Chart, graph or journal your way to a better marraige

June 30, 2010

in Acts of Service

© Paul H. Byerly

We all respond to attention paid to what we’re doing. We’re more aware when others are watching, and unless that leads to mistakes due to nervousness, being observed generally results in improved performance. What’s more, we tend to respond to self-monitoring much the same way – the more attention we pay to our progress, the more progress we make. This is why a chart over the bathroom scale can help us loss weight, and a record of our workout helps us improve more quickly.

Why not apply this to your marriage? Pick something you should improve, and start keeping a record. Mark each time you leave the seat up, leave socks on the floor, or speak rudely to or about your bride. Keep track of how often you give her a hug for no reason, how often you give her flowers, or the amount of face time you give her. Reduce the data to simple numbers, a chart, or graph, so you can see your progress at a glance.

But don’t stop there! Once you have a few weeks of data, start looking for trends, and then try to understand those trends. If you notice more rude remarks on a certain day of the week, try to figure out why so you can deal with it. Whether or not you figure out why, be extra aware on that day of the week. On the other side of it, if you do better at certain times, try to figure out why so you can reproduce that. A side note, consider when you do and don’t have sex as a factor in trends. If you are less nice after sex, you need to deal with that.  Likewise, if you are more nice when it’s been awhile, this proves you can be nicer if you want to, so start wanting to.

Can you use this tool as a way to get her to change? You can, but I don’t think you should. If she chooses to use this tool, that’s great. If you suggest it to deal with anything that is just about her, I doubt it will end well.

Can you use this tool as a couple? You can provided she is honestly down with it. If you push her into it, or use it to prove she is failing, it’s a whip, not a tool. This really only works on team effort things, where you both want to change, and you both need to improve.

1 comments
Paul G
Paul G

An interesting concept, but not sure if the wife would be happy to find your stash of 'wife data'. It would be an interesting conversation, thats for sure! "Looks like hugs are up 2% this week, while pecks on the cheek are down."

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