Important marital advice from Obama's HHS: Calm down, ladies

This is either a palate cleanser from the least likely source imaginable or the makings of a half-hearted manufactured outrage du jour at Obama’s and Sebelius’s expense. Either way, news you can use. Gentlemen, for future reference: The next time your wife or girlfriend is angry at you, remind her that Obama’s health department thinks she should stop being so emotional and just settle down, for God’s sake. As the president himself might (but hasn’t) put it, “Hysteria is a choice.”

And for the ladies, a lesson: It’s all your fault.

This isn’t about who wins the argument – but a study of hot marital fights indicates that when the wife calms down, the couples are more happy. Researcher Lian Bloch of the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology in Palo Alto found that in a study she did at the University of California, Berkeley. She looked at data that included recorded arguments by long-time husbands and wives.

“The marriages that were the happiest were the ones in which the wives were able to calm down quickly during marital conflict.”

Bloch says calm wives were able to look constructively for ways to deal with the emotions and talk about ways to solve the problems. Happiness didn’t change if the husband calmed down quickly.

The study in the journal Emotion was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

I’m not sure how to read that. Are they suggesting that husbands are indifferent about a squabble dragging on endlessly unless their wives reduce the tension by calming down? Or is it the opposite, that husbands typically want the fight over quickly and have to be baited into a protracted argument by wives who can’t, or won’t, calm down? Who’s to blame here? Damn it, how do I decide which way to adjust my gender stereotypes if no one will tell me who’s to blame?

Oh, by the way, today is International Men’s Day. Yes, really.

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