How our not-so-better halves leave us with their bad habits
'Men are usually the bad influence'
I did a post yesterday at Orphans of Liberty, about how society views couples who have chosen not to have children. In particular, the widely held view that once married, the next logical step is to breed, and how those who choose not to can be viewed with disdain by others.
There is another aspect of modern relationships that also tethers my goat and that is the inbuilt desire of one partner to mould the other into their image.
I lay the blame for this firmly at the feet of the media. If you watch any of the TV for the masses soap operas and observe the relationships played out therin, you will notice one partner, usually the female, constantly moaning and complaining that the actions of the male don't fit in with their expectations.
This is then played out in all the relationships that I see around me. Once married, the male lifestyle must then change to match the female lifestyle. There is no compromise or room allowed for two personalities within the one relationship.
I grew up with the belief that I would probably never get married. I have a strong personality that I wont allow to be moulded by others. By contrast, all the other males in the Bucko family are firmly under the thumb of their wives, including both those who were born Buckos and those that married a Bucko woman.
Also, I don't believe in moulding the personality of others to fit my world view. I was very surprised when I met Mrs Bucko; another person with a strong personality who wont be changed by others and who never tried to change me.
Now we have a very good marriage. It involves a relationship between two individuals, not one integrated personality fighting it's own dual purpose.
The Daily Mail however, disagrees with our position. We should apparently, not be tolerating each others idiosyncrasies, but trying to change them. To me that is a recipe for divorce or a life of misery.
You may have married them for their sparkling conversation, good looks and sharp sense of humour.
But pay close attention to your spouse's less attractive qualities – because they're the ones that are going to rub off on you.
That's another problem with modern relationships. I would imagine you would marry because you are both deeply in love, not because you fancy someone or they make you laugh. Also, by the time you get married you should be well aware of your partners less attractive qualities.
When people get married, sometime after a brief relationship, they believe that life will pan out according to their desires. Once married they wake up next to another human being with wants, needs and desires of their own.
According to a study, once you've tied the knot you're likely to pick up your partner's bad habits.
Exchange vows with a heavy smoker or a junk food addict, therefore, and you're at risk of developing the same vice.
Or if you're an exercise fanatic who promises to love, honour and obey a couch potato, they'll probably convince you to stay on the sofa.
It's not really a very good measure of a person if they start smoking, change their eating habits or give up exercise simply because their partner does it.
Me and Mrs Bucko have different habits and different interests. These have not changed to match each other.
I hate to eat any kind of vegetable matter but I do eat a lot of salad. Mrs B views salad with disdain but eats mounds of carrots and green stuff.
When we have a takeaway I prefer curry and she like Chinese.
I play badminton and go clay pigeon shooting. She plays for two pub pool teams.
One of the reasons why our relationship is so strong is that we are not always in each others hair and we have different tastes. We can both go our own way when we want to and a cooked meal does not have to be two plates of the same to accommodate the tastes of one.
While previous studies have generally associated stable relationships with good health, researchers in the U.S. found that couples who walk down the aisle are likely to adopt one another's vices instead of helping each other to change.
Stable relationships are based on good health are they? Can two unhealthy people not have a stable relationship? And notice that line 'Helping each other to change'. This is just a reference to government health nannying on the micro scale. It's not about helping each other, it's about nagging. In a stable relationship, if one of the partners wants help they will ask for it and the other partner will be happy to oblige. In our earlier days I gave up smoking for five months. When I started again, a friend of mine told me it was Mrs Buckos fault for not giving up herself. I had to point out that it was entirely my doing because my heart wasn't in it. Mrs Bucko supported me 100% when I gave up and when I started again. If I had bullied her to give up, well that would just have been wrong. Her heart wouldn't have been in it either and it could have caused unnecessary strain.
And it's men who are almost always identified as the 'bad influence' on their other halves.
Of course it is because women don't have any bad habits do they? I think men are identified as the bad influence because traditionally women do most of the nagging while men are happy to live and let live. It's the old toilet seat story. Women complain about men leaving the toilet seat up, but men never complain that women are always leaving the toilet seat down.
Professor Corinne Reczek, who led the study at the University of Cincinnati, said: 'The finding that one partner is a direct bad influence suggests individuals converge in health habits across the course of their relationship, because one individual's unhealthy habits directly promote the other's unhealthy habits.'
Corrine? Does that sound like a woman to you. Does she not make any allowance for the fact that healthy habits may rub off just as much as unhealthy ones. Healthy people, those who make a point of eating healthy foods and taking regular exercise make a conscious effort to do it. Is that kind of person likely to give up their good efforts simply because a partner doesn't also do it, or are their efforts more likely to influence a partner (if not nagged) to make an effort themselves?
For example, she added, both partners would eat the fatty foods that the less health-conscious of the pair had purchased.
Do they not purchase food together? Are they not capable of making their own choices as to what they eat? I think they are.
The researchers carried out in-depth interviews with 122 men and women who were married or involved in long-term relationships.
The researchers reported that they noticed a 'discourse of personal responsibility' among the participants – meaning that if they observed their partner indulging in an unhealthy habit, they did not attempt to stop them, suggesting that they were complicit in sustaining their partner's vices.
Read that again. "Complicit in sustaining their partners vices". Lets be clear, making your own lifestyle choices is not a vice. Not badgering your partner to change their habits is not a bad thing. A relationship involves to individual people with two brains and two, often very different, needs in life.
To me, this study is not about how partners in a relationship are moulding each others lifestyle, rather than how they should be.
We are being constantly badgered by our nanny government and various health lobbies about how we shouldn't smoke, shouldn't eat fatty foods or salt, shouldn't drink alcohol and should lead active lifestyles.
It's not working. Smoking rates are not going down and people still choose to eat and drink what they want with regular monotony.
If the various, well funded health lobbies cannot achieve results, why not encourage our partners to start to start nagging and nannying us. If they can't get results on a society level, let's bring the pressure into the home.
I like a drink at weekend. Mrs Bucko isn't bothered so much. Last night I flattened a case of bitter while we put up some kitchen cabinets, she had a brew. Tonight she is going into town with some girlfriends and I am going to have a night on the couch with a film where I will probably flatten another cases of bitter.
We don't nag and we don't judge. That's why our relationship is still as strong, if not stronger than the day we got married.
And as for the health lobbies, you can keep your opinions to yourself, they won't have any effect on the Bucko household.