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February 17, 2010

The Accretion of Small Things

Interesting poll on marital satisfaction:

Married Americans expressed few regrets about their choice of spouse and overwhelmingly said they would do it all again, according to a new CBS News poll.

Nine out of ten (90%) married Americans would marry their spouse again, a percentage which has barely changed since 1995 (when it was 93%).

However, men were more likely to say they would marry their spouse again than their wives: 95% of men would marry their wives again, compared to 85% of women who said they would re-marry their husbands.

The total percentage of those who would marry their spouse again was also influenced by income: 95% of those earning more than $50,000 a year vs. 83% of those making less.

When asked to pick what is most important in a successful relationship, about half picked "Respect" (49%), followed by "Trust" (37%), and a "Sense of humor" (10%). "Sex" was picked by 2%. "Money" recorded 0%.

I found these last results interesting given that money and sex are two issues usually cited when a marriage goes bad. On the other hand I've always thought that a marriage built on a solid foundation of respect and affection is better able to withstand even major stressors:

...there's a mathematical ratio that can predict whether love lasts: 5 to 1. Five positive interactions to every one negative, like a critical comment, said Parker-Pope:

"A pat on the shoulder or a squeeze of the hand or a 'Honey, you look pretty today' or 'Gosh, I'm proud of you' or 'I like you in that suit.' Those little moments are highly protective of a marriage, and good marriages have them at least on a 5-to-1 basis.

The older I get, the more value I see in the steady accretion of small actions. It's like building up a savings account for a rainy day. I just wish I were more consistent from day to day.

Posted by Cassandra at February 17, 2010 12:44 PM

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Comments

I just wish I were more consistent from day to day.

Alas and alack, you are human, like the rest of us.

Posted by: MikeD at February 17, 2010 01:42 PM

Well, except for maybe Bill, he's a machine with a 27" zipper.

Posted by: MikeD at February 17, 2010 01:43 PM

I found these last results interesting given that money and sex are two issues usually cited when a marriage goes bad.

True, but that's because of the difference between causes and effects. Money and sex issues tend to be the effects of pretty much every cause of marital problems.

Take care of the problems and money and sex take care of themselves.

We may not have much money, but if the two of us value and respect each other enough to decide together how to spend it, then we'll be OK.

If we don't value and respect each other enough to decide together how to spend it, it doesn't matter how much we earn, we're still going to fight about it.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at February 17, 2010 03:32 PM

That 5-to-1 ratio is interesting. The way it will probably have to work with me is, every time I catch something crummy coming out of my mouth (or attitude), I have to concentrate on the next 5 things being good things.

Posted by: Texan99 at February 17, 2010 04:23 PM

I don't have much of a problem with being short tempered or not saying unpleasant things. My problem is almost the opposite: I tend to let most things roll off my back.

My problem is remembering to be thoughtful. The spousal unit is far better at that sort of thing than I am. On the other hand, he's got a shorter fuse, so I guess it all balances out :p

Posted by: Cassandra at February 17, 2010 04:55 PM

" I found these last results interesting given that money and sex are two issues usually cited when a marriage goes bad."..Perhaps because in those marriges there was little of these and none of the other, respect and trust, and so were lacking in any substantial foundation. As for me, I'd marry her again in half a heart beat, and be damn fortunate for the opportunity. The woman is a saint, for putting up with me, and does an absolutly fantastic job raising our son. Every so often I marvel at my amazing stroke of fortune ,for her having found and tolerated me, and remind her of such.

Posted by: Edward Lunny at February 17, 2010 05:54 PM

That means everything to a woman, Edward. You're a smart man - I suspect your bride thinks she's lucky too.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 18, 2010 11:57 AM

Huh. Today just happens to be the 453rd anniversary of the day I mrs. rdr to be my lawfully wedded wife, foresaking all others, and from that day forward to love, honor, and cherish her, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part, or she'll kill me.

Now that I'm informed that only 90% of me would do it again, I fear for the other 10% of me (which, for all I know, might this at very instant be out chasing down some or all of those previously foresaken "others") Even operating at only 85% percent of her own former marriage committment, mrs. rdr still represents a considerable threat to the continue vitality (or attachment) of that rogue 10% of me. On the other hand, as that 10% appears to be only worth 2% towards a successful marriage, perhaps the remaining 90% of me can be saved for other, and apparently, more important marriage purposes by distracting her attention with large amounts of expensive and useless sparkling things and dead flowers, at least until another percentage of me goes wandering off the reservation.

Posted by: spd rdr at February 18, 2010 12:02 PM

WHAP!!! :)

Happy anniversary, mr rdr. And many happy returns of the day.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 18, 2010 12:24 PM

Why, thank you, Cassandra. I'm glad to know that you harbor me no hard feelings about having to be a "foresaken other" and all. If it's any consolation, you're in with a lot of very good looking company. Or so my 10% tells me.

Posted by: spd rdr at February 18, 2010 01:01 PM

...no hard feelings about having to be a "foresaken other" and all.

Someone is certainly feeling sassy today :D

"As if!" A girl can dream... but a smart girl knows when she's outclassed.

We poor, disappointed ladies will just have to go on pining for the unattainable while mrs rdr lives the dream :)

Posted by: Cassandra at February 18, 2010 01:40 PM

Courage.

Posted by: Dan Rather's Foresaken Other at February 18, 2010 02:16 PM

It's forsaken, not "foresaken," you insufferable right-wing twit.

Posted by: Edito Ratlarge at February 18, 2010 04:50 PM

And all this time I thought it were foresook!

Happy 453rd anniversary Mr. Other than Other, IF that is your real name.

Posted by: Snagglepuss at February 18, 2010 08:45 PM

This is my husband and my fourteen-year dating anniversary, and our 2-year 5-month (minus a week or two) wedding anniversary as well. Would I marry him again? Absolutely. I thank God every day that I was smart enough to hang on to him when we first started dating so many years ago. :)

Posted by: colagirl at February 19, 2010 01:20 PM

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