How Marriage Works


You can tell a lot about a culture through marriage statistics: what age people get married, how many divorce, who is excluded from legal marriage. It forms a picture of how a society interacts with itself. Learn more about marriage in this episode.

Recording: Welcome to Stuff You Should Know from howstuffworks.com.

Josh Clark: Hey and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark. There's Charles Chuck Bryant and this is Stuff You Should Know.

Chuck Bryant: The podcast.

Josh Clark: Right. How you doing man?

Chuck Bryant: I am good and well. How are you?

Josh Clark: The same, a little tired.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah?

Josh Clark: Yeah. But other than that I'm doing pretty good.

Chuck Bryant: Man, there's a lot of stuff going on today with this topic.

Josh Clark: Yes, marriage Chuck. I am married. You are married. We're married but not to one another.

Chuck Bryant: That's true.

Josh Clark: And in the state that we live in we couldn't even if we wanted to.

Chuck Bryant: Sure. And this is probably going to touch on same sex marriage a decent amount because it's in the news and hey, it's marriage too. So we're not going to ignore it but it's not necessarily just about that. It's about just marriage as a whole.

Josh Clark: Right. We're going to call this one how a same sex marriage works.

Chuck Bryant: Exactly. But no, maybe we can't do that one if we cover it in this one.

Josh Clark: How a same sex marriage works?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. I feel like we're going to cover it enough in this.

Josh Clark: Sure. It's pretty straightforward stuff. Well let's talk about marriage.

Chuck Bryant: All right.

Josh Clark: Really if you boil the whole thing down it is as far as the government views it very unromantically. It's basically a legal contract between two people and therefore there are legalities that you have to go through. And as a result of going through this legal process you are endowed with certain legal rights. That's marriage.

Chuck Bryant: That really is though and it's like I draw a distinction. I don't think it's unromantic to call it that because that's what it is. It's a difference between a marriage and a life long relationship with somebody.

Josh Clark: Now that's romantic Chuck.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah that's where the romance is. Marriage is just some official way of recognizing that.

Josh Clark: Right, okay. So I would imagine it's not just the desire to be - to have your relationship recognized in that same way, that it's a life long commitment legally but also to get the benefits as one of the - those are two probably very big reasons that same sex couples want to be legally married or allowed to legally marry right?

Chuck Bryant: True.

Josh Clark: So since it's a legal process Chuckers, all things start with an application. All legal processes start by filling out an application and marriage is no different.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. You've got to get that license. You've got to apply to get that license and here Emily and I went to Decatur. The sign on the wall was marriage and gun licenses. We thought it was kind of funny to get both in the same one-stop shopping. But each state has its own laws regarding everything concerning marriage, the first of which is the license and application process, how old you've got to be, all that stuff varies from state to state.

Josh Clark: It does. And until very recently Alabama allowed kids as young as 14 - I believe they were the youngest state. It says in this article that there were kids as young as age 12 [Crosstalk] Is that right?

Chuck Bryant: I think so. But I think that was only with a court order or court permission like a pregnancy or something. I don't know.

Josh Clark: Well that's one of the surprising things. In Georgia if you're under 18 you have to present a birth certificate and I think your parents have to be present, both of them unless the bride to be is pregnant and then all rules go out the window.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. Most states that allow it under 18 the parents have to sign off and there has to be some reason. Like we said it varies from state to state and it takes two hours to go over all that. So if you're interested in getting hitched and you're 17 look it up on your state's website.

Josh Clark: You don't want to go over it state by state. Do you remember the dude from Lost and then he was in one episode of X-files? I can't remember his name.

Chuck Bryant: Which guy from Lost?

Josh Clark: I don't remember. I didn't watch Lost. I just know he was on Lost and he married. He's pushing 50, 40-something and he married a 16 year old girl.

Chuck Bryant: Really?

Josh Clark: Yeah. And they were going - they were setting themselves up I believe to have a reality show or whatever but her parents signed off on it. I remember it was a big news story. They moved to Nevada or they went to Nevada to get married which is not uncommon I understand.

Chuck Bryant: To move to a different state?

Josh Clark: No, to go to Las Vegas to get married.

Chuck Bryant: Sure. People do that.

Josh Clark: So no matter where you are, you fill out this application. You pay a nominal fee and then after your ceremony you get a certificate that says you're married, here's proof, show it to whoever you like.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. Sometimes you need a blood test. We did not need one here in Georgia but that's what you're always going to hear, the old fashioned thing like go down and get your blood tested to get married.

Josh Clark: Yes, make sure you are disease free and not cousins.

Chuck Bryant: That's right. Is that what it's for too, to check DNA?

Josh Clark: No.

Chuck Bryant: Okay.

Josh Clark: I don't think they have the equipment to do that.

Chuck Bryant: I didn't think so either. And you can get married a bunch of different ways. You can get married by your best friend if you want to as long as they get certified online as able to do that which is what we did with our father-in-law just to make him part of the experience.

Josh Clark: That's neat.

Chuck Bryant: And my stepfather.

Josh Clark: The one in Ohio?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. They're all in Ohio.

Josh Clark: So Chuckers, now that you're married, according to Federal law you are eligible and open for I think 1138 Federal benefits. Is that still correct?

Chuck Bryant: Yes, over 1100.

Josh Clark: Is that part of DOMA?

Chuck Bryant: I'm not sure if that's a specific part of DOMA but it's probably a part of many different laws if there's 1100+.

Josh Clark: But this is all specifically Federal level law?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: So for example -

Chuck Bryant: And we'll talk about DOMA in a minute.

Josh Clark: Yeah. I believe we should. So for example, if Emily is in the hospital you have the legal right to go visit her.

Chuck Bryant: That's right. I can even make medical decisions on her behalf.

Josh Clark: That's right, unless she has a living will.

Chuck Bryant: Right which we would do together anyway. You can get benefits if you're a Federal employee. You can get inheritance rights, property rights sometimes even if there's no will.

Josh Clark: Yes. You can take out a life insurance policy on me and it's legal.

Chuck Bryant: Tax benefits of course. Being married you can file that way. You can receive Medicare, Social Security, disability, Veterans benefits if you're a legal spouse.

Josh Clark: Yes. You can immigrate your spouse to the United States more easily at least.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. If I killed somebody Emily could visit me in jail.

Josh Clark: That's right.

Chuck Bryant: And in prison as my spouse.

Josh Clark: I would imagine depending on the state there would be conjugal rights as well.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah definitely. So those are just a handful of the 1100 entitlements that you gain,

Josh Clark: You don't want to go over all of them?

Chuck Bryant: If you have a list I'll do it.

Josh Clark: So there are a lot of good reasons to be married. You can also file jointly so you get a tax break there. And in addition the legal benefits, there's been tons and tons of studies on marriage that show that there's psychological, physiological benefits to marriage. People happily married I should say, not just married.

There's a key to it. You have to be happily married. They tend to live longer lives. They - a married parent household tends to produce more stable well adjusted kids that do better in school.

Chuck Bryant: That's supposed to be true.

Josh Clark: There's tons ad tons of studies but it doesn't necessarily relate to same sex or opposite sex. It's just married parents happen to do that statistically. So what else?

Chuck Bryant: Well people are getting married later and later. I think everyone recognizes that but to the tune of people from 1935 to 1939, 21 percent of men and 51 percent of women were married by 20 and compare that to last year where the average year of marriage was 28.6 for men and 26.6 for women. And basically there hasn't been a year since the 1950s where the median age has not gone up. It's going up and up and up.

Josh Clark: Yeah. And you would assume that it would've continued to go up and up prior to the 1950s but what's really interesting is in 1890 the average that a man got married was 26 and it declined down in the 1950s and '60s and it reached it lowest level, lowest age which is 22 or something like that and then it started to go back up which is very odd. And it did it for men and women because you'd think old times, you can get married at age 12. Some people were getting married at 16 for a median age but it was older than people were in the 50s when they were getting married.

Chuck Bryant: So the '50s might've just signified some marital boom?

Josh Clark: Maybe. I guess people decided that they were not interested in pre-marital sex.

Chuck Bryant: They just decided that?

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: Have we covered - we did a full podcast on polygamy didn't we?

Josh Clark: Full podcast. You didn't even need to mention it.

Chuck Bryant: That's what I thought. When I was reading this, I was like wait a minute. This reeks of something familiar. But that is a type of marriage and I guess go listen to that podcast on - did we cover plural marriage or polygamy?

Josh Clark: I'm sure we talked about it as plural marriage but we called it How Polygamy Works.

Chuck Bryant: Right. And I guess it got a very condensed form of this, is that it is officially condemned by the Mormon Church these days although I estimate a 30,000 to 60,000 polygamists still I guess practicing polygamy. So there are other types of unions these days. There are civil unions, domestic partnerships and regular old fashioned marriage. And civil unions entitle same sex couples the same legal rights as marriage and benefits. So that's like you said after two things, the benefits and just the common recognition among their peers. I'm just like you and I'm married like you or in this case a civil union. We'll only give you the rights and not the badge of marriage.

Josh Clark: Right. And there's nine states where you - where civil unions are permitted for same sex couples.

Chuck Bryant: That's right.

Josh Clark: California, New York City, Maine and the District of Columbia I believe allow for domestic partnerships for same sex couples.

Chuck Bryant: That's right.

Josh Clark: And actually one of the big same sex marriage cases that's before the Supreme Court right now is a little old lady who lived with her partner for decades. And because she has a domestic partnership, under New York law she did not pay any tax - she didn't have to pay any inheritance tax but she got slapped with $390,000 federal inheritance tax because the Feds don't recognize their domestic partnership. And that's one of the cases the Supreme Court is hearing right now.

Chuck Bryant: Well you can get full on same sex married as of December of 2012 in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Maryland, Washington state and the District of Columbia. And that is full same sex marriage like outright - and at the same time 38 states have laws banning outright same sex marriage. So people are really drawing the line on this issue in the country.

Josh Clark: Well it's a pretty polarizing issue.

Chuck Bryant: To say the least. Like 1996 - I have one stat - things are changing. Sixty-eight percent of people in 1996 opposed same sex marriage and then 48 percent last year so it's a 20 percent drop in 14 years.

Josh Clark: In researching this article, I really found out that in 1996 we were a radically different country than we are today. Socially speaking we're really different. There was a lot of stuff, a lot of laws that passed and a lot of mentalities that were supported legislatively that don't make any sense today to a lot more people like DOMA, the idea that that passed and the meaning behind it is - I guess it's being picked apart right now, right?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. The Difference of Marriage Act defined marriage as only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. And Bill Clinton famously signed that and has been sort of changing his story every four or five years since then on why he signed it because people kind of pick on him now. Billy, of all presidents, why did you sign it? In '96 he said, "I have long opposed thet governmental recognition of same gender marriages and this legislation is consistent with that position." And then in 2008 he said, "All I said was that Idaho did not have to recognize the marriage sanctified in Massachusetts."

Josh Clark: That's a pretty good Clinton.

Chuck Bryant: So he basically was like all I'm saying is it was left up to the states which was a bit of a reversal. And then in 2009 he said, "The reason I signed it was I thought the question of whether gays should marry should be left up to state and to religious organizations and that if any church or other religious body wanted to recognize gay marriage they ought to." So this is a bit of a - he's saying it's being spun as him coming out as anti-gay on certain levels and he's saying no you're rewriting history in a different way. What I really meant was let's just federally say that let the states decide.

Josh Clark: But that's a pretty good interpretation of DOMA. From what I understand it removes states' rights and that's one of the things the Supreme Court is looking at now too, is DOMA. Is DOMA unconstitutional? And one of the ways that the pro same-sex marriage lobby could actually harm itself is if the Supreme Court decides to look at DOMA as a states rights issue and kicks it back to the states. Then all of these bans will be upheld rather than jut saying no, it's unconstitutional because it bans marriage effectively between same sex people. So that's - it's a states right issue in a way but not in the way that Clinton is saying it. It doesn't allow states to make up their own mind.

Chuck Bryant: I think Clinton's trying to - I don't think he's super proud of it now and I think he's been backtracking ever since on reasons why he supported it at the time. And a lot of Congress people have come out since then and reversed their statements on it saying I've evolved in my thinking to this point and I now think we should look into it more at least and not necessarily fully in support of it. but there are 11 countries if you're wondering what it's like around the world - all across the country you can get married if you are same sex, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden and Spain. It is a federal - it's legally allowed. Say what you will about that. If you want to get married, go to Spain.

Josh Clark: That's true. Move to Spain. You would have to go live here because if you came back to the United States it wouldn't be recognized.

Chuck Bryant: Or the Netherlands, that's a nice place. South Africa, we talked about that but I think who want to get married who are of the same sex want to stay at home.

Josh Clark: Sure. They just want to get married at home.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: This is - and you're talking about I guess being allowed to be married in n entire country. There's been a couple of attempts to ban same sex marriage as an entire country in the U.S. but have been unsuccessful.

Chuck Bryant: Like make it a constitutional amendment?

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: That has not happened.

Josh Clark: No. So in addition to domestic partnerships and civil unions, this is what I find interesting. The reciprocal beneficiary relationship which is the Hawaiian state law and I guess it was done away with in favor of civil unions in 2011 or '12 but basically it grants you the rights of a married couple but it doesn't necessarily mean you're a couple in the eyes of the law unless you say we're a couple. So like brother and sister can be reciprocal beneficiaries and her nephew or whatever.

It doesn't mean you're a couple. It means you can make legal decisions for one another and it's for people who are dependent on one another, living situations, that kind of thing.

Chuck Bryant: So don't be super creeped out by that when I say brother and sister and stuff like that. You've got anything else on same sex marriage?

Josh Clark: No. I guess that's it. I'm very interested to see what happens. It's the civil right issue of our age and that's what a lot of people are arguing. Let's just learn from history. Do we have to go through the same steps every time we do this?

Chuck Bryant: With allowing people rights -

[Crosstalk]

Josh Clark: Finally giving them the rights that everyone will in the future will eventually agree they should have and should've had all along but apparently we have to go through the same struggle every time for each group before they get their rights, their civil rights that are afforded to everybody.

Chuck Bryant: Sure. Whether it's an African-American sitting where they want to sit on a bus or women voting, it seems like this pops up every now and then in this country where people say hey, wait a minute. I want to have the same rights as that dude over there and why not? It's very interesting.

Josh Clark: It is. And I'm sure that we're going to get a lot of listener mail about this.

Chuck Bryant: We're just putting out there. This is what some people think and that's what other people think.

Josh Clark: I guess.

Chuck Bryant: Luckily we live in a country where you can voice those opinions.

Josh Clark: For sure.

Chuck Bryant: So before we move on to other parts of marriage, let's take a quick little message break.

Josh Clark: Let's do it. Chuck we've all experienced it right? We're emailing a big file, maybe a big video of ourselves. It's just too big to attach.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. And there's no way to do it securely. Being out of the office, sometimes you don't have access to certain things that you need and it's a problem. But luckily there is a solution and it is called ShareFile brought to you by Citrix.

Josh Clark: It's a powerful tool that millions of professionals use every day. So unlike other services, ShareFile was specifically designed for business use. It allows you to send files from almost any size, access your files from any computer mobile device and it enhances your work flow easily and securely.

Chuck Bryant: That's right dude and we have a deal for you. You have to try ShareFile today. Get started with our special risk-free trial offer, full 30 days a free trial. Go to Sharefile.com, click on the radio microphone and enter our promo code STUFF. So remember go to Sharefile.com, type in the promo code STUFF.

Josh Clark: And now we're back.

Chuck Bryant: With more marriage.

Josh Clark: Wow. So Chuck, one of the ones that I've always heard of is common law marriage. And I was doing a little research on it and it doesn't make much sense to me. Apparently its origins were that's what marriage was, two people just shacked up and they were viewed by society and the law as church. And the church insinuated itself by saying no, there's no more plan to start marriages anymore. You have to do this publicly and declare that you want to be married and there has to be a priest. Somebody's got to be there so let's have a witness or whatever and that's the arrival of common law marriage as it's become more and more prevalent, common law marriages kind of fall into the wayside.

Chuck Bryant: Well don't you just have to shack up for seven years?

Josh Clark: No that is a myth.

Chuck Bryant: Everyone always says - I've heard that and I think that's a common misconception. If you want to be common law married you have to present as a married couple. You have to change your last name, file joint tax returns, basically really live as if you're married, not just live together and fight over where to go to diner.

Josh Clark: Right. It probably wouldn't hurt to contact your local probate court and file something like saying hey, we're married okay? As far you're concerned we're married. We're common law married. Now this only works if your state recognizes common law marriages and again fewer and fewer states do these days. In some states if your common law marriage was around before the '90s, certain dates in the '90s it would be grandfathered in.

Chuck Bryant: Georgia being one of them right?

Josh Clark: Yeah. If you were common law married in Georgia before January 1, 1997 you are still common law married if you still are.

Chuck Bryant: Nice. And states also don't - we joked about the seven year thing but there is no set time in any time that you have to live together to present yourself as common law man and wife although I don't know that you would do that after you moved in together but you can if you want.

Josh Clark: Well talking about moving together, there is a study that recently found that more and more people are living together before marriage.

Chuck Bryant: Or instead of marriage.

Josh Clark: And also apparently one of the reasons we were talking about the marriage age increasing, what reasons they think people are putting it off more and more lately especially millennials is due to college debt. How sad is that?

Chuck Bryant: Really?

Josh Clark: Yeah. Okay so -

Chuck Bryant: I'm broke so I'm not going to get married.

Josh Clark: Yeah, I can't afford to get married right now. That's terrible.

Chuck Bryant: So what does it cost you though? I don't get that.

Josh Clark: You've got to get a ring and you've got - there's just certain things to I guess.

Chuck Bryant: Certain costs?

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: I guess it depends what you're looking for out your wedding and your rings and things like that. It doesn't have to be expensive.

Josh Clark: It doesn't have to.

Chuck Bryant: These college kids these days, "Well I don't have enough money to get married."

Josh Clark: Give them some advice Chuck.

Chuck Bryant: Just get married. Get a cheap ring and get hitched at the courthouse.

Josh Clark: Okay. As far as checking out goes, more and more people are doing that. Apparently between 2006 and 2010 almost half of straight women ages 15-44 said that they have lived together with somebody that they weren't married to.

Chuck Bryant: And 100 percent of gay women. I have another stat that said from 1982 it has quadrupled the number of people. And this is people - percentage of women choosing to not get married and just co-habitate has gone from 3 percent to 11 percent. And what does this all mean to staying married or staying together? Not a lot. The divorce rate is hovered pretty close to 50 percent for quite a while because it goes up a little, it goes down a little.

Josh Clark: I was going to say hasn't it gone down some.

Chuck Bryant: It's gone down a little bit but it's never enough of a stat to rewrite the record books. It's always close to 50 it seems like. And then they found all sorts of interesting things. Among women there was a 52 chance that a first marriage would survive for 20 years and 56 of men their first marriage for 20 years. And another interesting thing, they found that your marriage is more likely to last if you graduated college. So 78 percent of women with at least a Bachelors degree made it to their 20th anniversary as opposed to - what was that, 52 percent? So that's pretty big.

Josh Clark: Yeah. I wonder what the explanation is for that.

Chuck Bryant: I don't know.

Josh Clark: Maybe it takes a certain amount of tenacity to go through college and it takes a certain amount of tenacity to stay married.

Chuck Bryant: If you have kids going into the marriage with someone else, you have less of a chance to stay married, 37 percent of women marrying a man who already had kids made it 20 years. But if you have kids after you get married, you have a higher likelihood of staying together so having your own kids, good, marrying into kids, bad.

Josh Clark: Having your own kids is one of the leading reasons that people stay together. Apparently it was also couples who drink together tend to stay together longer especially if they drink about the same amount.

Chuck Bryant: That would make sense.

Josh Clark: Couples who have -- I ran across this in a 2008 study from the University of Denver -- couples who have fun which fun is defined as basically spending time together, free of financial, family or other stresses. They tend to stay together longer which makes a lot of sense. Basically if you go on dates with your spouse you will stay together longer.

Chuck Bryant: And religion also plays a part. Percentage of married women who say religion is important, 60 percent and percentage of married women who say religion is not important is 36 percent. And interestingly it's about 10 percent less for men on both saying religion is important, religion is not. I think women just care more.

Josh Clark: The number one I guess indicator that people will stay together, not necessarily in marriage but as a couple is shared curiosity. I remember we did How Curiosity Works years back. One of the indicators that - predictors that a couple would stay together was that if both of them were curious people.

Chuck Bryant: About the same things or just period?

Josh Clark: Just in general. And it beat out religion, all these other shared things that you would think that would keep two people together, make them attracted to one another. But it was shared curiosity, a love of just being curious.

Chuck Bryant: As long as it's not curious about I wonder what it would be like to have sex with that woman right there.

Josh Clark: Precisely.

Chuck Bryant: Bad curiosity.

Josh Clark: Yeah. so since you brought that up, you sent another article on How Stuff Works that was interesting that Molly Edmonds wrote about, "The Seven Year Itch." Did you check that out?

Chuck Bryant: I did.

Josh Clark: So basically the seven year itch is this idea that after seven years people get bored with their marriage and they divorce or they stray or whatever and there have been studies that have found that seven years is actually a significant moment in the average marriage and that a lot of them do end up dissolving at this point.

Chuck Bryant: The median age in the U.S. is just over seven years.

Josh Clark: So that would suggest that this old yarn is correct. But it's actually possible that it's even less than seven years. There's an indicator at four years marriages start to go I guess south. And there's an evolutionary anthropologist named -

Chuck Bryant: Helen Fisher.

Josh Clark: Who had a very good idea - a pretty cool explanation.

Chuck Bryant: I thought it made sense. Go ahead, level it.

Josh Clark: Okay. Well she said that basically back in our earlier evolutionary age -

Chuck Bryant: Tuk-tuk.

Josh Clark: Tuk-tuk's era. Four years is about the time that a couple would spend together conceiving and raising a child and then it was time to do it again and they typically did it with other people.

Chuck Bryant: Spread the seed.

Josh Clark: So Fisher is basically pressing the point that we are evolutionarily hard wired to not last in a monogamous relationship longer than four years which is a pretty depressing idea especially if it makes sense. But she also points out that being aware of this or understanding this possibility can let you guard against it.

Chuck Bryant: That makes sense, keep your marriage exciting.

Josh Clark: Have fun with your spouse, go on dates with your spouse and you can beat that for your seven year itch or whatever.

Chuck Bryant: Don't research that stuff. Come up with your own stuff is what I say.

Josh Clark: What research?

Chuck Bryant: There's gazillions of articles like how to keep your marriage spicy. I encourage you not to read those. If you want to spice up your marriage just try some things on your own. Don't read Redbook.

Josh Clark: I don't know. If Redbook helps then Redbook helps.

Chuck Bryant: Well I guess that's true.

Josh Clark: That's our motto.

Chuck Bryant: So go ahead and read those articles that will tell you to -

Josh Clark: What do they say?

Chuck Bryant: They all say things like it's all - sex based usually. Actually that's not true.

Josh Clark: You're talking about Cosmopolitan, not Redbook.

Chuck Bryant: Be more active with your husband and get him out hiking and then dress up as a French maid every once in a while. It's just - I don't know. If those articles help you then it's all well and good. I take it back.

Josh Clark: Okay. You were saying what to do, go out on a hike or something like that. The study from 2008 from the University of Denver pointed out that when you go out on a date you should be aware that your spouse may not have the same idea of what a date is, that you do depending on your sex. For women going on a date is a chance to have an intimate conversation, just basically friend time, close time.

Chuck Bryant: Get to know someone.

Josh Clark: Whereas the dude is more prone to think a date is like going to a movie or going to a baseball game or something like that you go do together and you're on a date and you're sitting next to one another and kneeling over and kiss and everything but you're both watching the game. You just watch the game. So I guess again an awareness of that will probably get around any weird situations where you're like we went on a date, how are you not happy?

Chuck Bryant: That's a good point. I found at sporting events I get kind of chatty though.

Josh Clark: Well you would be the perfect date.

Chuck Bryant: Emily will go to baseball games but literally the only time I took er to a Falcons game she brought magazines.

Josh Clark: That's funny.

Chuck Bryant: People around me so were pissed. What a waste of a ticket.

Josh Clark: - is a perfect woman in that, going to shows or something like that. She's not chatty during shows especially.

Chuck Bryant: Like a concert.

Josh Clark: Yeah, like when you're at a concert and it's like they're playing the music and - and somebody wants to talk to you the whole time, Amy's not like that. It's pretty awesome.

Chuck Bryant: I'm always right next to that person, whomever the most obnoxious person in any crowd is I will be no more than five feet away from them.

Josh Clark: Are you a magnet?

Chuck Bryant: I feel like I am. But I try to install the new policy in my life. I used to get upset and because I'm non-confrontational with strangers I would just sit there and my blood would boil. There's three ways you can go about it. You can do that, you can confront the person and say would you mind keeping it down? I would never do that. But the third option I've discovered here in my '40s, just move.

Josh Clark: That's a good one.

Chuck Bryant: Unless you're in a reserved seat I just go stand somewhere else. It's just not worth it for me.

Josh Clark: That's good Chuck.

Chuck Bryant: And I find that I'm all of a sudden not obsessing over this loud person next to me while Steve Mountlis is telling a nice story onstage and I just avoid the drunkest people in the room. That's always a good motto.

Josh Clark: That's good. What else do you have?

Chuck Bryant: I've got nothing else.

Josh Clark: Cool. We did it. We did How Marriage Works, marriage, good.

Chuck Bryant: Agreed.

Josh Clark: Yeah. If you want to learn more about marriage there's a whole channel almost or sub channel on the site I believe.

Chuck Bryant: If you want to learn more about marriage, get married. You're going to learn everything you need.

Josh Clark: It's like immersion, coming through immersion. You can also type the word marriage into the search bar of howstuffworks.com if you are your partner are the curious types and that would probably be a predictor of your long term success. And I think I said predictor in there so it's time for listener mail.

Chuck Bryant: Not quite. It's time for a message break.

Josh Clark: Okay.

Chuck Bryant: Josh buddy, odds are that you are most productive and we are most productive when we are working from our desk instead of lying around in bed so leaving to go to the Post Office can slow things down. That's why you need stamps.com.

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Chuck Bryant: That's right folks. Don't wait, go to stamps.com. Before you do anything else click on the microphone at the top of the home page, type S-T-U-F-F at stamps.com, enter Stuff.

Josh Clark: Okay. And now it's time for listener mail.

Chuck Bryant: No Josh, not listener mail. We're going to continue with part 2 with what will 3 of The - Details.

Josh Clark: Okay. Well I'm going to kick it off. You ready?

Chuck Bryant: Please.

Josh Clark: I want to give a big shout out to our buddy Ryan Flanders over at Mad Magazine for sending us a ton of great stuff.

Chuck Bryant: Magazines, hats.

Josh Clark: Pens.

Chuck Bryant: Pens.

Josh Clark: Masks.

Chuck Bryant: Buttons, masks. And beyond the coolness of that it's just the fact that because of our careers we've been ale to talk to people at Mad Magazine at Uncle John's reader at Archie Comics and they listen to the show. And that totally knocks us out. We grew up on Mad and continue to read it today.

Josh Clark: You've got -

Chuck Bryant: No. you -

Josh Clark: Okay. We got a very delightful letter from a boy named Eken Alf from Windmere, Florida with a request for an episode on mind craft in the hopes that it will change his mom's opinion about him playing it. I don't know if we're going to do that but thank you for the letter Eken.

Chuck Bryant: Fazeke Bodi of T in Boulder, Colorado sent us tea. It's delicious. It's weight loss tea.

Josh Clark: That's nice. I thought you've been looking more stout than usual. We've got a CD and vinyl of the album We Built a Fortress on Short Notice by the band Self Evident. It's awesome, thank you very much guys.

Chuck Bryant: And on the music tip, the La La Band sent us their CD Moonshine Still and the Death Lilies, they sent us a packet. They do metal mashups of jukebox country classics.

Josh Clark: It's pretty cool.

Chuck Bryant: I haven't listened yet but I'm intrigued.

Josh Clark: They're pretty cool and they gave us a cool button too.

Chuck Bryant: Okay. So thank you Death Lilies.

Josh Clark: We've got a nice letter written in cursive from Larry Neinus. That's what - he even spelled out how to say it, Neinus. He lives in Lagrange, Georgia and he was prompt to buy our episode on memory and possibly - he has some good theories.

Chuck Bryant: Nice. Katie Senner had a nice interim letter. She's doing something really cool called the Letter Project where she sends a letter to someone who inspires her and asks what are you pursuing in your life and how do you know when you've gotten there? And she sent us that letter and the answer is we're pursuing podcasting excellence and we're never going to rest. We've not gotten there because there are many other things to explore and the beat goes on here.

Josh Clark: It's a curse and a gift of perfectionism.

Chuck Bryant: That's right.

Josh Clark: Let's see. We've got a wedding invitation from Savannah and Jonathan. Mazel Tov.

Chuck Bryant: Sari Yakawonis sent us some cool graphic posters. I found those as we did get those and she has an etsi shop at takawonisquilling.etsi.com and they're really neat graphic posters

Josh Clark: I like how you say her last name too. We got a postcard from the Trinity Nuclear Testing Site in New Mexico from our friend Billy Ray Cyrus and another associated one from Van Nostren.

Chuck Bryant: Really?

Josh Clark: Yeah. Sent us a couple of postcards so thank you buddy.

Chuck Bryant: And we got a book from Thomas Trask. He sent his book Prism: Shadow of the Fates.

Josh Clark: Nice.

Chuck Bryant: We have a lot of colons in our book titles here. That's the thing I guess.

Josh Clark: It's if you have a lot to say you fill the colon in there.

Chuck Bryant: I guess so, so thanks to Thomas Trask for that.

Josh Clark: We've got an anonymous note suggesting we do something on lactose intolerance.

Chuck Bryant: Thank you anonymous.

Josh Clark: Right, postcard from Antarctica from Lizzen Dan from San Francisco who went there on their honeymoon, congratulations.

Chuck Bryant: Nice what else you got?

Josh Clark: We've got some postcards from Christina Bennet, Australia road signs, operation and during freedom Afghanistan postcards, some odd postcards. Thank you.

Chuck Bryant: Cool.

Josh Clark: You have any more?

Chuck Bryant: I do have a few more.

Josh Clark: Okay. We've got some picture links and a nice letter from Adam Pervez. He's the chief happiness officer of happinessplunge.com. You can go check it out. Do you remember when we talked about gross national happiness and we asked about people who dropped out to go pursue their own happiness?

Chuck Bryant: Is that the happiness plunge?

Josh Clark: Yeah, happinessplunge.com. We've got downloads of jazz animals in Independence, Louisiana by Bert Engrafia. You can check those out, those tracks. We've got a Georgia tech club T-shirt from JT Genter. You remember him?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. That was very nice and we're just kidding about - Georgia Tech.

Josh Clark: Kind of kidding.

Chuck Bryant: Nah.

Josh Clark: And I'm going to do one more and then we'll save the rest for next time. We've got a letter suggesting meditation as a topic from Rob Harlowbock.

Chuck Bryant: I used to meditate.

Josh Clark: Yeah?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. I'd like to get back into it. it was nice.

Josh Clark: Okay.

Chuck Bryant: I'm sure I did that for some reason. It was nice.

Josh Clark: That's it. That's administrative details.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. Part 2 of 3 we'll finish up and then -

Josh Clark: I'll split these up between the next time.

Chuck Bryant: Great.

Josh Clark: Okay. So if you want to send us something, you can get our address out of us by tweeting to syskpodcasts. You can join us on facebook.com/stuffyoushouldknow. You can send us an email to stuffpodcasts@discovery.com. And seriously check out our website. It's really neat. It's called stuffyoushouldknow.com.

Recording: For more on this and thousands of other topics, visit howstuffworks.com

[End of Audio]

Duration: 41 minutes

Topics in this Podcast: marriage, society, statistics