By Jon R Anderson
It seems logical, right? I mean, isn’t marriage a partnership that only works well when we’re both doing our part?
I hear this sentiment, over and over again, from people who are struggling in their marriage. However, a 50-50 sort of marriage is actually a formula for a disastrous marriage!
First of all, it implies that each person must be continually doing their part in order for things to be good. I don’t know about you but, even on my best days, I am not always being fully unselfish, considerate, patient, joyful, giving, loving spouse. If I’m not always doing my part, why should I expect my spouse to be different?
Furthermore, it implies that we BOTH have to be continually doing our part in order to be in that 100 percent zone… something even more unattainable! If I’m shooting for 50% while my spouse is doing the same, we are almost always coming up short.
Also, our human nature is to think that we are doing more of our share than we actually are. So, with the 50-50 mindset, we tend to stop short and wait for the other to meet us “halfway”. When they see us stopping, they tend to stop and wait on us. Leaving us both standing there, building frustration and resentment as we get caught in this endless, negative feedback loop.
But there is usually an even more damaging state of mind that develops from the 50-50 relationship: It places our own moods, sense of contentment, and, overall well-being in the hands of another human being. The problem with that is that we all have a hard enough time keeping ourselves spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and, physically healthy. It’s an impossibly unbearable load to place upon our spouses the added pressure of being responsible for ourselves as well.
So, I offer a better equation. How about just shooting for 100% yourself? Of course, you won’t consistently hit the mark but what if you can consistently hit 70%? Then your spouse only has to consistently hit 30% to have “fullness” in your relationship. The more you have that fullness, the more your spouse enjoys you, providing them more and more incentive to give a little more. Which, in turn, creates more and more incentive for you to contribute a little more. If you are getting better at being a spouse, even if your mate isn’t, the relationship can’t help but get better.
If your marriage doesn’t seem to be getting better, get to our next Love Reboot. Click on “courses” above for more information. If you know of a marriage that is struggling, send them this link: