Marital ties in the time of World Cup

Updated: 2014-06-16 07:42

(China Daily)

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A domestic beer brand recently launched an interesting advertisement campaign. It invited a star couple to enact a mini-drama, in which a man asks his wife for a 33-day leave to watch the Football World Cup, and the latter magnanimously approves and also agrees to take care of their child during that period.

Not surprisingly, the campaign has sparked a public debate on couples' relationships during the 2014 World Cup. Many men tend to watch all the World Cup matches while their wives reluctantly assume greater responsibility in household work and other family matters. No wonder, many people see the World Cup as a challenge to marital relationships across the globe.

But contrary to popular belief that the World Cup leads to a rise in the divorce rate, experts with a British divorce service provider website, Divorce-Online, have found that during the four soccer-crazy weeks in 2010, the number of divorce cases in England and Wales declined by 36 percent. Therefore, we can't say that many couples' relationships deteriorate to the point of crisis during the World Cup.

As a psychological consultant, I think it's a bit arbitrary to say that the World Cup creates marital discord. It's true that some women feel ignored during the World Cup, but that may have a lot to do with their illusion of having married the perfect man based on their pre-marriage experience of getting their partners' undivided attention.

Studies show that men and women both try to control their partners' behavior during the power struggle period in their relationship. But it's strange to see some women trying to discipline their husbands in the same way that mothers do to their sons: Why do you have to watch soccer? Why can't you accompany me? Watching football on TV is simply a hobby, and a popular hobby at that, with few negative effects.

Some women say being awake the whole night to watch the World Cup is harmful to their partners' health. Such complaints reflect the same "mother-son" mode of relationship between couples. Women tend to see their husbands as juveniles, and assume they cannot take care of their health and life, and are thus irresponsible toward the family.

It's not uncommon to see one partner occasionally taking care of the other like a parent. But while doing so, the "parental" partner should not forget that he/she is dealing with an adult.

Moreover, men in general have the tendency of complaining that women (especially their wives or girlfriends) don't understand football at all. But surprisingly, they also accuse woman football fans of watching soccer more for the handsome male players and less for their love for the game; they even call women who watch soccer pseudo-fans.

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