Author Archive

Husbands, Rate Your Wives (social norms from the 1930’s)

Husbands, rate your wives is an article from the American Psychological Association (APA) that shows an interesting glimpse into the social norms of the 1930s—and early attempts to improve marriages through scientific assessment and matchmaking.

“Some of psychology’s most interesting artifacts reflect not only the zeitgeist of the times but the personalities of the psychologists behind them. One such example is the “Marital Rating Scale—Wife’s Chart,” a test developed in the late 1930s by George W. Crane, MD, PhD, (1901–95) of Northwestern University, who ran a counseling practice, wrote a syndicated national newspaper column called “The Worry Clinic” and started his own matchmaking service.”

marital scale test

Husbands, rate your wives
By Nick Joyce and David B. Baker, PhD
Monitor on Psychology Volume 39, No. 5 May 2008 (p.1

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Share your reactions to this article with us.

Sometime it helps to gain perspective on your life by looking at history. Here are the expectations (demands?) a doctor/counselor had of wives 70 years ago.

Share your thoughts on this with us.

With care and concern,

Dr. Bea Mackay

Methods For Changing Your Relationships

I found an article called Methods For Changing Your Relationships from MentalHelp.net that highlights the dilemma many people face when unhappy with their relationship.

According to the authors: “There are essentially two different kinds of relationship problems. Either people do not have sufficient relationships (or sufficient quality of relationships), or they have relationships, but those relationships are conflicted in some manner so that they don’t satisfy, or are a source of pain.”

The poor quality relationship, and the conflicted/painful relationship, is hard to live with because they often lead to pain and loneliness. We have identified a list of symptoms of a troubled relationship in another post and this can be a good way to reflect on your own situation. And, the B-sort tool we provide on this site also provides feedback you can use to evaluate your own unique situation.

“Some people stay in such relationships and make due with their pain, while others leave and face a different sort of difficulty; that of finding new relationships that will work out better.”

This can be a hard time to make a decision. You may have decided that you want to make a positive change in your relationship situation — either a fresh start with someone new or to repair and improve your existing one. Either way, you’ll have to be willing to do some personal work and be nice to another person! Most people already know what this means because it comes so naturally during the courtship phase. But being nice can be difficult to do if other negative relationship patterns have taken hold.

Also, many people find themselves conflicted and they oscillate between wanting to leave, and wanting to fix, their relationship. This pattern also can make it difficult to reach a decision about what to do and how to take action in order to change it. One pattern that anyone can use to help improve their relationship is to make many small ‘nice’ gestures to your partner, and do it often, rather than making the occasional intense expression. These minor interactions are bids for connection and they are an important part of maintaining a good quality of relationship and helping to minimize conflict.

The conclusion of the article? “What sets … regular satisfied types apart from other less-satisfied people are their mastery of social skills” — and that involves knowing how to connect with your partner, making those bids for connection often, and simply knowing how to be nice.

Chapter 8 : Methods For Changing Your Relationships
From Mental Health.net’s online Self-Help Resource
Written by: Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. and Jolyn Wells-Moran, Ph.D.

Reader Comment: Longing For Love

Dear Dr.B,
I have been single for over 10 years having had a somewhat meaningful marriage with 3 wonderful grown children. Apart from explaining HOW the marriage dissolved, I am perplexed of just how the dating game evolves when you are all of a sudden in your 6th decade!! I feel like I am a normal kind of girl….I am young at heart,educated and successful in business, nice looking,resourceful,entertaining, and always looking for new opportunities to challenge me.
I have tried professional dating services in the past, including even Internet dating sites. Only by coaxing! My question is simply this…..are there no real honest men “out there” actually interested in persuing a friendship, maybe leading into something more meaningful?
Am I too powerful, too accomplished, too independent? Do men my age,these days ,only need someone to pick up their smelly socks? ….or needing to show off a “trophie” half their age?
Please give me guidance on whether I should ‘change’ my first impression of myself to suit them? No, I’d say.That would backfire. Am I too picky? What are the ‘golden’ boys looking for, and how can I be more marketable?
I also don’t believe I HAVE to have a man in my life, or be married, to be complete. I simply WANT a strong and genuine relationship to enhance my retired and best years of my life…with no game playing…
Signed, Concerned and Frustrated.

Dear Longing for Love,

It’s true that finding love is difficult. In late teens and 20s there is a large pool of people to choose from. As we age that pool gets smaller and smaller. There are many good men ‘out there’ that you would not want to be romantically involved with because you just don’t ‘click’ with them. It is very difficult to find someone that you want to live that intimately with for the rest of your life. Even younger people these days are finding it difficult to find ‘the one’ and many are settling for ‘the one right now’. For a woman in her 60’s the pool of potential partners is small. There are many mature women who are vibrant, interesting and fun yet are single, not by choice but because they cannot find partners. It is good that you do not NEED a partner. You are more likely to find one.

If you have not done so already, you might consider relationships from your past – someone you once ‘clicked’ with. Many people are reconnecting with former lovers and re-finding love. The divorce rate for people who were sweethearts and/or lovers 15-20-30 years ago and marry is only 3-4%.

Be open to a relationship. Ask your good friends to give you feedback as to whether or not you act open. Sometimes we think we are open when we are not.

Keep doing what you are doing – engaging in activities that you enjoy, exploring the dating sites and connecting with other interesting people, male and female. That way you continue to live life to the fullest and have more chance of meeting someone, or a friend of someone, who enjoys life the way you do.

Good luck,

Dr. Bea Mackay

Do it Yourself Relationship Help at B-Sort.com