NEWS FROM NEIL
Dumping the ‘Soul Mate’
A recent university-sponsored survey of 20-something men and women found that 90 percent believe that when you marry, you want your spouse to be your soul mate, first and foremost. I used to agree with this statement. Now I think it’s dangerous.
I came to this conclusion while surveying 360 husbands for my latest book, VoiceMale, including dozens of men who had been married for 50 years or more. What did they have to say about soul mates? Stop trying to find one, and start doing what it takes to develop one. Indeed, you don’t have a soul mate at the beginning of a marriage; you create one over the course of a marriage.
According to these long-married men, soul-mate status comes not just from sharing euphoric moments, but from enduring tragedy and disillusionment as well. Together, soul mates suffer money problems, and health crises, and seasons without sex. Sometimes they even fall out of love for a time.
One of the wisest men I interviewed was a man named David Popenoe of New Jersey. When we spoke, he was 71 years old, and had been married for 44 years. Popenoe offered what may be the best advice I heard for those who are determined to have a soul mate relationship sometime in their lives: Spend less time trying to find the right mate, and more time trying to be the right mate.
How to Mark Father’s Day – When Your Father is Gone
Half of Americans do not have a living father. Yet each year, the media seem to ignore this. They focus on giving gifts and sending cards and making the phone call home. But what if your father has died? What if there’s no one to receive the gift or card or call?
In the course of writing FatherLoss, I asked men who had lost their fathers how they felt on Father’s Day each year, and what (if anything) they did to mark the day.
Interestingly, many men said that at first they were relieved on Father’s Day – especially if they had a troubled relationship with their dad. They didn’t have to come up with a gift idea, or make small talk on the phone.
Eventually, however, most men experienced some sadness on the day. Here’s what some of them do on that day now:
1) Look through albums with photos of their father
2) Listen to music their father loved
3) Use their father’s tools in a workshop or backyard
4) Cook their father’s favorite meal
5) Say a toast to, or a prayer for, their father
6) Go to a ballgame, or other activity, they used to do with their dad
7) Enjoy being a dad themselves
Where do men meet
the women they marry?
- At school: 24 percent
- At a social event: 18 percent
- Introduced by friends: 18 percent
- At work: 14 percent
- At a bar: 6 percent
- In a religious setting: 4 percent
- On-line: 1 percent
- Other: 15 percent
Source: VoiceMale Survey of 288 American husbands, conducted by University of Kentucky Survey Research Center. Reprinted from page 22 of VoiceMale (Simon & Schuster) by Neil Chethik
Set your TiVo or DVR for NBC’s “Today” show on Monday, June 18. Neil is scheduled to appear on a segment about “Summer Dads” – divorced fathers who have custody of their kids for the summer. It’ll be Neil’s second appearance on one of the Big Three networks. See his appearance last year on ABC’s “Good Morning America”.
This summer, Neil will be speaking in numerous cities, including Washington D.C., New York City, Denver, Phoenix, and San Francisco. Click here to see details of his speaking schedule. If you are a member of an organization and would like to consider Neil as a speaker, click here.