LILY Letter 95: The Law of Unintended Consequences

January 31, 2023

The law of unintended consequences is a frequently observed phenomenon in which any action has results that are not part of the actor's purpose. The superfluous consequences may or may not be foreseeable or even immediately observable and they may be beneficial, harmful, or neutral in their impact. For example, our government printed $4 trillion in COVID relief to help people get through the pandemic. They did not intend to create the runaway inflation we have seen over the last year -- though that is the natural consequence of massively expanding the money supply while reducing economic activity.

The law of unintended consequences can apply in every area of life. You may spend an elaborate amount of money on first dates thinking it will impress your partner. The unintended consequence could be to overwhelm your partner and imply more interest than she can handle so early -- or to create an expectation that you can always afford to spend lavishly on dates. You might save money by purchasing cheap shoes that end up injuring your feet and incurring doctor bills. If you empower a king to accomplish great things, he may use that power to become a tyrant.

As we explore relationships, there will always be unintended consequences -- both positive and negative. Those are, to some extent, inevitable. You may marry someone who achieves great financial success or becomes a great cook after you are married -- or you might be in a car accident together that costs one or both of you your life. Both of these outcomes are almost completely unforeseeable results of choosing to marry a particular person. It is, in many ways, always a leap of faith.

We often counsel against seeing red flags that are not really there -- trusting your instincts too much when you are emotionally flooded and fearful. But we don't want to ignore the opposite mistake, which is failing to consider the unintended consequences that are reasonably foreseeable. Does the passion you love in him often turn to anger? Does the generosity you love in her reflect a tendency to spend money imprudently?

It is important to calmly consider the unintended consequences that could result from marrying a dating partner -- not only to prevent unwanted consequences wherever possible, but also to evaluate whether your partner is a person with whom you could weather the unintended consequences that cannot be reasonably foreseen. Could you nurse him or her while he or she is dying of cancer for many months? If the answer to this is "yes," perhaps you have a relationship worth keeping.

Our featured podcast episode this week is Unintended Consequences (listen to dive deeper) and our featured video is How Red Flags Keep You Single (the unintended consequences of only looking for red flags in dating relationships). Our Short of the week is Trying on New Thoughts. Convenient links to all of these FREE new resources are available below. Have a wonderful week!


LILY Pod Episode 105: Unintended Consequences (33min)

LILY Tube Video: How Red Flags Keep You Single (7min)

LILY Tube Short: Trying on New Thoughts (1min)

Discover what LILY Coaching can do for you. Simply email to set up a FREE consultation with Jeff or Cathy. We have private and group coaching options available. We look forward to working with you personally!

Get a copy of "Intentional Courtship" on Amazon to heal from relationship loss and create more real love in your life HERE: Intentional Courtship

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