the minimum amount of fissile material needed to maintain a nuclear chain reaction. ~ google.com
The concept of critical mass plays out in marriages in many ways. Another way of stating the same idea is “tipping point.” Imagine putting a bag of rocks on one side of a teeter-totter and then adding one rock at a time to a basket on the other end. Nothing seems to happen until the weight in the basket exceeds the weight of the bag, then the basket side drops as the bag side goes up.
When you make changes in your marriage a similar dynamic plays out. You keep doing and doing, but you see no reaction from your wife. Then, “suddenly,” things change. The change happens because you kept at it till you reached critical mass. Before that, your wife was seeing the changes, but they were not sufficient to tip things over.
The great thing about critical mass is once you reach it the reaction becomes self-sustaining. You can’t stop adding fuel, but you won’t have to keep adding to the degree you have been. Getting to critical mass can take a lot of hard work, but once you get there it gets much easier.
The next few days I will discuss how critical mass works for several common marriage issues. The takeaway from this post is that not seeing anything happening doesn’t mean your actions are a waste of time and energy. You can’t see how close you are to critical mass, but if you keep going you will reach it!