Monthly Archives: August 2012

Why Is the Divorce Rate So Low?

No, that is not a typo in the title. I am asking why the divorce rate is not higher. Why am I asking this question? Because my husband and I are about to celebrate our 36thanniversary and I am absolutely amazed that anybody makes it this long without divorcing. Or committing homicide.

 

 

First let me disabuse you all of the common myth that the divorce rate is 50%. This is just plain not true, but like most myths, it gets repeated so often, with absolute certainty on the part of the person saying it, that we all believe it. This frequently quoted statistic is based on comparing the number of marriage certificates issued in any given year with the number of divorces filed in that year. That number indeed hovers around 50%, because the number of people GETTING MARRIED has been going down at the same rate as the number of people getting divorced.

 If we count the number of people who are STILL MARRIED in any given year and compare that number to the divorces, we get a very different picture. To get that statistic, however, requires a more complicated and costly process, so it’s only done about every ten years. This data, by the way, is collected by the Center for Disease Control. So I want to know, which is the disease, marriage or divorce? I’m assuming the latter.

 But I digress.

 When calculated this way–comparing those getting divorced to those still married–the divorce rate in the U.S. peaked in 1979 at 23% and it has been going down very, very gradually ever since. These days it hovers around 20%. Much better odds than 50-50!

 I am a psychologist by the way, and I teach developmental psychology, but if you don’t want to believe me, here are some links to check out. Those of you who could care less about these statistics, jump ahead to the good stuff further down.

 Good article on the topic at PsychCentral:

http://psychcentral.com/lib/2012/the-myth-of-the-high-rate-of-divorce/all/1/

 Charts and study from Center for Disease Control:

 

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_23/sr23_028.pdf

 

Anyway, so why am I saying the divorce rate is surprisingly low, if it’s actually a lot lower than everybody thinks it is?

 Because it just isn’t all that easy to stay married for decade after decade. First we’ve got that whole men-and-women-don’t-really-understand-each-other thing going on. This is mostly because women, in general, like to process things, especially their feelings, out loud. Men are more inclined to mull things over in their own heads. Also men are more action-oriented; they like to fix things. (More on these differences in a later post.)

 She says: What’s wrong, honey?

He says: Nothin’.

She says: Come on, I can tell something’s wrong. What’s wrong?

He says: Nothin’. I’m fine.

She says: Is it me? Did I do something?

He says (through gritted teeth): Nothing. Is. Wrong.

 She says: Something really upsetting happened at work today.

He thinks (cuz if he’s been married for very long, he’s hopefully learned not to say it): Cut to the chase so I can tell you how to fix it.

She says: Yada, yada, yada, yada…

He nods off.

She gets pissed.

 Neither approach is right or wrong; they’re just different. But we don’t get that these differences exist and we keep expecting our mates to react to things the way we do. And then we get hurt and/or angry when s/he doesn’t understand where we’re coming from.

 Okay, now throw the stress of parenthood into the marriage mix. Are we clueless about what we are getting into there, or what? But then again, if we weren’t clueless, the species would have died out by now. If we knew in advance how hard parenting is, nobody would do it!

 
 This is me at three months old; would you look at that hair!

 

Then we’ve got the whole aging process (more on this next week, cuz I’ve got a birthday coming up, and it’s a biggie!) And the fact that people change over time, as they experience new and different things. We don’t always change at the same rate or in the same ways as our partners do, however.

 

It takes a lot of work to stay on the same wavelength. And we should keep in mind that marriage was invented back when the average lifespan was twenty-five years! As recently as the early 1900’s, one partner or the other was bound to die after a couple of decades–from childbirth, disease or a cattle stampede. And I can’t help but suspect that, before the days of modern forensics, a certain number of household accidents were early versions of a Reno-quickie divorce.

 

So how have hubby and I made it this long? First, you’ve got the making-the-right-choice-to-begin-with factor. We lucked out here, or perhaps it was divine intervention, because I had definitely dated my share of losers before he came along.

 

The most important part of making that right choice is marrying someone who shares your values. You don’t have to have all the same interests or even come from the same background or ethnic group. But you do need to care about the same things in life. And fortunately we do.

 

Probably the single most important factor in surviving marriage over the long haul is communication. You gotta talk to each other, every day, about the little stuff and the big stuff, and about how you feel about things. It’s real easy to get out of the habit of doing this, or to decide that a certain subject is just too painful, or will start a fight, so you don’t go there.

 

Study after study has found that the single most important factor in marital satisfaction is that both spouses consider their partner to be their best friend.

 

So Happy Anniversary to my best friend! I hope we have many more, but I’m not taking anything for granted, because marriage is hard work.

 

 

 

When you stop laughing at hubby’s funny-looking tuxedo, please let me know what you think are the important aspects of keeping a relationship strong?

 

 (Kassandra Lamb is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.)

ALASKA, LAND OF THE FREE

Breathtakingly beautiful. Those are the words that come to mind now whenever I think about Alaska. I have traveled a fair amount in my life but I have seen only a very few places that can rival Alaska in beauty.

 Bald eagles are plentiful, a fitting symbol for this state, where wide-open spaces and rugged individualism are also prevalent. The people couldn’t have been nicer. We felt welcomed wherever we went and it didn’t feel phony, like they were just glad to see our wallets, not us.

 The Tlingit tribe were the original natives of the areas we visited, and they have a strong presence today, both in numbers and in influence on the culture. They are proud to show off their heritage through dancing, story-telling and crafts. Totem poles abound and are still being carved by artists today. We learned that these poles were originally kind of like painting your name on your mailbox, only much more elaborate and, well, beautiful. The animals on the pole tell the world what clan and families the residents of that household come from.

 Here’s a very old one, with a current work in progress behind it. And yes, that is a miniature Abe Lincoln on the top. (Hubby’s the guy in the blue shirt.)

Our trip started in Anchorage and from there we traveled by glass-covered train through miles of wilderness to Seward. We were captivated by one breathtaking view after another.

The next day our cruise ship docked in Juneau. This city is built into the side of a mountain and the tram ride up to the top was, you guessed it, breathtaking. Sorry, it’s the word that just keeps coming up, no pun intended. 🙂

 One can only reach Juneau, the capital of Alaska, via boat or plane. I thought this rather ridiculous in this day and age, until I learned that it is surrounded on three sides by a humongous ice field many miles deep, and on the fourth side is water. Thus, no roads in or out. Nothing brings home the power of Mother Nature quite like a glacier. This is the Mendenhall glacier, just a few miles outside of Juneau. The chunks of ice that break off are called ‘calves.’

 Our second favorite port of call was Skagway, a town at the northernmost tip of the Inside Passage, which is a series of inlets off the Gulf of Alaska. There we were introduced to the gold rush era of Alaska via an amusing mock-up of Liarsville, USA. Apparently during the gold rush, the members of the press were put off by the daunting journey into the snow-covered mountains of gold country. So they set up shop at the foot of the mountains and made up their stories that they sent back to their papers in the lower 48. Liarsville was also the last place that aspiring gold miners could stock up on supplies, get that sore tooth pulled and satisfy that last itch with a buxom prostitute, before the long cold trek into the wilderness.

I had a heck of a time deciding on just a few pictures to show you from Liarsville. My husband voted for the buxom prostitute, with dollar bills tucked into her cleavage, but I decided our bus driver deserved to be immortalized. He just looks scary; he was actually quite nice. 

 Skagway also exhibited the influence of the Russians in its architecture, and a quirky sense of humor in its sidewalk art.

Our all-time favorite port of call was the delightful little town of Ketchikan, where we discovered a bunch of shops, a bit off the beaten path along a canal. Even hubby got into shopping for souvenirs and smoked salmon.

 After another day of gorgeous scenery along the Inside Passage, we docked in Vancouver, British Columbia.

We plan to go back to Alaska soon to explore Denali National Park, and maybe even brave the cold of the north up past the Arctic Circle.

 Have you been to Alaska? Or other places that inspired you? How about the Grand Canyon. Check out mp author, Shannon Esposito’s recent trip to that awe-inspiring monument to Mother Nature!

 Share with us some of the places you have been that awed and inspired you.

 *This is the first in a new series on the misterio press blog, People and Places. Also coming soon, a series on what readers really care about in fiction.

Diamons and Demons

“A daimon is something which is imaginary and real at the same time – a construct of the human mind.”
— Riga Hayworth
The concept of the daimon is tricky.  Look it up online, and you’ll most likely be routed to a bunch of sites on demons.  Traditionally, daimons are defined as the entire pantheon of supernatural entities, which act as intermediaries between our world and the otherworld.  Fairies, angels, ghosts, lake monsters, demons…  all may be classified as daimons.
The bigger question, and one Riga Hayworth struggles with in The Alchemical Detective, is what aredaimons?  Where do they come from?
In his writings on UFOs, Carl Jung theorized daimons were either objects manifested or projected by our unconscious, or real objects that people projected their unconscious content upon.  But in any case, they were both real and imaginary at the same time.
If this sounds impossible, then consider quantum mechanics, and the theory of quantum superposition.  It holds that electrons exist partly in all their theoretically possible, i.e. imaginary states, at once, but when observed, they appear in one state… the expected one.  If quantum theory holds true, the very building blocks of life are both imaginary and real. 
Riga’s no scientist – she’s a metaphysical detective, and in The Alchemical Detective, she encounters daimons and demons that pack very real punches.  As a metaphysical detective, Riga seeks paranormal first causes, the why behind the what.  She knows there’s something out there beyond ourselves, and she wants to understand it, but she knows that at some level, a complete understanding is impossible.  Mystery is inherent in the daimonic realm, and the harder we look for answers, the more quickly they slip from our grasp.
About the Author:
Kirsten Weiss is the author of two paranormal mysteries available on the Kindle: the urban fantasy, The Metaphysical Detective, andThe Alchemical Detective.  She is hard at work on the sequel, The Shamanic Detective. 
Kirsten worked overseas for nearly fourteen years, in the fringes of the former USSR and deep in the Afghan war zone.  Her experiences abroad not only gave her glimpses into the darker side of human nature, but also sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives.
Now based in San Mateo, CA, she writes paranormal mysteries, blending her experiences and imagination to create a vivid world of magic and mayhem.
Kirsten has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer reruns and drinking good wine. 
Read a sample chapter of her books or check out her blog at http://kirstenweiss.com.  You can follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/RigaHayworth