Last week Seth had a great little post entitled “Efficiency is free”. I have a similar thought about marriage.
The more effort we put into our marriages early on, the less total effort we must do in the long run to get the same results.
At any point in our marriage, we still have the choice to work a bit harder now, or work a lot harder later. We can get by initially on very little effort; we can skim and slide by – but only for a time. Eventually the initial low cost effort path will lead to much more effort being required.
Another example of this is time: if you give our bride a reasonable amount of time from the start, she will be a happy with the amount of time over the long run. If you short her time initially, she will grow more and more resentful, and eventually she will only feel satisfied with far more of our time than if we had started out with somewhat more time.
Bottom line: What seems like the easy way now is probably the hard way in the long run.
(And yes, this also applies to those who short their spouse sexually. Any time we are denied, we feel a need for more than we really need to stop feeling denied.)