the couple could rescue their relationship.

Apparently Betty and Don weren’t listening.  The season ended Sunday with Betty heading to Reno to get a divorce—that’s how it worked back in the early ’60s—so she could presumably marry Henry Francis.

And if there was any doubt at all that the marriage is doomed, there was this comment from Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner in an interview in The Daily Beast : “It’s so unambiguous to me that this marriage is over, but the audience seems to cling to the idea that they should be together because we want to believe in those things,” he said. “The marriage was not good. It was built on a lie and the lie was exposed …When Henry Francis came on to her… a switch went off in her head of what was missing in her life, which was a true, romantic attachment. In the end, that combination with her gut feeling that something wasn’t right in her marriage and finding out the truth, they don’t belong together anymore, kids or not.”

Sigh. Guess that’s the final word on Betty and Don’s marriage. Maybe.

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The First Marriage

November 4, 2009 at 12:01 pm , by

DownloadedFileIn case you missed it, there was a great story in the New York Times Magazine last Sunday about Michelle and Barack Obama’s marriage.  What I found so fascinating was how totally normal their relationship seems. Like every other couple I know, they’re dealing with the same old issue of how to balance all the competing demands of their careers and families. (Which admittedly gets a little more complicated when one of those careers is being president of the United States.)

At one point in the article, the First Couple talked about rough patch in their marriage.  It was shortly after their daughters were born when they were trying to work out the usual who-takes-care-of-what that all new parents struggle with.  ”This was sort of the eye-opener to me, that marriage is hard,” the First Lady told Jody Kantor, the New York Times reporter who wrote the piece.

But Mrs. Obama took the opportunity to let their experience serve as a lesson for other families. ” ‘If my ups and downs, our ups and downs in our marriage can help young couples sort of realize that good marriages take work. . . .,’  Michelle Obama said a few minutes later in the interview. The image of a flawless relationship is ‘the last thing that we want to project,’ she said. ‘It’s unfair to the institution of marriage, and it’s unfair for young people who are trying to build something, to project this perfection that doesn’t exist.’ ”

Okay, I’ll admit I’m a total Michelle Obama fan.  But don’t you just love that kind of frank talk from someone in Washington?

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The Sex/Housework Connection

October 27, 2009 at 12:33 pm , by

small houseworkHere’s another reason to clean your house:  It’s good for your sex life.

And that goes for men as well as women.

A new study by researchers at Montclair State University, in New Jersey, found that the more time couples spend on housework, the more sex they have.

No, it’s not the sight of a spouse with a Swiffer that causes couples to hop into bed!  It’s just that people who do a lot of housework tend to be multi-taskers who manage to squeeze in all the stuff that’s important to them.  ”We found that these go-getters are prioritizing their busy schedules to make time for sex,” says study co-author Constance T. Gager, assistant professor of Family and Child Studies at Montclair State.

Some bad news: The study also found that women spent nearly twice as much time per week on housework than guys do.  But I guess we knew that already. Now at least we have a way to persuade our husband that there’s another good reason to haul out the Hoover.

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The Worst Way to Lose a Husband

October 22, 2009 at 6:24 pm , by

broken_heartYesterday, I watched a fascinating discussion on Joy Behar’s show on CNN.  The topic: What’s tougher: Losing a spouse to death or to divorce?

Behar’s guests were M. Gary Neuman, a rabbi, psychotherapist and best-selling author of a few books on marriage; and Raoul Felder, media darling and divorce lawyer to the stars.  To my surprise, the men seemed to agree that it was harder to deal with divorce than widowhood.

The reason:  There’s a lot of guilt and self-blame when a marriage breaks up, regardless of who instigates the divorce. None of that’s there when a spouse dies. You’re devastated, of course, but you don’t feel responsible.

Then there’s the issue of finality:  Your relationship with a divorced spouse tends to go on even after the break-up, while there’s a sense of closure in death.

Personally, I think it’s hard to compare different types of suffering.  Suffice it to say, that a heart can be badly broken in both situations.  Still, I found the discussion intriguing and wonder if anyone out there has any thoughts.

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Can Betty Draper’s Marriage Be Saved? Part II

October 19, 2009 at 4:46 pm , by

madmen_8Last week, I speculated that Betty and Don Draper, the couple on AMC’s Mad Men, will probably stay together given that they’re living in the pre-feminist 1960s when divorce still carries an enormous stigma and when women don’t expect the kind of personal fulfillment we do today.

After watching last night’s episode, though, I’m thinking maybe I was all wrong.  First, there was that book Betty was reading: The Group, by Mary McCarthy,  one of whose main characters gets a divorce. Then, there was the phone call to that lawyer who’s got a thing for Betty.  No need for that except that she clearly wants to make contact with him, and he definitely seems like he’s ready as soon as she is.

Finally, there’s the fact that Betty found the box—the one that contained clues about her husband’s secret past. The look on her face said it all: Who is this guy I’m married to anyway?

Oh, yeah, there was also the preview of next week’s episode, which showed Betty packing her bags.

One of the things I’ve learned from editing LHJ’s Can This Marriage Be Saved column is that both partners have be committed to mending a damaged relationship if there’s any chance of things working things. But from the looks of things right now, that’s doesn’t seem to be priority for either miserable Betty or philandering Don. So I’m predicting a pretty nasty breakup before the season ends.

Of course, I could always be wrong. Like I was last week.

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