How little can I get by with?
Seth’s post “How much can I get away with?” made me think of that human tendency to do as little as we must to “get by”. While I doubt many are doing it consciously, I think many of us have calculated the minimum we have to do to “get by” with our bride. Some guys do nothing more than that. Some do 10% or 25% more and think they are going above and beyond. Some fall back to that minimum, or some small bit above that minimum, when life gets difficult/busy/stressful. (The last of those is the one of which I have been most guilty.)
Setting aside the reality that we should love her enough to go WAY beyond the minimum, there are logical fallacies in this behaviour.
- What we do, and don’t do, is measured in both the short-term and the long-term. The minimum we can get by with in any day is not the amount we can get by with day in and day out. If you keep doing just the minimum, you are okay each day, but you are building up a backlog of “not enough” for the week, month, and year.
- Even if you stay ahead of the build up of not enough, what if you hit a prolonged difficult/busy/stressful time in your life? You have been “just getting by” so you have no reserves, and now you can’t even do the bare minimum for a time.
- What if you face a crisis: death of a family member, long-term illness or disease (you, your bride, or one of the kids), or prolonged unemployment? In these situations, couples who have been getting by on “just enough” have very high divorce rates. Those who have been doing far more than the minimum have much better chances of their marriage surviving, and maybe even coming out better than when they started the crisis.
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