A big thank you goes out to "Dr. Brazen Hussy" for inspiring today's topic. I was blog surfing over the weekend when I ran across this post. Apparently the good doctor (she is a biologist) was feeling temporarily out of sorts with her other half, so she Googled the phrase "I hate my husband." This generated 25 times more hits than "my wife hates me," which she suggests is an indication that husbands are not aware of how their wives feel about them. (She suggested this with tongue in cheek, I think. Or maybe not, you'd have to ask her...)
This got me thinking. I wondered what would happen if I searched for both positive and negative phrases related to relationships. Which would "win"? I started with these two queries, where the quotes mean I searched for these exact phrases:
26,200 for "I hate my husband"
296,000 for "I love my husband"
Okay! Maybe we're onto something here. I tried the next obvious step:
15,700 for "I hate my wife"
358,000 for "I love my wife"
Awwww. Way to go, guys! You've got me all misty-eyed over here. Way to stick up for your loving wives.
I was feeling pretty good about my experiment now, so I rambled on:
12,100 for "terrible marriage"
83,500 for "wonderful marriage"
6,300,000 for ex-husband OR ex-wife
8,670,000 for fiance OR fiancee
15,200 for "my husband is cheating"
215,000 for "my wonderful husband"
10,900 for "my wife is cheating"
175,000 for "my wonderful wife"
You know what this proves, don't you? Absolutely nothing, except maybe that Google will give you hits for just about anything you type in.
I wasn't trying to prove anything, though. Instead, I choose to interpret this as a crude barometer of how people feel about their relationships while they are working away on the Internet. Admittedly, the results are likely influenced by a number of factors. People might simply be more willing to admit to positive sentiments in a public forum, even if they are feeling lousy inside. Then again, surf the blogosphere for a while and you'll come across plenty of people venting about the problems in their lives. Many folks seem to need and benefit from unburdening their souls in this way.
So I'm going to be a starry-eyed optimist about all of this. I hope -- no, I believe -- that the world is full of good people who are trying and succeeding to make others around them happy. Sure, we all have our difficult days, some of us more than others, but these numbers seem to back up what I have always thought; there is far more good than bad in the world when it comes to relationships (or most things, for that matter). Maybe that's why I'm such a sucker for happy endings when I go to the movies.
Now here's what you have to understand. At this point I was feeling like I could pretty much conquer the universe with my little number experiments. So I decided to bet it all, to plunk down my entire stack of chips and tell the guy to spin that roulette wheel one more time. "Let it ride, baby! Let it ride!"
5,960,000 for "Dr. Phil"
25,600 for "To Love, Honor and Dismay"
Ummmm... Do you think I should have left well enough alone?