Friday, August 21, 2009

The Black Swan and marriage

A friend and I have been talking about the Black Swan book and applying these concepts to marriage.  The idea of the black swan is that it is the outlier events that make life interesting and unpredictable.  Leaving room for outliers is an important investment if you want to be open to big dividends. 

So Here's a thought.  Use the stock market as a metaphor for a spouse.  Your personal capital (happiness, unity, joy, etc.) is the result of investments placed in this market.  Some investments are safe and will pay off a predictable dividend.  (Keeping your job, taking out the trash, making dinner, ...)    There are other investments which seem safe, but actually do poorly because of idiosyncrasies of the underlying market. These would be things like giving a gift to a spouse whose love language is encouraging words.  

But what about investments that pay off 100 fold?  In this light, a black Swan husband would be wise, after spending 95% of his capital in the safe investments (routines he establishes), to spend the other 5% he'll in crazy, new untried “stocks”.   Just like a financial investor who is getting creative, he does not want to do this in a random, haphazard fashion. No, but he does need to open up his mind to try an "interesting" investment.   I think this might have to do with paying attention to the tips and hints dropped by the wife.  These are clues for possible investments, but one has to be alert for them.  It might also have to do with reading creatively to get new ideas to try.

One interesting thing that I am observing is that both good and bad investments have the dividend of information.   If you try to bringing home a giant box of chocolates for your wife and it totally flops, chances are you will get to have a conversation in which she'll tell you something about herself that you never knew before.  Same thing if you pick something that works well.  The husband learns something new that makes him a better husband.  

Now for practicalities.  What does 5% mean in a relationship?  If we look at waking hours, that's about 5/week. So the Black Swan says that if we want to take advantage of outliers, we should spend a good chunk of at least one day every week trying something new with our spouse. I find that number very interesting because leaders in my church have long emphasized the importance of "dating" your spouse once/week.  What would happen if I looked at weekly dates as a way to try a new kind of investment?  Maybe we could discover that we both love bowling, or poetry, or going to art museums, or racing radio controlled boats in a local pond. 

1 comment:

Rex said...

Do you both like racing radio controlled boats in a local pond?

Where can I get one of those?