When you see something like the title of this article what comes to mind? There are a lot of “laws” around. Laws from government, laws of success, laws from the Bible, laws from science and many other sources. But when the statement is “The 2nd Law” it narrows the field much more tightly. For the tremendously geeky the 2nd Law of Robotics comes to mind. Oh, if you know it without Googling or Binging I am (reasonably) impressed and not at all worried. I’ve enjoyed my fair share of Asimov’s works.
Let’s take a look at the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics…because this is a blog about being a Happier Husband and it fits, right? One way of stating this law is “In an isolated system entropy always increases and never decreases because isolated systems always tend toward a state of thermodynamic equilibrium, which is maximum entropy.”
See? You get it. Ok, blog over. 😉
Well, perhaps I should flesh this one out a bit. Recently my lovely bride came across a post in social media. The person asked a simple question in the middle of a long and serious post. For the sake of clarity and brevity I’ll restate the question in my own words. The question was this.
Are there truly happy marriages or do people who stay married just live with what they have out of duty or obligation?
Take a moment and ponder that. Go back and re-read the question and think about it for a minute or two. Do it now, I’ll wait.
If you are like me you have seen couples who stay married out of obligation. Some because they were raised in a Christian home and don’t believe in divorce. Some stay married so that the children will not have to deal with the pain of divorce (although too often these couples divorce as soon as the children are grown). Some couples stay married simply due to inertia. It’s too much effort to start a new life and so they remain together, basically roommates but without any love.
So very sad and I see it all the time.
Do you want to avoid the fate of a miserable marriage of obligation? Do you want a truly happy marriage? Then you have to deal with the problem of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Thought I forgot about that didn’t you? No, and be glad that I didn’t as this is perhaps one of the most important factors in being a Happier Husband (or a Happier Wife for you ladies who snuck in here :-)).
Remember the first part of the Law. “In an isolated system entropy always increases.”
Let’s break this down. An isolated system is one in which there is no outside influence. If you were to take your wife to small tropical island and the two of you lived there with no one else around, no books, no prayer, no TV, no Internet, etc. that would be a truly isolated system. But for the sake of discussion even a normal marriage mimics an isolated system in many ways. You DO spend a lot of time with just the two of you.
What about maximum entropy / thermodynamic equilibrium? In non-technical terms this means that over time things eventually slow to a stop, cool down and fall apart. Ah, NOW you are starting to see it. A marriage will default to this sad state of cold emotionless suffering if it follows the 2nd Law. Read this next sentence carefully.
All marriages follow the 2nd Law.
YAY! Welcome to hopelessness! Your marriage is doomed! Doomed! That was sarcasm if you didn’t get it. But the truth is that all marriages DO have to deal with the 2nd Law. But there IS hope. Where is the hope? It’s in the phrase “isolated system”.
An isolated system has no external input. No energy or power is applied from the outside. Here is the secret. You must not allow your marriage to be an isolated system!
Ok, I don’t mean that you should be bringing in all the advice from every person in your life who thinks they know more than you. I am also not suggesting you talk to ANYONE of the opposite gender for consolation with your marriage issues. That’s a recipe for potential disaster.
Here is the point. Isolated systems don’t have power applied from the outside. How do you keep your marriage from being an isolated system?
In a truly happy marriage there are large, grandiose gestures and events to celebrate the union. A special vacation for just the two of you. A wonderful anniversary party. Attending a marriage class or marriage conference. You can think of many others. These are power applied to your marriage. But these events, important as they may be, are not all that is required to make a truly happy marriage and will not maintain the level of power required. Just like you can’t plug in a laptop or tablet computer into a power outlet one time and expect it to run forever you can’t have a big event every year or so and expect a happy marriage. You have to plug in frequently.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” – Hebrews 10:24
Small gestures and habits, done every day, create the power necessary for a happy marriage. Let’s cover a few examples:
1) Using kind and encouraging words.
2) Physical touch (hugs, kisses, holding hands, arms around each other, etc.)
3) Praying together.
4) Reading blogs, articles and books about improving marriage.
5) Serving one another.
Many more examples exist. Here is my challenge to you. Start using these (and other) ways to apply intentional power to your marriage. Every day. What day? Every single day.
Go do it!