What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Next time you start to wonder how your marriage is doing, try an experiment. Take a pen and a piece of paper and draw a chart like the one above. The x-axis is how much time you spend on things, and the y-axis is how important each of those things are. Then start thinking of things.

For example, cuddling. Maybe you consider this an extremely worthy activity, yet you spend negative two minutes on it each day. Plot it on the graph at the lower right. Or let’s say you think making assumptions about what your spouse is thinking (or should be thinking) is a waste of time, and even counterproductive, yet you do it 14 times a day. Well then that should go in the upper left. Existential dread? Maybe you’re right where you want to be.

Pretty soon a picture of your marriage will emerge that might surprise you. You’ll see how much time you spend on the important things–and how much you waste on the trivial. If your chart looks like the one above, you might think about making some changes. You might, for example, work with your spouse to move the stuff in the top-left quadrant down to the bottom left, and start investing more energy and time into the things that matter. An economist might say that’s better resource allocation; we just think it might make you a little happier.

Posted in marriage

4 Responses to What’s Wrong With This Picture?

  1. Whit Carter says:

    Spot on! I can’t wait for this book to come out.

  2. An important chart! But applicable to all of life, not just marriage. I would argue that every deviation from the diagonal is an instance of akrasia (an ancient Greek term for failure to do what you genuinely want to do). More on this: http://messymatters.com/akrasia

  3. Pingback: Gut Check on Your Marriage | Spousonomics

  4. Pingback: Graphing how you spend your time | Webby Clare

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