A decade ago, I became ordained in the Church of Latter-Day Dudes so I could officiate a wedding in Texas; it is, apparently, legal for the Dude to abide over the institution of marriage in that state.
But that was a different time, before an apathetic cosmic horror who craves nothing but worshipful death from his followers became an appealing alternative to the current leadership of several powerful nations. Which is why I've renounced by Dudeist vows, and am now ordained in the First United Church of Cthulhu.
In order to perform weddings, some states do require a letter of good standing from the local governing authority of your church; I learned this the hard way when I officiated a wedding in Massachusetts, and the governing authority for the Church of Latter-Day Dudes was characteristically lazy and unresponsive. Luckily, the website for the First United Church of Cthulhu offers clear instructions for this:
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You are the gibbering voice, the insanity-inducing dreaming mind blast, the writhing real world living tentacle of Cthulhu! As the head priest and exalted avatar of Cthulhu I ordain thee as a priest of Cthulhu. As such, you are granted by the power of Cthulhu to physically sign your own Letter of Good Standing. Or ordain a friend and have them sign it.
If you really need my signature as the Head Priest it's gonna run you $20. But that includes shipping and the cost of having it notarized. And I'm sorry your state sucks. You should really summon a few star-spawn and take care of that problem.
When Cambridge, UK resident Eve Paterson got married, she insisted that her dress and those of her bridesmaids would include pockets and belts; her friend Nell Gordon's tweets about it raced around the world as women everywhere celebrated the virtues of pockets and condemned the fashion industry for its deplorable, longstanding practice of denying women pockets.
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I wished this video had existed before my first (and, ahem, second) marriage. Live and learn, live and learn.
It's estimated that about half of marriages end in divorce. Why are so many people getting divorced, and how can you prevent splitting up with your spouse? We asked four divorce lawyers what they've learned in their practice on how to keep your marriage alive.
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If you want to erode the public's trust in the legal system, making a court house an unsafe place to be, even during what's supposed to be a joyful occasion, is a great place to start. Just ask Alexander Parker and Krisha Schmick: They went to a courthouse in Pennsylvania, intent on getting married. The pair had known one another since high school and it seemed like the right time. There was just one problem – Alexander's skin was brown and the judge he and his bride were to stand before was a raging bigot.
According to Newsweek, when Parker and Schmick stood before Judge Elizabeth Beckley in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, instead of presiding over their wedding ceremony, she called Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents to check out Parker.
Parker, originally from Guatemala, was adopted by American parents and brought to the United States when he was eight months old – he is legally allowed to be in the country. He has the paperwork to prove it, too. But for some reason, maybe because, I dunno, HE WAS GETTING MARRIED, he forgot the official documents that proved his right to be in the country at home. All he had on him was a Guatemalan identification card. Court staff, believing for some reason that the document was a fake, contacted ICE to check Parker out.
On his wedding day, when he should have been exchanging vows, Parker was answering questions. Instead of having a ring slipped on his finger, he was forced to provide fingerprints. Read the rest
Pro skateboarders Amelia Brodka and Alec Beck first met at the Vans Combi Bowl skatepark in Orange, California. Beck's recent marriage proposal to Brodka at that same skatepark is absolutely wonderful. Their joy is infectious. (via r/MadeMeSmile)
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Taco Bell will soon offer fully-catered weddings at its Las Vegas flagship restaurant. Key selling points of this elegant offering are that this Taco Bell Cantina location has a DJ booth, pours booze, and has big digital displays. The $600 wedding package includes:
• A ceremony in the chapel inside the restaurant with an ordained officiant within as little as four hours
• Private area for a reception inside the restaurant with up to 15 of your closest family and friends
• Custom merchandise, including a sauce packet garter and bow tie, “Just Married” t-shirts for the bride and groom, Taco Bell branded champagne flutes and, of course, a Taco 12 Pack filled with tacos and a Cinnabon Delights cake for dessert
• A Sauce Packet bouquet is also available for the bride to use during the ceremony
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New research from the University of Utah and Cornell University suggests that couples involved in egalitarian marriages, at least as chores are concerned, have more sex. (Note that the study is only about heterosexual marriages.) This new study appears to counter a 2014 New York Times Magazine article titled "Does Gender Equality Kill Sex Lives?." For this work, the Utah and Cornell researchers compared a 2006 marital satisfaction survey with data from 1992-1994. From a news release about the paper:
Turns out, the “rules” that govern sexual and marital satisfaction have been changing rapidly—and, like many generalizations about modern marriage, the 2013 study (that the NYT article reported on) was based on outdated data. As Cornell University Professor Sharon Sassler shows in her new paper, “A Reversal in Predictors of Sexual Frequency and Satisfaction in Marriage,” presented today to the Council on Contemporary Families, when couples share similar tasks rather than different, gender-stereotyped ones, this seems to deepen desire.
Sassler reports, “Contemporary couples who adhere to a more egalitarian division of labor are the only couples who have experienced an increase in sexual frequency compared to their counterparts of the past. Other groups – including those where the woman does the bulk of the housework – have experienced declines in sexual frequency. This finding is particularly notable given reports indicating that sexual frequency has generally declined worldwide over the past few decades.”
Quartz digs deeper into the new study:
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...Couples who reported sharing housework equally had sex 6.8 times per month, on average, or about once more per month than those where the woman does more “routine housework,” defined as: preparing and cooking meals, washing dishes, cleaning around the house, shopping for groceries, and doing laundry...
Roadside snapshot by my pal Rachel Demy in Twisp, Washington.
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Seems obvious, but saying "thank you" more often may improve your marriage. New research shows that the amount of gratitude expressed by spouses toward each other is a very good predictor of marital happiness.
"We found that feeling appreciated and believing that your spouse values you directly influences how you feel about your marriage, how committed you are to it, and your belief that it will last," says University of Georgia researcher Ted Futris.
The study also found that higher levels of spousal gratitude expressions protected men's and women's divorce proneness as well as women's marital commitment from the negative effects of poor communication during conflict.
"Importantly, we found that when couples are engaging in a negative conflict pattern like demand/withdrawal, expressions of gratitude and appreciation can counteract or buffer the negative effects of this type of interaction on marital stability," Futris said.
"The power of thank you: UGA research links gratitude to positive marital outcomes" Read the rest
Where is your Cool Pope now, America? His PR game is undoubtedly on fleek, but he's still beholden to the same homophobic crap we know and love from the Catholic Church, the world's most powerful supporter of impunity for priestly pedophiles. Read the rest
Helpful definition for anyone confused by the Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage in America.
John Cage: Gay Divorce Lawyer
from Funny Or Die
Now that America's civil rights honeymoon is over and everyone is reverting their rainbow avatars, divorce lawyer John Cage is ready to help gays achieve equality in divorce rates. Read the rest
Much of what you hear about the purpose of marriage is ahistorical. Lisa L. Spangenberg on what the institution was traditionally fit for.
Over at the Bold Italic, my friend Debbie Hampton wrote a heartfelt, no-nonsense, funny, and informative essay titled "How To Survive A Divorce":
...California is a no-fault state, meaning the dissolution of our marriage didn’t require a showing of wrongdoing by either person. Thank. God. Because I did some serious wrongdoing. There were addiction issues (mine) and excessive career demands (his). I got lost for a while. There are an endless amount of bad choices to be made if one wants to focus their attention away from a divorce. I drank. I started smoking again. I became a crappy friend. These choices caused a shit-ton of wreckage that I now have to work through as well. So don’t do that. Look at the divorce as an opportunity to grow, not an excuse to go backwards.
The legality of splitting up is absolutely overwhelming. California is a community property state, meaning all the crap you acquire during your marriage is equally owned. So there’s the potentially nail-biting adventure of dividing up furniture, plates, art, and everything else. We didn’t have this problem. Neither of us cared much for stuff.
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Back in 2002, psychologists studying how couples argued found four different behaviors that correlated strongly with future divorce. In fact, in a small sample of 80 couples, the combination of those behaviors could be used to predict who would divorce over the next 14 years with 93% accuracy. The good news: While these behaviors are all things that people probably do sometimes, it's the frequency of behaviors that matters ... and, better yet, they're all things that you can change. At PsySociety, Melanie Tannenbaum uses the amazingly spot-on example of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries to illustrate how unhealthy arguments can lead to relationship collapse. Read the rest