Monday, October 30, 2006

There Is Hope!

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?


  1. You just used the wrong search terms. The word love has over 1 billion hits, the word honor beats Dr.Phil, as does the word Obey. And I didn't even bother checking out "and"..
    So, in truth, you kicked his butt..

  2. Anonymous1:27 PM

    Actually, the numbers are FAR, FAR closer than 25,600 to 5,960,000...
    Try 5,720,000 to 5,960,000! You were just keying in the wrong term. You should have tried, "relationship assistance by Andrew"!

    So, see, you are right on the heels of Dr. will be overtaking him any moment now!!!


  3. Haaaaa,you're funny!
    This is a great post!

    I find life gets so much nicer when I start to believe there is more good than bad anything out there:)

  4. Ha ha! Hilarious!

    Actually, I think 25,600 posts is pretty respectable considering you're not berating American through promotional TV ads all day long.

  5. Awww, Andrew, that just means the word hasn't quite gotten out about what a treasure you are! And, where the things said about Dr. Phil positive or negative?!?!?! 'Cause, personally, I don't really like the guy! ;) And I'm guessing that not all the posts about him were positive. Maybe you should do a search for "Love Dr. Phil" vs "hate Dr. Phil". Guessing you'd get a better estimate of your popularity if you narrowed the search down a little further. *grin*

  6. Argh! Lost my comment!!!

    Anyway said something along the lines of.....

    .....Does this help....? Who's Dr Phil?? Serious question...!

    So from this corner of the world you win hands down! :-D

  7. Thank you for taking the initiative on the searches and reminding people that there is more good than bad in our everyday lives. To focus on the good, rather than the bad, is an epidemic that I'd like to see.

    With respect to your numbers, be proud of them. They'll only go up!
    You effect so many lives with your thoughtful advice. I have only watched Dr. Phil a handful of times and do not find him to be that helpful. You, from what I have read offer both advice and perhaps strategies to move toward a solution for the problem. Perhaps its time to give Oprah a call - that's how Dr. Phil got syndicated.

  8. You win. Also, if this type of stuff interests you, than check out

  9. I guess Google doesn't interpret sarcasm - like how many of the "I love my husband's" are really meant in sarcasm?

    Truth is, though, I'm on your side. I prefer to believe that there is more good than bad in the world. Like when I wrote the "pieces" post on my blog, I came up with ALOT more people who'd had a positive influence than negative.

    Thanks for your friendly comment on my blog! :-)

  10. this is a really neat concept. i'm going to think of some of my own!

  11. 25,600 is pretty damn good, don't you think?!

    Dr Phil helps a lot of people, but he is utilising a different medium (ie TV), so of course he gets more hits!

    Although I enjoy hearing what Dr Phil has to say, he can also be very black and white about some issues. Your approach seems to me a little less hard-line, a little less directional. You discuss issues without giving direct advice. Your posts always sound respectful and never condescending.
    You are hard on Dr Phil's heels!

  12. Hey doc...

    I gotta say that I wouldn't be here without my "wonderful husband." As you know about my WG issue.


  13. Hi Andrew!

    You are every bit as good as Dr Phil. Dont let anybody tell you different! I , like you would hope that there was much more good in this world than bad. I would like to think that we are a caring nation.

    Have a happy halloween Andrew!

  14. That was a great post. I think in general when people are married they will talk about how they love their spouse. Even when angry. If they weren't able to express that chances are they would not still be married.

  15. Hi! Glad I was able to help. And yes, it was all tongue-in-cheek. :)

  16. Great post, Dr. Andrew! Do you think men are happier being married than women are?

  17. Anonymous10:44 AM

    Hi Andrew. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    I like your little experiment. It's nice to know that there is higher statistics for positive emotions pertaining to love for husband and wife. But like what you said, perhaps people are more open to writing about their positive emotions rather than the negative ones. But counting that aside, it's still nice to know that many people are expressing their happiness in their relationships.


  18. Well... here's what I found...

    "Pick your friends" - 83,500
    "Pick your nose" - 184,000


    Now, what's THAT say doctor???