Home of Dr. Christine B. Whelan

No, I can’t sing…but if you’re getting married, check it out

Why can’t Catholic brides and grooms boogie down the aisle to The Beatles?

The latest episode of The Princess, The Priest and the War for the Perfect Wedding is up. Check it out here.


May 28, 2009 Posted by | A Day in the Life, Relationship Tips | Leave a comment

Everywhere you go, there I am

This weekend we went to Iowa’s farm country of Cherokee — and in an adorable book store and wine shop called The Book Vine, Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women was front and center. Fun stuff! Happy Memorial Day.


May 25, 2009 Posted by | A Day in the Life, Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to True Love | 1 Comment

The Princess, The Priest & The War for the Perfect Wedding

Relationship tip of the week: Check out my new venture on BustedHalo.com

This week’s episode: What if you just want to get married in a short, simple ceremony? Do you need the big white dress and the long Mass? Watch me and Fr. Eric Andrews answer this question and more. And check out the whole series here.

Up next week: Can we play Beatles music in our Catholic Ceremony? And stay tuned for us to join forces with a rabbi to discuss interfaith weddings as June wedding season heats up.

May 20, 2009 Posted by | A Day in the Life, Relationship Tips, Self-Help | Leave a comment

DoubleX — Slate’s New Women’s Online Magazine

Today is the launch of DoubleX, a new Slate online magazine for women, edited by Hanna Rosin and others. From the launch email:

DoubleX, launches today. Check it out at www.doublex.com. This is a new kind of women’s magazine launched by the Slate group, that offers irreverent and sophisticated analysis of politics, culture, family, fashion and many other topics. It’s written mostly by women, but not just for them. So gentlemen, come too!

Look for me there in the future — indeed, I already have my own “node” —  This seems like a perfect place for my latest research and findings.

May 12, 2009 Posted by | Academic Musings | , , , , | Leave a comment

XX Factor Bloglove

Hanna Rosin, Slate XX Factor blogger and Atlantic writer, picked up our Mother’s Day research and gave it some props here.

To all you mother’s out there, thanks for your love, support and positive socialization effects!

May 9, 2009 Posted by | Academic Musings, Relationship Tips | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Globe & Mail Mother’s Day Press and Iowa Public Radio

As we pay tribute to our mother’s this Sunday, good old Freud usually pops to mind pretty fast: Our mother’s are our first love object… so for men, when it comes to picking a partner, are they looking for a younger version of Mom?

Last Mother’s Day I released some research on that — and this Mother’s Day, I spoke with Micah Toub of the Globe and Mail about mate preferences. Mother’s are primary socializers, and many are great role models. So yeah, go ahead guys, marry someone like Mom. Just remember to say thanks to Mom on Sunday, too.

Also, tomorrow, Iowa Public Radio will be re-airing the interview I did with Ben Kieffer last year from the Java House in downtown Iowa City. We talked about mother’s and mate preferences — and both Ben’s mother and my mother-in-law were in the audience. Awww.

Happy Mother’s Day!

May 7, 2009 Posted by | Academic Musings, Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to True Love | Leave a comment

Do Men Really Marry Their Mothers?

This mother’s day, many working moms worry if they’re doing right by their children. It’s the perpetual tug between making ends meet and quality time with the family. Does a mother’s work decisions while her children are young impact the attitudes of those young adults later in life?

Recently, Christie Boxer and I released preliminary findings of our research of seven decades of changing mate preferences among young adults. Men, it turns out, are increasingly interested in an educated woman who is a good financial prospect and less interested in chastity. Women are increasingly interested in a man who wants a family and less picky about whether he’s always Mr. Nice Guy. To read more about our findings, click here or see our recent press in U.S. News & World Reports, ABCNews.com and The Des Moines Register. Email me at christine-whelan@uiowa.edu for the abstract of our findings.

Along with the 18-characteristic mate preferences instrument, we also asked some demographic questions, including a section on mother’s employment history. “When you were growing up, which of the following best describes how your mother spent her time?” We included various options for part-time and full time work, before school-age and after school age.

We hypothesized that there would be some differences in mate preferences depending on mother’s work history. Parents are primary socializers – role models who we emulate later in life. So do men really “marry their mothers” when they are choosing what they want in a spouse?

Turns out that whether your mother worked for pay outside the home or not has little impact on your mate preferences as a young-adult. The rankings stay pretty much the same. But there are some slight differences:


Guys, If Your Mom Worked, You’re More Likely to Rank Education in the Top 5

• Men whose mothers worked for pay outside the home while they were young ranked education/intelligence at #4, behind mutual attraction/love, dependable character and emotional stability, while men whose mothers as homemakers ranked it #6, with pleasing disposition and desire for home and children outranking smarts.

Good Looks More Important, Shared Faith Less Important?

• Good looks were slightly more important for men whose mothers worked for pay outside the home while they were young, while college-aged men whose mothers worked within the home ranked similar religious background at #13, compared with #16 for men whose mothers worked for pay outside the home.

Ladies, Not Much Change

• Women’s attitudes didn’t change ranking depending on mother’s employment history, but examining the means for each variable, women whose mothers worked within the home ranked chastity as a slightly more important characteristic in a man than women whose mothers worked for pay outside the home.

Take Home Message

We’re still dissecting the research, but it seems to us that we’re looking at the difference between more socially conservative and liberal families – which might explain the increased importance that men in particular place on similar religious background if their mother was a homemaker during their childhood. Children who grew up with a mother as a homemaker and a father as a breadwinner are more likely to espouse similarly traditional views themselves when it comes to a spouse, and seem more likely to prioritize religion.

Bottom line: Whether you work outside the home or within the home, for pay or not, mothers are primary socializers and role models for children. Moms, you’re leading the way – and you should be proud of all your accomplishments this Mother’s Day.

May 4, 2009 Posted by | Academic Musings, Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to True Love | 1 Comment