Over the course of my marriage, I’ve had a heart attack, miscellaneous surgeries, a few broken bones, and other health issues.  On each occasion, Jack Schindler has been right there, taking over domestic duties, making soup, and overseeing my recovery.

Apparently, not all husbands are as nurturing as Jack.

Take Larry.  His wife Darlene was still in excruciating pain after recent knee replacement surgery.  On the day she was released from the hospital, Larry, dutifully brought her home, helped her get into bed, and leaned over to ask: “What’s for dinner?”

And who could forget former senator and vice-presidential candidate John Edwards who took his wife’s breast cancer diagnosis as a free pass to father a child out of wedlock.

A 2009 study published in the journal Cancer found that a married woman diagnosed with a serious disease is six times more likely to be divorced or separated than a man with a similar diagnosis. Among study participants, the divorce rate was 21 percent for seriously ill women and three percent for seriously ill men. A control group divorced at a rate of 12 percent, suggesting that if disease makes husbands more likely to split, it makes wives more likely to stay.

If you think these statistics are out of date, think again.  A 2015 study conducted by Iowa State University produced almost the same results.

So what’s going on here?

  • Are men less capable of being caregivers than women?
  • Do men have greater fear of abandonement?
  • Are women more able to cope with illness?
  • Are men just more self-centered?

What’s your experience?  Please share and comment.

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