This Philly Woman Is Making Documentary About India’s “Marriage Cops”

A woman and her husband talk to the marriage cops.

A woman and her husband talk to the marriage cops.

When you and your spouse have a big problem that you can’t resolve, you might go to a marriage counselor or just get divorced. But that’s not so simple in a place like India. So one town came up with a novel idea: Marriage cops. South Philadelphia filmmaker Cheryl Hess stumbled upon these female police officers who resolve marital problems, and now she’s making a documentary about it. Her team currently has a Kickstarter campaign going to finish the editing, and we called Hess and asked her to tell us all about it. Read more »

Pope Francis Makes It Easier to Annul Catholic Marriages


Pope Francis today announced plans to reform the way Catholics can end their marriages, a sweeping change that streamlines the annulment process and makes it easier for Catholics to remarry.

The Catholic Church does not permit divorce. But it has, believe it or not, a bit of a loophole: Catholics can get an annulment, a finding by a Catholic tribunal that a marriage was never legally valid in the first place. Grounds for annulment are laid out in the Catholic Church’s canon law.

The new annulment rules — which go into effect on December 8th — streamline the process. They eliminate the automatic second review that all annulments currently go through, and allow some couples to go through a “fast track” where the local bishop could declare a marriage annulled in just two months. Pope Francis biographer Austen Ivereigh told Time it’s the most sweeping change to the annulment process in more than 300 years. Read more »

There’s Good Cheating and Bad Cheating — Here’s How to Tell the Difference


There’s been a lot of gleeful moralizing surrounding the Ashley Madison hack. I assume those who are gloating have never cheated on a lover, never struggled with temptations. If so, good for them. I suppose they’re entitled to a little schadenfreude. But given the puritanical, absolutist thinking (people who are on the website = bad. People who aren’t = good), I’m not sure they understand how websites like Ashley Madison are used. They may not, in fact, understand subtleties around sexual desire and romantic love. Relationships are complex. Monogamy is hard. There are many reasons people choose to have sex outside of their primary relationship, and they’re not all bad. In fact, I’d venture to say there’s good cheating and bad cheating, and it’s fairly easy to tell the difference. How do I know? Well, I’ve done both. So let me break it down. Read more »

Thousands of Philadelphians Could Have Online Affairs Exposed

Hackers have broken into the database of cheating website and are threatening to publicly release information about the site’s users — an act that could affect thousands of Philadelphians who have reportedly signed up for the site in recent years.

TribLive reports that as many as 600,000 Pennsylvanians could have information exposed; in Philadelphia, as many as 210,000 residents had reportedly used the site at one point, with 30,000 signing up in 2012 alone. Read more »

Picking the Right Husband for Your Career


In the modern age, finding someone with whom we can share the rest of our lives is about so much more than butterflies and the sweetness of true love. With people jamming so much into their busy lives, compatibility is also about the achievement of personal and professional goals, and aligning with someone who can help make those goal attainable — or, at least, not get in the way.

For reasons fair and unfair, children are often cited as a roadblock that can inhibit the progression of a woman’s professional ascent. There is, of course, the professional pushback on women who decided to have children — their careers are maligned by fewer opportunities and less pay.

But a new study by Harvard Business School’s Robin Ely and Colleen Ammerman and Hunter College sociologist Pamela Stone suggest it’s not the children online who are the problem. It’s the partners that women choose.

Read more »

On Marriage, Part II: Ali Velshi and Lori Wachs

Photograph by Robert Schroeder

Photograph by Robert Schroeder

ALI [Al Jazeera America host]: We’ve been married five years. We met on my show.

LORI [president, cross ledge investments]: It was my first time ever on TV.

ALI: I’m not usually here [at home in Bryn Mawr] during the week. I have an apartment in New York. On Fridays I get on a 9 p.m. train from Penn Station, and I pull up at 10:50 p.m. in Bryn Mawr. And I usually leave Sunday night again. It’s great. It’s like date night all the time.

LORI: A fair amount of events that Ali’s involved with come up during the week. I certainly don’t go to all of them, but if there’s one that’s important, I’ll run up for it. And it becomes date night. Read more »

On Marriage, Part I: Ralph and Suzanne Roberts

Courtesy of the Roberts family.

Courtesy of the Roberts family.

SUZANNE: We’ve been married for 72 years. You need a wonderful love — and a super sex life. But when you get up in your 90s, sex becomes a wish. So you need a sense of humor. You have to realize that bad things are inevitable, so if you can learn to appreciate the good things, and use humor to get through the bad, you’re going to be pretty okay. He can make me laugh. Even now, we remind each other every night how lucky we are to have each other. And we never go to sleep without a kiss.

RALPH: With each other, that is. [laughs]

SUZANNE: What’d he say?

RALPH: That’s the sense of humor.

SUZANNE: And saying “I love you.” In addition, we share a banana. Someone once told us that the potassium in bananas would help prevent leg cramps during the night, and we found that advice has been very good. We’re at that point where it’s not “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” That might have been true some years ago, but today it’s different. It’s appreciation of every moment you have. Read more »

Au Contraire, Marriage is For You

wedding knot

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First thing’s first: I’m sure that Seth Adam Smith is a really, really nice guy. If you’ve seen the pictures on his website and read his writing, it’s clear that Smith has got a kind of earnest, freshly scrubbed All-American handsomeness, along with an intense desire to be a Good Man that one finds in really popular youth pastors. It’s a combination of qualities that is winning and should take him far in life.

But man, I cannot stand his most popular piece of writing. You’ve probably read it. It’s a blog post titled “Marriage Isn’t For You,” and in the last week it’s been linked in a million Facebook timelines, been featured on the Today show, and generally been applauded as a font of wisdom about what marriage should be.

Only: It’s not.

Read more »

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