What would happen if Safety and Risk (as most people know it) took over Love and Marriage in the same way it’s taken over our workplaces?
NB: This was first published in August 2015 but has been revamped and republished by request – not much has changed!
Read to the end to find out how to get a FREE copy of Dr Rob Long’s book “For The Love of Zero” You will probably enjoy all the comments at the end as well.
Love is perhaps our most important value. Safety is perhaps the most important thing we value. (see We Can Value Safety But Safety Is Not A Value). Despite our efforts, nobody can define, control or measure either of them – to do so indicates that we don’t appreciate or understand either. Not knowing (see I DONT KNOW), about safety, risk, love or marriage conjures up significant fears in many. Not knowing is particularly unacceptable to those in safety and so we create systems, rules, controls and measurements – the result is that something we value has become something that many now despise or laugh at. In getting his head around commitment to zero vision, Sidney Dekker recently wrote of his 20+ year marriage: “….we are fully committed to a zero vision of divorce” (see it in context here). We’ve also been discussing lately the paradox of too much safety being unsafe, in reflecting on that and Dekker’s statement, I had a horrible thought – what if love and marriage in our lives became as contrived and controlling as safety and risk in the workplace?
Sometimes, reframing or using metaphors and humour can help us to reflect on sacred archetypes through a new lense. I did this once before when I wrote: “Give Safety a Sporting Chance”. I combined safety and sport just to see what would happen and it caused quite a reaction.
So, what if the Govt, with all the best intent, decided to use its power and wisdom to eliminate loneliness and divorce from society? If they formed the Love Authority and introduced the The Act of Love:2017 then this is what might happen:
- “LOVE” will be known as “ZERO HATE”
- Generic compatibility checklists will be used to find suitable partners. Shortcomings and flaws will be analysed using a matrix and recorded in a register showing scores before and after controls are implemented and personality changes and attitude adjustments completed. A minimum score of 70 is required. There will be plenty of new Consultants around who can do all this boring stuff for you and and there are already a number of Apps available.
- Every time you met somebody new, before you can spend time with them, you must undergo an induction, delivered by somebody who hardly knows them, covering all of their values, goals, habits, likes, dislikes, allergies, fears etc etc – and there will be a multiple choice quiz at the end.
- At the start of every new relationship a comprehensive “Love Plan” will be developed and placed on a shelf. The bigger the plan, then the greater the love will be. This may be based entirely on plans from previous relationships as long as font and formatting is consistent with auditors requirements. You will feel confident knowing that this will “cover your @r5$” if anything goes wrong” – unless you actually end up in the Family Court where you find out that it was more of a liability.
- If you are keen on someone but they don’t like you then all you say is “Love is a choice you make” – and they are yours. If it becomes clear that they still don’t share your zero vision then you must say: “So what is an acceptable number of hearts to break”
- The Act Of Love:2017 would have a whole new meaning. This would be enforced by Love Inspectors.
- Stalking is now an accepted practice as that is a sign of one’s commitment to love being the no1 priority and “walking the talk”
- All wedding ceremonies must include a 2 hour, 187 slide Powerpoint presentation on the pitfalls of marriage and how to deal with them (you will already know most of this having been to quite a few weddings already). Some churches and celebrants will realise that they can save time and money by doing this online.
- The quality of your relationship or marriage will be measured based on the number of major arguments and affairs. Signs must be erected on the front door to the effect of: “CELEBRATING … YEARS OF BLISS WITHOUT AN AFFAIR”
- “Love factor” KPI’s for measurement of all aspects of the relationship would be required – “ELHT” – Expressions Of Love For Every Hour Together, “LTA” = Lost Time Arguments etc
- Before a couple can procreate or adopt a “Parenting Permit” will be required.
- Following every heart break, major argument, separation or divorce there will be a major investigation into the root cause and who was to blame and the punishment determined.
- Instead of saying “I Love You” you must say “I Will Never Hurt You”.
- When we attend events and conferences, instead of being told where the fire exits are, we would be given the names of some recommended Relationship Councillors and Family Law Firms.
- Place meaningless aphorisms all around the home saying things like: “Love is Everybody’s Responsibility”, “If its not on then its not on”, “Love is the No1 Priority”, “Zero Heartbreak”, “All Divorces are Preventable” and “Love Is A Choice You Make”.
- Valentines Day would be every day!
- Each person will regularly inspect the others workplace, circles of friends, sporting teams, club, family and social media pages for any person who they imagine may be even a remote threat to their relationship and they will be controlled using the hierarchy of controls – elimination obviously being the most effective control – there is no need to think about the subsequent by-products, love shifts, love homeostasis or trade-offs. Your partner must also self identify and report on at least 7 of these people each week, report them to you and a register must be kept.
- Couples who really, really love each other can prove it by implementing “Beyond Zero Hate” and “Zero Hate Plus” programs
- Near misses such as flirting, perving at others or even forgetting to open the car door etc will be noted – the pyramid tells us that after 1000 of these then divorce is a certainty.
- We would have programs like Behavioural Based Love, Love Observations, Zero Hate, Take 1 – all available for download as an app.
- Intimacy would require more than just one kind of PPE! – Gloves, hard hat, hi viz, hearing protection, eye protection, breathing apparatus (best end the list there!). Certain activities would, of course, require a permit and observers.
- Prostitutes will be engaged for all high risk activities as they are just contractors and can easily be blamed and punished if that causes problems with your relationship – divorce as a result of this will not count in statistics.
- Every new activity with your loved ones would require a risk assessment – generic ones can be downloaded.
- There would be a very comprehensive Safe Love Method Statement or Love Safety Analysis for every stage of the relationship – these may also be downloaded for a small fee.
- When watching your kids playing sport, words of encouragement would be banned – you must only yell: “Don’t get hurt!”
- All couples will establish “10 Golden Rules” – a breach will result in instant severing of the relationship or divorce
- The Hierarchy of Love Controls could get interesting: Elimination, Substitution, Engineering Controls, Administrative and PPE
- We would have to attend daily jewellery box talks, weekly love committee meetings and love would be the first agenda item at all family and social gatherings.
- In addition to completion of a daily checklist, and regular expressions of love inspections, our relationships would be regularly audited by the Love Officer or the Zero Hate Manager.
- There is no need to do any due diligence about the effectiveness or critical thinking about the by-products of the above – as long as you tick all the boxes and are still together then all is good.
- After some time of plateauing results, some may start to get an uneasy feeling about this approach and realise that there are social psychological and human factors involved in love and decision making!
Sighhhhh I sort of wish I hadn’t done that, its made me feel a bit yuck! Imagine what the “safety approach” would do to love and marriage? Obviously most people could not live like this so why has Safety become so mechanized and dehumanized when it already does all the rubbish above?
As Dr Rob Long said in “All We Love Is Need”:
How strange then that safety is the only place where one hears the dumb down language of perfectionism, invincibility and superiority. Why is it that only in safety do we find people who deny the nature of necessity and fallibility? Why is it only in safety that logic goes out the window and people speak the language of absolutes and perfection? Why is it only in safety that people cannot manage the reality of necessity and speak nonsense when all we love is need?
This has just been an exercise to reflect on whether our traditional approach to safety is causing more harm than good, and for a bit of fun – feel free to share you own safety & risk/love & marriage metaphors (best responses will be sent a copy of Rob Longs new book: “For The Love of Zero”). (sorry, Australian readers only due to horrendous postage costs)