“We hear this all the time. It may or may not be quite true, but let's say it is.Half of all marriages end in divorce!
Given this state of affairs, people assume that every happy couple walking down the aisle faces a fifty percent chance of ending up divorced.
And that isn't true at all.
Wait a minute. I can do the math. Fifty percent of couples tying the knot today will eventually divorce. So if I get married, I have only a fifty percent chance of making it "till death do us part." Right?
Kobe Bryant steps up to the line, he has only a fifty percent chance of making the point? Of course not. We know that Kobe's chance of success is better than eighty percent. Mine, on the other hand, is near zero. This is because basketball is a game of skill, not a game of chance. Statistics for the entire population of basketball players may be interesting, but only an individual player's performance can tell us how well that player is likely to do.
When we hear a statistical generalization, our usual reaction is to view it as something that applies equally to everyone. But that is true only in cases of pure chance.
If I'm in Las Vegas, betting my favorite number at the roulette wheel, I have only a one in 38 chance of winning. The gal next to me, betting her favorite number, has the same chance. Everyone at the table who bets on a number has the same chance as everyone else, and nothing any of us does can change that. The outcome is determined by forces beyond our control.
Basketball isn't like that, and neither is marriage.
The progress of a relationship, like the progress of a basketball game, depends on the actions of the participants and the quality of their teamwork. A top player can't guarantee that every shot he makes will score. But his skill, determination, and effort mean that his chances are far better than average. Approaching marriage with high levels of awareness and commitment means that we do not have to fall victim to statistics or depend on luck to get us through.
Because marriage isn't something that happens to us at random -- it's something we do ourselves.
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