50-50. Conventional wisdom says this is fair in marriage. “No!” I’ve heard others argue. “It’s got to be 100-100!” Either way, the idea is each spouse contributes equally to the relationship. This way the marriage relationship is protected from burnout and selfishness. This way conflict will be low, the connection will be high, and the impact of issues will be minimized. This way, marriage will be “happily ever after”. The End.
Except it isn’t the end. None of that is attainable. The marriage relationship is not an equal one. Neither, for that matter, is any other relationship. At some point in time, each spouse will feel as if they’re giving more. At some point in time each spouse truly will be giving more than the other.
Marriage isn’t fair.
This is such a hang-up for many couples. They wait, and wait, and wait for fairness. After waiting doesn’t work, they often move to a new strategy. Demand, and demand, and demand fairness. Spouses can wait forever and they can demand constantly, but it still won’t make marriage fair. So much energy is spent trying to attain “fair”. Think about how much energy it takes to wait patiently for a long period of time. Or to demand something over a long period of time. This consistent expenditure of energy with no proof of improvement in the pursuit of fairness can create all kinds of negative feelings, thoughts, and interactions.
Instead of waiting for or demanding fair interactions with your spouse, what if you stopped keeping score? That’s what 50-50 and 100-100 amount to. It’s scorekeeping. What if you put down the mental score sheet and made an effort to love your spouse better than they’ve ever been loved before? That takes a lot of energy, although if you switch your strategy you’ll have energy to put to use.
There’s no guarantee your spouse will make the same decision. They may not decide to love you like no one has ever loved you before. Or, they may. That’s not the motivation though, otherwise it’s just a sneakier form of scorekeeping. So what’s the motivation? The motivation is to serve and love your spouse. The End.