So much has happened since I started writing this, but I’ll try get this idea out, before starting an update on the next development…
I enjoyed economics in high school, but I never really used much of what I learned (and rapidly forgot). The only exception is the concept of Opportunity Cost.
Definition: Opportunity cost is the value of something that is lost because you choose an alternative course of action.
I am sure it has important consequences for economic analysis, but ironically I wouldn’t be able to explain that anymore. The significance for me, is in its application as principle to evaluation the ‘trade-off’ for choosing anything in life, such as how we spend our money, or particularly how we spend our time. The most challenging dilemma for most working couples, is how to balance time working, with family time.
The opportunity cost principle is most easily seen in the relative value of lost family time when deciding to work an extra evening, or going out to pub/poker with mates. This universal struggle to get the right balance was not the main reason I introduced this opportunity cost concept.
As I try navigate the wild waters of my wife’s moods, I am beginning to notice some repeated patterns. Since the depression last year tore into the weak spots of our relationship, my wife has developed the default mindset that I am unhappy with everything she does. This then means that she is reluctant to discuss anything that she’s thinking or considering doing, because she ‘knows’ I’m not going to like it – makes sense, because who wants to hear negativity all the time. The problem with this is that my opinion isn’t as she assumes and this causes a distance between us which seems to be getting larger and larger.
I tried to address some of this when I wrote Dear Hypomanic Wife, because I noticed the busier and ‘faster’ she gets, the more she shuts me out, because of fears that I won’t approve of her choices. On those rare occasions when she does manage to include me in her life, she introduces the discussion with the feeling that she knows I won’t like it, but she’s doing it anyway. As I describe this, I am thinking it sounds so dysfunctional, I am surprised it hasn’t completely torn us apart.
The main insight I realized over the weekend is that most marriages present many opportunities each day to share in each others lives. These shared feelings/thoughts/decisions represent opportunities to grow together. If fear or insecurity leads to not discussing and consulting with each other, the result is more than just a lost growth opportunity – the tension & distancing causes an injury to the relationship bond. And that specific chance to strengthen the shared relationship connection can never come again. In this context, I feel that opportunities to share in each others lives are helpful if fulfilled, but harmful if avoided – never really ‘neutral’. This makes it so important to figure this out, as quick as possible. After couple therapy today, there is so much more I have to share… more to come, soon.
Apology: if you’re a new follower to this blog, and weren’t expecting such a rambling (especially the intro), I’m sorry. If you relate, disagree or just confused, don’t be shy – comment below.