Can This Marriage Be Saved? You Be The Judge

October 22, 2010 at 7:35 am , by

1366_001Ladies’ Home Journal has been around for a loooooong time (128 years to be precise). And while we’re not normally ones to brag, allow us just a smidgen of gloating: Our famous column, Can This Marriage Be Saved?, has been a huge favorite since it debuted in the magazine in January 1953. Throughout the 57 years we’ve run the column (much longer than most marriages, I might add), we’ve tackled everything from cheating spouses to secret porn habits, fights over the stepkids to battles over the dog. Though the complaints are different, one theme always emerges, whether the couple in question each month has a ton of tiny problems or a few massive ones: Communication helps EVERYTHING.

In the spirit of our celebrated, iconic column, we’d like to ask you to referee the battle between our controversial couples. Each Thursday, we’ll take a classic case from the column and give you the chance to weigh in. Our debut story is the very first Can This Marriage Be Saved? article published in LHJ (the black-and-white image above ran in the issue!), involving Guy, a 25-year-old mechanic, and Diana, a 22-year-old secretary, who’ve been married for six years. (A bride at 16! Suddenly I feel behind in life.) Read more

A Name of My Own (Was it a Ms.take?)

October 6, 2009 at 4:29 pm , by

YLF_036An interesting topic came up recently at an office gathering here at LHJ:  The practice of women taking their husband’s surname when they get married—or not.

Back in the mid 1980s, I opted NOT to take my husband’s name when I married him. I suppose it was a feminist statement of sorts, though at the time, I’m not sure I saw it that way: I liked my own name. I had already developed my own professional identity. Blah, blah, blah.

Among my peers, this was a fairly common practice at the time. In fact, all but a handful of my friends have names that are different from their husbands. (My kids were so accustomed to this that once, when my son was about 5, he came home from a playdate and announced that he’d discovered an amazing thing: His friend Adam’s mom and dad both had the SAME LAST NAME, he told me as if it were a remarkable coincidence! I had to explain that married couples sharing a name was actually the conventional thing to do.)

Anyway, back to our office gathering: I’ve discovered that the two-last-names thing seems to be totally passe. Most of the young women here who are newly married (or engaged) are taking (or are planning to take) their husband’s name. No one really has any explanation for why—their attitude seemed to be more one of “why not?”

A good question, I suppose, one that I’ve been pondering all week. Any thoughts?

Double Dates: The Husband Hook-Up

September 28, 2009 at 9:37 am , by

Beth, Tim, me and Pablo“I think you’re really going to like him,” I said. “He’s into the same kind of music as you and even though I’ve never met him, I saw his picture on Facebook and he looked really cool.”

I was setting my husband up on a date. A double date, that is.

We were back in my hometown and I had made dinner plans with a high school friend who I’d reconnected with on Facebook. Neither of us had ever met the other one’s husband so we were asking a lot of them. It’s like saying, “Come and join me and Beth for dinner where we won’t give you the time of day because we’ll be so busy catching up, and you’ll be forced to talk to a guy that you’ve never met.”

It went exactly as I had expected. Beth and I didn’t come up for air – it had been 15 years since we’d seen each other and we had a lot of ground to cover. The guys made small talk about music and not much else. When we moved from the bar to the table for dinner, the chitchat continued until Beth’s husband, Tim, mentioned something about fantasy football. I saw Pablo’s face light up. Beth gave me the look of disdain that only a fantasy football wife could understand. But the boys? They were in heaven. Even though Beth and I had known each other since 6th grade, the guys suddenly had a bigger bond than we did. The rest of the evening they were gushing over “draft positions,” “player status reports,” and “potential rookie sleepers.” Were these two falling in love?

After we got back home, Tim and Pablo became Facebook friends. They email each other from time to time and trade fantasy football insights. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

So, tell me… Do you have an interesting double date story? Or did you ever have a friend that you grew closer to (or more distant from) because of who they married?

Photo illustration by Sue Erneta using photos from Flickr. Football players via Steve Owen. Football via axel.foley.