Aug 19 2009

What We Have Here


…is failure to communicate.

A recent study conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research found that most people believe that their marriage has a better chance of success if they live together first. The reasoning is that everyone has a divorce horror story and over half the study participants came from broken homes so it’s a simple conclusion to reach. No marriage, no divorce, and if you do get married, it’s better to have had some practice first, right?


More studies have shown that people who live together before marriage actually have a greater chance of getting a divorce. And researchers have no explanation for it.

There’s a disconnect between what people believe is happening and what’s actually happening. The problem arises when people do what feels good, but is actually harmful.

Is it a simple ignorance issue?
Are people misunderstanding the consequences of their actions?
Are they gritting their teeth and plowing ahead anyway?

Or is there something else going on here?

Aug 19 2009

I Had A Dream


MonsterWaveLast night I had a really interesting dream. I was walking along on a small-ish beach somewhere, just trying to get from Point A to Point B.

Suddenly I was surprised by a gigantic wave that knocked me off my feet, filled my nose with water, and “put me in the washing machine” as my mom used to say. After leaving me coughing on the beach, it washed back out to sea and I was left to pick myself up and struggle on my way. It wasn’t life-threatening, but it was a huge hassle. A major annoyance.

This happened a couple more times in my dream. I’d be walking along and a wave would take me by surprise, wash over me, and tumble me around for a bit before plopping me down with sand in my shorts.

Then I got wise. I actually started looking for the waves to come. The next time I saw a green wall of water forming to my side, I turned to face it. I ran toward it. I dove into it. I let it carry me where it may, but I constantly swam up to the surface, keeping my head above water. When the wave washed up the shore, I went with it as far as it would go. As it went back out to sea, I was set down gently on my feet to continue on my walk up the beach.

Then I started having fun. I wasn’t trying to stay dry anymore. I was already wet. The breeze was beautiful. The day was sunny. I looked forward to when a cool wave would sweep me off my feet and give me a break from the hot sand and the trudge up the beach.

Then I woke up.

As I was relating the dream this morning at breakfast to my wife and oldest son, I thought that dream was a great analogy to life. We walk along, going from Point A to Point B, rarely looking around us. Then we get blindsided by events outside our control (ok, there’s where the analogy kinda breaks down…often events that hit us actually are under our control), we get tumbled around, and we’re left on the beach to pick up the pieces and continue on.

We would do well to expect these events. Life won’t let us just walk. That’s not how the world works. The better we prepare for events outside our control…the money problems, the free choices of our spouses and kids, the external-to-us forces of nature and humanity…the better it will be for us as we travel our journey.

It struck me that I should prepare well. Store up not only money against the rough times, but store up happiness by giving it, friendship by sharing it. Store up love by showing it.

If you’ll make those deposits, like money in the bank, and you’ll be able to make withdrawals when you need to.