Marriage is NOT 50/50

Divorce is 50/50, Marriage has to be 100/100. Well this is the post going around Facebook and it feels like a good place to start writing my blog. So often we view things in life as a win or lose proposition. If we can’t win or lose then it has to be ‘fair’ or 50/50. When we argue in a relationship we engage in tactics that ‘one up’ the other person. Or we feel this strong desire to defend ourselves which typically doesn’t turn out well and can tip the percentage scales in one direction or the other.

There are so many things to consider when dividing out percentages. I think of division of labor or even who initiates sex more than the other. Throughout the years in my marriage the division of household labor has felt pretty even, but sometimes maybe it hasn’t been. But we don’t sweat it as the pendulum will swing back in the other direction sooner or later.

What about resolvable issues. A mere 30% of issues in a relationship are actually resolvable. That leaves 70% that are not resolvable. Wow…the magnitude of 70% of things not being able to be resolved is quite amazing if you ask me. Mostly though, it isn’t the ‘things’ that need resolving (like whose turn it is to do the dishes) it is the underlying emotion. I feel uncared for when you don’t do the dishes.
I know that over the course of my 20 year marriage I probably didn’t give it 100% at all times. Sometimes I gave more, sometimes I gave less. Sometimes I can say I gave very little. Sometimes I was so drained that I had nothing to give it all. On the other hand sometimes I gave more than I could handle. But those are the times when my husband most likely had very little to give, so I gave him my reserves.

So is there such a thing as giving 100% in a marriage? I really don’t think so. But honestly when people divorce they give the divorce 150% and we are back to winning and losing. Why is it that you can be ‘all in’ financially and emotionally when you divorce, but can’t be ‘all in’ during the course of the marriage? It is baffling to me.

Part of the issue here is recognizing that when we are depleted we need to re-energize. It’s like filling up a gas tank. I’m probably not going to wait until the ‘light’ turns on before I get gas. If I do I feel panicky and edgy. However, if my gas tank gets low I will be pro-active and fill it up. I remember as a young driver my sister and I would argue about putting gas in the tank of the car that we shared. It had to be ‘fair’ so we would take turns. However, neither of us acceptable responsibility when we ran out of gas. I can’t count the number of times we pushed the car home yelling at each other and placing blame. Eventually my sister got fed up and bought her own car. She divorced me.

What I do know about 100% is that when an issue comes up in a marriage, working on taking 100% of your responsibility in the issue will resolve an issue quickly! You can’t take just a part of the responsibility, take all of it! So after looking at marriage being 100/100 I will have to agree. 100% of responsibility is the key to making marriage work. Step up, call yourself out on what you did and how you contributed to the problem. It will fill the marital gas tank and avoid the 50/50 split.

It’s time to stop arguing, stop blame and time to start talking and loving

Dr. Terri

marriage 50
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