All marriages begin with geat expectations. But not long after the wedding and the honeymoon, subtle changes begin to take place until eventually many couples reach what Marcolm Gladwell called a The Tipping Point / How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.
Here are just a few of the "little things" Gladwell might have mentioned if he had been talking about marketing a marriage rather than a pair of sneakers.
Mary Lou wrote in her blog, "Research shows that a few years after an exchange of vows, these "little things" start lessening in frequency and fading in intensity until couples find themselves with a marriage that is about to tip over into an abyss. This is the moment in time when we begin to wonder if we made the right choice in a partner."
Practicing the little things that we call "love skills" builds "emotional equity" in marriage. Like equity in a business, this reservoir of goodwill is essential to surviving the downturns caused by external forces such as: a job loss, serious illness, financial meltdown, or any of the tough times that hit without warning and demolish our marriages if we aren't 100% committed to each other.
"Love skills," can be strengthened with practice, or lost through neglect. In other words, we use them or we lose them---and each other. In another of Gladwell's books, Outliers / The Story Of Success, he says it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a champion at virtually anything. In other words great athletes, top scientists, and world class musicians all had to practice their specialty for the equivalent of 250 forty-hour work weeks before they became truly proficient.
How can we apply that knowledge to our marriages? You could say that... if we consistently practice our "love skills" we should be able to build a championship marriage after 10,000 hours. It only takes a few minutes a day to show each that we care, but we need to do it everyday. If we counted each day as one practice session we could build a championship marriage in only 27 years.
So let's get to it! Let's practice those love skills. Let's build some championship marriages!