Future Consequences and Lasting Relationships

Sometimes I think one day when I was absent from elementary school the teacher passed out the Life Instruction Manual. And since I was sick that day I didn’t get a copy and the teacher didn’t think to give me a copy when I returned to school. I think I know what would be Chapter 1 in the Life Instruction Manual.  If, of course, there were such a thing as a Life Instruction Manual.  I should point out that if the Life Instruction Manual was available in stores, I would go buy a copy.

Here is a sneak preview: Many of the decisions that we find difficult involve varying sets of consequences.  Some of those consequences we will experience immediately whereas others will not affect us for some time.  And often we are faced with a dilemma where we can choose an option that has very positive immediate benefits but more negative distant costs.  Or vice-versa: immediate costs but distant benefits.  And I believe resolving these kinds of dilemmas appropriately is as important a skill as any I can think of.

Of course the term lasting relationship is synonymous with long-term relationship.  And I bet each of you can think of things you did that you weren’t happy about but that contributed to the long-term health of your relationship. Sometimes we should live for the moment, and other times we should plan for the future.  But knowing when we should do one or the other is not always easy.

Stay tuned for a longer post on the importance of immediate and distant consequences in lasting relationships.

About Alan Strathman

Alan has spent 24 years as a professor of psychology at the University of Missouri. He is the founder of HelpingRelationshipsLast.com and contributes content regularly through blog posts and e-books that communicates the findings of psychological research on relationships. If you would like more information about Alan, please visit alanstrathman.com.