Monday, June 05, 2006

What Men REALLY Think About Their Marriages

Men are more likely than women to prefer marriage over lifelong singlehood and in many ways are as interested in serious family relationships as women, according to a study that provides the federal government's first comprehensive glimpse into the male psyche.

The survey by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta involved more than 12,000 men and women ages 15 to 44. It asked a variety of questions about sex, living together, marriage, divorce and parenting.

This is the first time men have been included in the agency's study, which has been conducted periodically since 1973. The analysis, released Wednesday, focuses on their responses and offers some comparisons with women's attitudes.

For example, to the statement "It is better to get married than go through life single," 66% of men agreed, compared with 51% of women.

To the statement "It is more important for a man to spend a lot of time with his family than be successful at his career," 76% of men and 72% of women agreed.

"When asked about their attitudes about marriage and family and divorce, more men agree on the relationship of marriage," says Gladys Martinez, the study's lead author. "The majority agree it is better to get married, and few people agree that divorce is best."

Adds Michael Kimmel, sociologist at State University of New York-Stony Brook: "It's becoming a more sanguine picture of American masculinity." Other survey findings:

· 55% of men and 46% of women intend to have a child.

· Among fathers in their first marriage, 90% live with their kids, and say they are involved with them, from feeding to bathing to helping with homework and taking them to activities.

Neil Chethik, author of "VoiceMale: What Husbands Really Think About Their Marriages, Their Wives, Sex, Housework and Commitment," says the new data seem to mirror research he conducted in 2003 in conjunction with the University of Kentucky. Of the 360 men studied, more than 90% of married men said they would marry the same woman if given a chance to do it over again.

"Everything I've seen that has started to look at men more carefully shows that men are committed or dedicated," he said.