100% Isn’t Enough for Your Marriage

I’ve been thinking…

There is something that has been on my mind. Not just a little, but darn near constant. My 5 year anniversary is in just 2 short days, and it has me thinking a lot about the past 5 years. Overall they have been absolutely phenomenal, but we’ve had our share of trials we’ve worked through together. This is the first of a few posts that I am going to write on marriage and what I have learned in the past 5 years. (The below photo credit goes to Wendy Mayo Photographer).

As part of my undergraduate degree, I was required to take a class called family foundations. One day in class, we were taught that for a marriage to succeed, husband and wife need to each contribute 100%, not 50%. That way, when (when, not if) one of them was unable to contribute their 50%, the marriage would still be able to stay afloat, and the total would still equal out to more than 100%. And this applies to emotional effort put forth to the relationship, house work, care of children, etc.

My naive young brain dismissed this as not making any sense. I couldn’t figure out why the heck each person wouldn’t be contributing their full effort (Except for maybe in severe cases of poor health). I knew I wasn’t going to be that lazy, and I decided I wouldn’t marry someone lazy so it wouldn’t matter.

Time passed, and I learned…

Fast forward to now. It turns out I didn’t know everything at 19 years old when I took that class. (Go figure!) Laziness has nothing to do with the 100%-100% rule. Life simply happens! You can’t always contribute your full effort, and you have to lean on your spouse. And they will need to lean on you!

While I was working on my masters degree, between my job, internship, and classes I contributed significantly less than my “fair share”. My husband did what I couldn’t (without complaint). On days that my husband works his 12 hour shifts, he is emotionally and physically exhausted when he walks through the door of our home, and I do what he can’t. When I was depressed, my husband contributed more as well. And now that Jeff will be starting school in the fall, our respective duties will need to shift again. We take turns being what the other person can’t be. I am priveleged to be able to take care of my husband when he needs it, and blessed to have him to do the same for me. Marriage is amazing.

And then on days where both of us are feeling fantastic we are both contributing our 100%. On these days, our relationship gets an extra boost. This definitely doesn’t hurt. It saves some extra goodness for when we need it. Those awesome bonus point days make up for when neither of us have anything left to give, where we hold a barely coherent conversation and stumble into bed after somehow convincing the baby to sleep. I would be lying if I told you that we have this system down perfect, but we are getting better.

Marriage in general isn’t perfect. My marriage definitely isn’t perfect. No one’s is! But I love striving for perfection and growing as a person with my amazing husband by my side. Thank you for 5 years, and I can hardly believe that I am lucky enough to get to spend time and all eternity with you.

3 thoughts on “100% Isn’t Enough for Your Marriage

  1. Very impressive post….You totally speak the truth on this. Marriage is something that you don’t keep score on who does what. Well don Hailey…

    1. Thanks Jan! You are absolutely right, you can’t keep score in marriage, that’s not what it is about :).

  2. Ok so coming from a Family Life major’s perspective, this makes TOTAL SENSE! Basically everything you said is true, and though I am not married yet I have witnessed this particular 100% phenomenon thing in my parents marriage and have had glimpses of it in other respected couples in my life, not everyone can give it ALL, ALL the time, and that’s ok, because that’s what the other person is there for 🙂

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