Why your marshmallow IQ matters
Ever heard of the Stanford marshmallow experiment?
Back in the 1960’s, researcher Walter Mischel had the slightly wicked idea to put a marshmallow in front of a preschooler. The researcher said he or she would return in 15 minutes—and if the child could wait that long, they’d get an extra marshmallow.
Funny thing? Forty years later, researchers tracked down 59 of the subjects. Those able to delay gratification with the marshmallow as kids showed greater success as adults in body mass index (BMI), SAT scores, educational achievement, and other life measures.
Admittedly, lots of factors go into that ability to restrain oneself. But essentially, the kids who could wait for the marshmallow were able to deny an immediate reward for a greater future one.
You can probably see this in a lot of areas in marriage. Yet one of the more obvious ones is how a couple handles money, that strange microcosm of our relationship. Money reveals how we trust each other, how we set guidelines (or don’t), and what’s valuable to us.
But part of it is our ability to focus on a greater reward; to say no now in order to say yes later.
Keep in mind that the yeses/second marshmallows of our society aren’t necessarily the right yeses for the people of God: “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal...But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:20,33).
Perhaps the two of you can decide on a lifestyle of decisive simplicity and generosity in order to obtain an imperishable “marshmallow.” (Are we taking that too far?)
Where does your true treasure lie? Are you willing to say the necessary no’s to obtain it?
Click here to listen to the Thrivent CEO talk about consumerism, contentment, and money-related happiness.
THE GOOD STUFF: Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)
ACTION POINTS: As a couple, talk about what your Kingdom-oriented goals could be. (Wouldn’t it be great to be able to be generous? What if we could sponsor five impoverished children? What if we whittled down our possessions in order to keep the main things the main things?) What’s one no you’re both willing to say, in order to obtain a far greater yes?
Visit the FamilyLife® Website