Thursday, February 09, 2006

And The Survey Says

A new study shows that altruistic love is related to happier marriages. I read this with interest being married to a very giving person who washes all the dishes and is a great cook. (Hey, I do all the laundry and am a fanatic duster and cleaner of dog fur!!) I also share the cooking, but I’m not sure that this is what the article is really talking about. However, these are the issues often seen in many marriages, besides the usual stressors around money, sex and power.

The article looked at empathy; who has it, who doesn’t and who is willing to give a kidney or take a bullet if needed. Findings indicate that those marriages where one partner places the other person first seem to have a higher success rate. I guess the marriages where one spouse is secretly dating other people is considered less empathetic and altruistic, and is a marriage deal-breaker for a lot of folks.

Here are a list of findings and my commentary on the side:
“Smith also analyzed empathy, described as feeling protective of others or concerned for the less fortunate. Some of the findings:
• Women have a greater feeling of empathy than men. (Well, I think most people would go along with this one. However, it’s important to note that there are a lot of non-empathetic women out there at least once a month.)
• Children from two-parent homes are more empathetic. (Unless there is domestic violence going on in the home, emotional abuse, neglect of the children, drug abuse and/or alcoholism. Some kids in bad situations become really empathetic, others don’t, but may role model the abuser.
• Girls raised by a single father are the least likely to develop empathy. (No mother to role model empathy?)
• Financial status bears little on altruism or empathy. (Agree with this one…emotional development is not dependent on your pocketbook, race, or religious views, with the exception of those religions that favor child sacrifice.)
• People who vote are more empathetic and altruistic. (Disagree with this one, after all, I assume Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfield both vote.)
• Empathy is higher among those who fear crime. (Those who fear crime may have had first hand experience with the pain of being a crime victim.)
• Empathy is higher among those who support increased spending on social programs.“ (Where this gets confusing is when you look at those who don’t want ANY spending on social programs, and who vote that way.)


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