“Playing safe is very risky.” —Seth Godin
What do you look back on with regret? Do you have moments in your life that if you could, you’d do it way differently?
Would you go back and have your cake and eat it too?
Two of the worst words in the English language can be, “What if?”
We can all look back on something, breathe a sigh of regret, and forlornly utter those two syllables.
The job we could have taken. The meal we could have avoided. Those words that we shouldn’t have said. The conversation we should have had.
Some of the “what if’s” just don’t mean that much, but some of them seem to change the trajectory of our life forever.
No matter how big it seems at the time, every decision matters. This is why we are machines at weighing the risks vs the rewards.
If the pluses outweigh the minuses, we go for it. Getting it right will be worth it!
If the negatives seem to stack higher than the positives, then we go another direction. Getting it wrong would just cost too much.
What does this decision making process have to do with marriage?
Living life in covenant with another human being is one of the greatest risks you could ever take, but it’s also provides one of life’s greatest rewards.
It might not always feel as racy as cage diving with Great White sharks or cliff jumping off of a 60 footer (although, sometimes it does feel scarily similar) but marriage pushes us to the limit of our risk, nonetheless.
It was a huge risk to say “I Do.” Neither one of you knew where the marriage was going to take you. Even though you had your fears, you both warmed your feet just enough to walk down that aisle and get ‘er done.
Because the reward of loving your partner for a lifetime and being loved in return outweighed the risk of all the bad that might happen.
The problem is, what you do to get a thing, is what you have to do to keep a thing.
The risk doesn’t stop just because you are months, years, or decades into it.
You have to keep taking the plunge on your partner’s behalf for it to work.
Sometimes, the longer you are together, the harder it is to call out the elephant in the room, open up that suitcase of offenses you both have, or try again to connect on a deeper level.
It is always risky to be vulnerable. It means you might get hurt.
But remember, that’s not all it means.
When you stand to lose a lot, you also stand to gain a lot.
It worked for you on your wedding day.
It will still work today.
What got you to overcome your fear then will still work now.
Are the potential rewards for opening up to your spouse worth it?
- this time it ends up different?
- instead of the cold shoulder, you get a soft place to land?
- your friendship, your romance, your sex life and your intimacy all at new, unrealized levels because you had the courage to try?
- you started to remember that the rewards outweigh the risks when love rules the day?
- you got the marriage you always wanted?
“What if?” can be two of the worst words you could ever say, but they can also be two of the best.
So go ahead! Get the encouragement, and support you need, and risk it again.