Love and marriage. Like a horse and carriage, right? Well, sometimes, but let’s be honest. It’s not always easy. You say “I do” with such hope and bright-eyed optimism and then, before you know it, life gets in the way. Kids, jobs, mortgages. Stuff right out left field.
Here’s something I recently learned that’s pretty interesting: it takes five positives to make up for one negative. That’s because our brains are hardwired to make negative experiences more sticky. In order to survive, our caveman ancestors needed to learn that fire is hot and woolly mammoths are dangerous. That’s why we can get praise all day long except for one bit of criticism and what do we obsess about? The criticism. So think about the math for a minute.
If your sweetheart tosses his dirty socks on the floor twice in one week, that’s minus five times two. He’s lost ten points! So even if he puts them in the hamper where they belong the other five days, he’s still in the hole by five. See how easy it is for your sweetheart (or you) to end up in the doghouse?
That’s why it’s so important to wrack up Frequent Foreplay Miles by going out of your way to score points. I know. I know. We’re not supposed to keep score but we agreed to be honest, didn’t we? We all know who left dirty dishes in the sink AGAIN, who won the last three arguments, and who got to pick the last Netflix movie.
So here’s what Doug and I do. We go out of our way, every single day, to wrack up Frequent Foreplay Miles by being thoughtful, kind, and generous towards each other. If you ask yourself every day what you can do to make your sweetheart’s day a little better, it’s easy. An I’m-thinking-about-you-text, a small gift, the offer to run an errand, biting your tongue when you’re tempted to say something like “calm down,” and even a well-timed smile. All of those things help you wrack up points and you need them because, let’s face it, you’re going to screw up no matter how hard you try not to.
Give it a shot and let me know how it goes. Oh, and for more about Frequent Foreplay Miles, check out the book by that title by Shela Dean, available on Amazon.