Tag Archives: marriage

Marriage, Children, and Surnames

In most countries around the world it is convention that the wife take the husband’s surname at marriage. It is equally conventional for a child to then also take this same name. Evolutionary psychology is the reason behind this phenomenon, as discussed briefly in the book Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters.

One of the author’s reflects further on this idea in a number of posts looking at why wives and children take their husband/father’s last name.

Nature may or may not help the father convince himself of his paternity by making the baby (kind of) resemble the father rather than the mother. However, […] people (especially maternal kin) appear to help, by telling the father that the baby resembles him, regardless of whether it does or not. […] After all, the maternal kin, unlike the paternal kin, have no interest in finding out the truth. They know that the baby is genetically related to the mother for sure – there is no such thing as maternity uncertainty – and all they want is to make sure that the father is convinced of his paternity enough to invest in the offspring, regardless of whether or not he is the actual genetic father.

The convention of giving the child the father’s last name is another means for the mother and her kin to convince the father of his paternity.

How To Destroy a Marriage

In response to Dr Rob Dobrenski’s article on why marriages fail (linked previously), The Last Psychiatrist looks at various “post-marriage accelerators of divorce”—things you can do today to destroy your marriage (limited time offer):

  • Be contemptuous
  • Bring your work home (emotionally)
  • Rush through your ‘family life’ in order to spend time with yourself
  • Be painfully honest with friends/colleagues about your relationship
  • Communicate through your kids
  • Refill hedonistic supplies (“look elsewhere for affirmation of identity”)

TLP compiled this list because he felt that Dr Dobrenski’s article focused more on “reasons [that] are generally of the type ‘unrealistic expectations’ or at least ‘the wrong impression.’   In other words, the marriages failed not because of what went on in the marriage, but because people were oriented wrong before they even got married.”

Why Marriages Fail

Dr Rob Dobrenski of Shrink Talk has an absolutely fantastic post on reasons why marriages fail. These are the seven he felt worthy of note:

  1. Marriage requires compatibility not just at the point of saying ‘I do,’ but across the entire life span.
  2. Assuming that marriage implies monogamy, the institution itself is counterintuitive to biology.
  3. There is far too much emphasis on ‘weddings’ as opposed to ‘marriages.’
  4. Many couples do not know how to fight fairly.
  5. Marriages [don’t] solve problems.
  6. People settle for less than what they want.
  7. Couples assume they are immune to reasons 1-6 and believe that hard work isn’t part of the deal. They think that love, sex, children or some combination thereof will be enough.

On the topic of marriage I found this recapitulation of John Molloy’s Why Men Marry Some Women And Not Others interesting (and a little ridiculous).