Speak Up

Marriage Benefits Male Health Most

Research Shows Happy Marriages Are Good for Health, Especially for Men

  • Happy Marriages Are Good for Health, Especially for MenHigh stress levels were best predictor of divorce.
  • 75% of those who died during sex were in an extramarital affair.
  • Men in good marriages had fewer illnesses than wives did.
  • Wives in bad marriages had more illnesses than husbands did.

The notion that marriage is good for your health received a recent boost from a 20 year longitudinal study of 90 married couples by researchers at Ohio State University. Professor Janice Kiecolt-Glaser and her colleagues at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine found that married couples who reported low levels of stress were less prone to illness than those who had conflict ridden marriages. The key to these results may lie in the effects of conflict on the immune system. The researchers reasoned that positive marital relations help people avoid stress. This means that marriage partners produce lower levels of the stress-related hormones, such as cortisol. Earlier research by the Ohio State group demonstrated that for long-term married people, lower cortisol levels correlated with lower risks of infectious diseases and possibly cancer.

Interestingly, when the couples in the present study were re-interviewed after 10 years, the researchers found that those who previously had higher levels of stress related hormones were more likely to get divorced (19%). In fact, having high stress levels was the best predictor of divorce. (Whether the partners gained in health as a result of divorcing remains an open question.)

Do husbands and wives benefit equally from a good marriage? The answer seems to be “no.” Men with good marriages had fewer illnesses than their wives. At the same time, among couples with bad marriages, the wives had more illnesses than the husbands.

Being married also has social benefits for both men and women. As Robert Johnson, Professor of Sociology at the University of Miami put it, “Marriage or being in a romantic relationship is a highly valued social status, so it will make people feel good about themselves because of the value society places on it.” At the same time, extra-marital sex may be life threatening. Kiecolt-Glaser cited a British study from 2002 that indicated that risk of heart attack during sex was lower for married couples than others. In fact, 75% of those who died during sex were engaged in an extramarital affair. Professor Kiecolt-Glaser suggested that sex itself is usually a mild form of exercise, but illicit sex may be stressful.

Source: Why a Good Marriage is Good – for Heart and Health by Howard Cohen,
Philadelphia Inquirer, February 27, 2005, pg. M2.

How To Be A Good Wife (1950s Style)

A Woman in the 1950'sHere’s an excerpt from a 1950s high school home economics textbook. If their mothers acted this way, small wonder they’re confused by us millennium women! Do you ever feel guilty because you can’t live up to this fantasy of the “Good Wife”?

  • Have dinner ready.
    Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.

  • Prepare yourself.
    Take fifteen minutes to rest so that you are refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.

  • Clear away the clutter.
    Make one last trip through the main part of the house. Gather up the books, toys, and newspapers. Dust the tables so that they appear clean. Your husband will feel that he has reached his haven of rest and order. Doing this for him will give you a lift also.

  • Today's WomanPrepare the children.
    Take a few minutes to wash their faces and hands. Comb their hair and change their clothes if it is necessary to make them look presentable to him. They are “God’s Creatures” and your husband would like to see them playing their part.

  • Minimize all noise.
    At the time of his arrival, eliminate all the noises of the washer, dryer, dishwasher, and vacuum. You’ve had plenty of time to do these things during the day. Don’t do them now. Encourage your children to be quiet. Be happy to see your husband. Greet him with a warm smile.

  • Do not greet your husband with problems or complaints.
    Don’t complain when he is late for dinner. Count this as minor when compared to what he had to go through today.

  • Make him comfortable.
    Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest that he lie down for a few minutes in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.

  • Listen to him.
    You may have a dozen things to tell him but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him speak first.

  • Make the evening his.
    He is special! Never complain that he does not take you out to dinner or to other pleasant entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure, his need to unwind and relax. Remember that you relaxed all day waiting for his return. Now it’s his turn to enjoy what you enjoyed.

Try to make his home a place of peace and order,
a place where your husband can relax in body and spirit.

Passive Men and Wild, Wild Women

Men aren’t born passive.
Women aren’t born wild.
We just have that effect on each other … too often.

  1. When and why does a conversation become one-sided, or dissolve into conflict?
  2. How can you turn it around and stay sane?

Man’s Attitude

  • At work…
    the man is often active, articulate, assertive, and usually successful in his conversations, especially with other men.
  • At home…
    he can become inactive, inarticulate, and withdrawn. He becomes passive with his wife – especially in certain situation.

Woman’s Attitude

  • When the woman works outside the home, she tends to communicate in a more active way at home – and instinctively wants the same style from her mate.

His apparent passivity drives her crazy.

In the face of his further retreat, she goes wild. * Then he becomes more still, and escapes at the first opportunity.

How the Man Sees Her Attitude

  • In personal relationships, women often want too much talk, as men sees it.
    —She feels resentful, complains, keeps asking questions, talks more, may even act bitter.
  • He feels he can’t meet her needs and ends up feeling guilty and sulks.
  • They both end up blaming each other.
  • He thinks: If only she’d shut up.
  • She thinks: If only he’d talk to me.

How to Engage Men in Positive, Lively Conversation

Suggestion #1 –  “Stop Talking Sooner”

Communication between men and womenOr, less politely, “shut up sooner.” As a child my mother washed my mouth out with soap for saying “shut up” yet that’s sound advice for women in trying to connect with men. Women are usually immediately aware of our feelings, able to express them, usually comfortable in explaining, and asking, and elaborating… in considerable detail.

Our verbal agility can inadvertently create a wall, as women, if it gets us out of sync with men. At times, in personal, social and work situations, men and women will get closer if the speed of the conversation and the amount of words slows down.

When women feel that men are not listening, we tend to “rise” to the occasion by raising our voice and verbiage. That is we tend to say more, faster, more intensely and at a higher volume. It is as if we are thinking, “What I said and how I said it did not work so I will do more of what did not work, and expect a different outcome.”

Our pace in conversation is faster and more multi-dimensional. We rush past and around most men.

We need to allow a man to respond, a point at a time, at his pace, without interrupting or finishing his sentences.

If the strongest complaint women have about men is that they do not listen, then we must work hardest on leaving the time for them to  speak.*

Suggestion #2 – “Sidle”

While women prefer to talk, face-to-face, men pefer to sidle, standing side by side. Research shows that both women and men like each other more and get along better when standing or sitting side- by side.

Suggestion #3 – “Get Moving”

Any woman who wants better relations with a man should “walk it out:” talk while walking to the meeting, around the block, etc.

Further, when men and women are walking or eating together their body motions become more similar so they get more in sync. Even vital signs (heartbeat, skin temperature, eye pupil dilation) become more similar) so we are more likely to feel a natural, easy kinship. In motion we tend to experience the best, rather than the worst side in the opposite sex. That’s good news. Yes?

Suggestion #4 – “‘See’ the Situation Their Way”

Women crave longer and more continuous eye contact than men. To help men feel more comfortable let go of that unremitting eye gaze. Glance away sometimes as a man is inclined to do while thinking. His glance away does not necessarily mean avoidance so don’t act as if it does by a your harsh tone, words or glance. He may be trying to gather his thoughts.

More Peace-Keeping Suggestions for Women and Men


  • It is harder to argue when you are holding hands.
  • Know that showing appreciation and attention, especially when you least want to show them and the other person most needs them, will always bring you closer than asking for them.
  • First look to the other person’s positive intent as you hear what is said.
  • Saying less often gets you more of what you want from him.
  • Looking directly and warmly at her, rather than away, often brings out the part of her you most enjoy.
  • Making and keeping an agreement usually helps the other person feel more safe, respected and cared for in the relationship.
  • First try to act in a different and positive way before you verbally ask for a change in someone else.
  • First answer the other person’s question. Answer it directly, without preface, qualifiers, countering, second guessing, answering questions she or he did not ask or raising other points first.
  • Find out whether the other person feels you’ve answered her or his question or otherwise responded adequately before you move onto your question or another point or topic.
  • Rather than describing what you don’t like, ask for a specific change.
  • Be willing to make a change before asking for one.
  • Know that the more changes you ask for the more resistance you’ll face, and the more likely it will be for you both go to your heads to think, rather than to your hearts to feel.
  • Use factual language and few words to describe what you want changed.
  • Use emotion-laden language, and more words, to describe what you like in the other person.
  • Women: Say and move less, especially when you want to do the opposite
  • Men: Give her more eye contact. If you don’t feel comfortable answering her right away, tell her so directly. Then tell her when you will get back to her with a response.
  • In the middle of your hottest moments of discussion, remember what you most like in the other person and take the time to express it.


  • Don’t interrupt, especially when you most want to.
  • Do not answer a question with a question, including questioning that person’s question of you.
  • Showing resentment and resistance will most likely escalate the hardening of sides between you.
  • Don’t ask for more than one change at a time, unless you want them all ignored.

More Thoughts on the Still Man and the Active Woman:

Joseph Heller wrote a vivid passage about what this feels like for a man in his novel, “Something Happened”: “I try my best to remember on what terms (my wife) and I parted this morning, or went to sleep last night, in order to know if she is still angry with me for something I did or did not say or do that I am no longer aware of.  Is she mad or is she glad? I can’t remember. And I am unable to tell. So I remain on guard … “

Consequently his routine around her begins by being on guard, walking on eggshells, and hers is to speak out more, sooner, longer and wait for him to “get it”, to respond. When he doesn’t, she escalates her attack, gets more specific and detailed, motivated to get him to finally respond. He gets overwhelmed and tunes out sooner, longer and more frequently.

You see something gradually changed. The tenderness left. And tenderness is the lubricant in male/female love relationships. Early in a relationship men and women are innocent until proven guilty. We literally don’t see what we do not want to see and focus on what we adore. Later, after repetitive “passive men and wild, wild women” episodes of friction, each person is guilty until proven innocent, from the beginning. Because that is what we grow to expect of each other and act out to prove each other right.

The rules now? Whatever he does now is never enough. Right or wrong, he is always wrong. And so is she.


Kare Anderson is an Emmy-winning former NBC and Wall Street Journal reporter and author (http://www.sayitbetter.com) Her clients include Nomura Securities, Google, U.S. Secret Service and Venrock.

Are You Ready for Marriage?

Are You Really Ready for Marriage?

by Candace Bahr and Ginita Wall, CPA, CFP

Marriage is an enormous commitment. Before you take the big plunge, do a quick check to see if there is water in the pool. The following quiz can help you and your beloved assess your readiness for the responsibility of marriage and help you communicate about important issues from the beginning.

Print out two copies of this quiz and give one to your partner. Rate each item on a scale from 0 to 10 for yourself and then for your partner. For example, your score on question 7 might be a 10 — you have perfect credit and no financial baggage. You might rate your partner a 5 — he has fairly large debts or a history of financial problems. Or perhaps you think he’s a 0 — he just declared bankruptcy and has no idea where his next dollar is going to come from.

If your partner has some issues in one of these areas, allow him the time and space to resolve them before they become your problems. Remember the old saying, measure twice and cut once; it’s better to take a bit longer to be certain than to jump in and have to deal with the results later.

Also look for areas in which there is a difference between your perceptions of each other. If you think you’re a 10 and he thinks you’re a 2 in one area, it might be time for a pow-wow on that issue. Is he simply a perfectionist with high standards for everything? Or are you in denial of an important financial issue? Discussing these differences now, at the beginning, can save lots of misunderstandings later.

Rate each of you from 0 – 10 (10 being the best and 0 being the worst.)
My Partner

1. I know what I want.

I have a clear vision for our lives together. I have a clear picture of our goals that keeps me motivated to move forward.

2. I am happy and successful.

I enjoy my life, my work, my family, my friends, and my own company. I am living the life that I want, and I am getting married out of a desire for companionship, not desperation and need.

3. I have effective communication skills.

I understand relationships, can maintain closeness and intimacy, negotiate differences positively, allow myself to trust and be vulnerable, and can give and receive love without emotional barriers.

4. I am ready for commitment.

I have no emotional or legal baggage from a previous relationship. My schedule, commitments, and lifestyle allow me to build a new future.

5. I am satisfied with my career.

My work is fulfilling, supports my lifestyle, and is not too stressful. I enjoy my work, and maintain a comfortable balance between work and play.

6. I am healthy in mind, body, spirit, and pocketbook.

My physical, mental, emotional, or financial health does not interfere with having the life and relationship that I want. I am reasonably happy and feel good most of the time.

7. My financial and legal issues are under control.

I have no financial or legal issues that would interfere with my marriage. I am not expecting my partner to rescue me from my problems.

8. I understand my own money issues.

I understand my own money issues and I am working on them. I am striving to achieve balance in my financial life.

9. I am happy with the state of my financial affairs.

I am comfortable with my financial habits and have achieved a balance between spending and saving. I know where I am going financially and I am on track to get there.

10. My partner and I have discussed our financial issues.

My partner and I have discussed our financial styles, money issues from our childhoods, and our financial goals. We have formed an understanding of what our financial lives will be like.


  • Ginita Wall and Candace Bahr, co-authors of the book: “It`s More Than Money–It`s Your Life! The New Money Club for Women” from which they have excerpted this article.
  • Reprinted with permission of the Women`s Institute for Financial Education http://www.wife.org and http://www.moneyclubs.com Founded in 1988, WIFE is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing financial education for women. Copyright 2007

Published Article: Women's Perceptions of Aging

Published article abstract

Women’s Perceptions of Aging: Fears, Preferences and Concerns

O’Reilly, Nancy D., Thomlinson, Paul R., and Castrey, Margaret U

Presented July 28, 2004
American Psychological Association 2004 Annual Meeting
Honolulu, Hawaii


Given the paucity of existing research, the current study sought to map the terrain of women’s fears, preferences and concerns about aging. Nearly half of the sample surveyed, 1000 healthy primarily white women, said they feared getting older.

This fear was significantly associated with increased health concerns and abdominal problems; greater concern for appearance, and lack of confidence in future self-care ability. On average, participants indicated that they began to fear aging during their own previous decade of life.

Women in the 20–29 and 30–39 age cohorts had the highest rate of fear of aging, after which fear of getting older tended to decrease with subject age. Women aged 40–49 and 60–69 were most confident in their self-care ability.

Concerns about health problems and not having enough money were reported nearly three times as often as other concerns; and the patterns of concerns differed significantly by age and marital status. Implications for women’s health care, mental health, and self-care are discussed.

Beat Aging Anxiety

Do you worry about growing older? About half of women do. At the grocery checkout they see magazine covers of beautiful, young, glowing women. The images present an impossible, airbrushed ideal that can raise fears about wrinkles, weight, and losing in the desirability derby if her man compares her to these beauties.

And appearance is just the start! In fact, most women worry far more about money than about their looks. The struggle to fund single motherhood or a secure retirement worries many women.

Another huge anxiety issue for women is their health. Many saw their mothers and female relatives sicken and slide complaining into an unhappy twilight.

No wonder the women we talked to struggle to grow older gracefully.

What can you do?

First of all, stop the squirrel that is your mind from running round and round in the cage of anxious thoughts. Challenge your thinking and choose to focus on the things you can do something about.

Every woman’s body will change as the years pass.

Do the best you can with a healthy diet, hydration, good skin care, spiritual practice and physical activities you enjoy. After that, work on self-acceptance.

Face up to financial anxiety.

Take a hard look at your spending habits to find places you can save and begin to faithfully put that money into savings. If you truly have no pennies to spare, you might to increase your income, perhaps by improving your job performance, or even by acquiring more skills so you can get a better job.

Harness your health anxiety to develop good habits.

Monitor and screen regularly for health problems. But remember, experts say the majority of health problems plaguing Americans today are caused by poor lifestyle choices.

Get happy and feel great.

Start by identifying the single most important action you can take to fight your biggest worry, then get with your girlfriends to develop your strategies.

It’s your wonderful life and you deserve to enjoy it!

Are you afraid of getting older? You’re not alone!

Fully 45% of women admit to being afraid of aging, according to recent research. Societal pressures, watching our children grow, seeing our parents age, feeling our bodies change, all remind us — every day — of the passage of time.
Fear of aging is most common in women aged 20-39, yet even those in their 70s are not immune. It’s more common in women who are single or separated, but still affects more than 40% of married women. It’s important to face this fear, because it could undermine overall health and well-being.
When Licensed Psychologist Nancy O’Reilly turned 50, she found no books or resources to relieve her anxiety. So, she conducted her own research on women’s feelings and belief, gathering information from more than 1,000 women.
“Just knowing I’m not alone helps a lot,” Dr. O’Reilly says. “Too many of us feel that getting older is a character flaw to conceal instead of an accomplishment to celebrate.” Dr. O’Reilly published her research in the American Journal of Health Behavior and at the American Psychological Association Annual Meeting, 2004. The results of Dr. O’Reilly’s study feature words of fear and encouragement from real women.

Many more women fear getting older than are afraid of dying.

Our society has provided few positive role models to help ordinary women feel confident of their own value and future as they age. (Tips: Find role models. Seek older mentors. Reach out. Form a Red Hat Society. Meditate,  pray. )

Who’s afraid of getting older?

  • More than 45% of all women aged 20-78
  • Nearly 70% of separated women
  • Nearly 60% of women aged 20-29
  • Nearly 50% of women aged 50-59
  • Only 4% of all women are afraid of dying

Women keep their aging fears deeply buried.

They hide their fears even from closest family and friends. When Julia hit menopause early, she had no idea what was happening to her or how to cope. “It was not a happy, rose-filled adventure,” Julia recalls. “It was a rocky horror show in hell.” (Tips: Talk to relatives and friends. Tell daughters good things about getting older. Celebrate your greater wisdom and confidence.)

Surprise! Women’s greatest aging fear is not losing the look of youth.

Appearance ranks low on their priorities. Women have many products and services to help them look their best at any age. (Tips: Take care of your skin. Learn to use makeup. Find fashions that flatter. Use dermabrasion or plastic surgery if you wish.)

Concern about finances tops the list for women under 30.

Women usually earn less than men, and only partly because they take time off to raise families. Women need to get comfortable meeting their own needs. (Tips: Dream big. Envision the career and income you want. Focus on change. Learn a new skill. Volunteer. Pay yourself first.)

Health rises to first place by age 30 and stays there.

Women from 30 to over 70 say they are most concerned about health problems. (Tips: Exercise. Eat a healthy diet. Have regular screenings and checkups. Pay attention to your body. Love. Laugh.)

Denial is queen.

Most women could not identify any specific health concerns. They tend to put others’ needs first: “This can’t be a heart attack — I’ve got to make dinner!” (Tips: Learn your family history and talk with a doctor about your risks. Learn the warning signs for your risks. Take one small step toward prevention each day.)

Women often equate being thin with staying young.

Women who worry about getting older are more likely to diet than to exercise, even though exercise would help more. (Tips: Stop obsessing about your weight. Exercise with a friend. Buy clothes that fit you NOW, not when you lose 10 pounds. Change negative self-talk.)
This information drawn from

  • Dr. Nancy’s book: Timeless Women Speak: Feeling Youthful At Any Age

Are You Growing Up or Just Getting Older?

Emotional Maturity – Are You Growing Up or Just Getting Older?

Are you growing a little wiser each year as you grow older? If you are, you are not only getting older, you are also “growing up” and becoming more emotionally mature. With maturity comes the ability to better handle life’s challenges, enjoy life, and maintain rewarding relationships.

What are the characteristics of emotional maturity?

William C. Menninger, MD, psychiatrist and co-founder of the world-renown mental health center The Menninger Clinic in Houston, Texas, suggested that a person who is emotionally mature has:

  • The ability to face reality and deal with it constructively
  • The capacity to adapt to change
  • A relative freedom from symptoms that are produced by tensions and anxieties
  • The capacity to find more satisfaction in giving than receiving
  • The capacity to relate to other people in a consistent manner with mutual satisfaction and helpfulness
  • The capacity to direct instinctive hostile energy into creative and constructive outlets
  • The capacity to love
National Wellness Institute

Book Review from Boomer Women Speak

We are delighted to receive this great notice from one of the reviewers at The National Association of Boomer Women. Thank you Melinda for reading Timeless Women Speak in the method suggested by Dr. Nancy in the book.  The way you discuss how this  increased your understanding of the intent of the authors is insightful and important for other women readers. We appreciate your thorough, thoughtful review.
Read Melinda’s complete review below, or go to The NABBW website and check out other great information they have to share.
Timeless Women Speak: Feeling Youthful at Any Age
Author: Nancy D. O’ Reilly, PsyD and Margaret U. Castrey
Reviewed By: Melinda Cianos
In Feeling Youthful at Any Age the reader can expect to come face-to-face with the fear of aging. Revelations are not sugar-coated, they are realistic and no-nonsense, but they are also optimistic. Licensed psychologist Nancy O’Reilly and journalist Margaret Castrey endeavor to increase our understanding, awareness, and eventual acceptance of the aging process. They suggest going directly to the section dedicated to your particular age and then reading on to the age you will be entering before reading beginning to end. I did as I was told, began at the “forties” section, and found myself smack-dab in the middle of the book (how appropriate). Here I found the stories of several women who are facing changing bodies, hormone levels, and desires for their future. Their fears and impressions are candidly shared; Castrey and O’Reilly do a nice job allowing the voices of the forty-something women interviewed to resonate with the strength they’ve received from dispelling those fears.
Only when I read the book start to finish did I gain the clarity that I am sure was the authors’ intent: age after age, decade after decade, women’s concerns remain the same. We get the message that we are not alone in our struggle to learn how to truly love ourselves. Concerns are handled differently from woman to woman; comfort comes through the sharing of the failures and the successes so as women living in a less-than-gentle society we provide ourselves with the benefit of a collective courage. It was somewhat arresting to read about women in their twenties who are already harboring concerns about aging, already preparing to do battle with the threat of invisibility, yet I found the frankness with which the women relayed their perspective, whether it was entirely healthy or not, refreshing.

Smart amazing women – surprise!

On Timeless Women Radio, Dr. Nancy interviews smart amazing women who do not let their age or circumstances define them in any way. So I thought, “Why not put the power of the Internet to work helping find guests for us?” I created a Google alert for “smart amazing women” and sat back, expecting to see a flood of news about interesting,  wonderful potential guests flowing into my inbox. Disappointingly, only a few  notices arrived. Come to find out, “amazing” is usually associated with women only in Biblical references, or when a woman has an AMAZING body part, or the amazing beauty treatment that takes ten years off. Also in plot lines in the latest soap operas. So-o-o-o, let me know about smart amazing women doing interesting things in the areas of health, finances, relationships, staying youthful, and all the others things we care about.

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