Marriage – Thought 1 – 50/50?

Is Marriage 50/50?

This series presents answers to the 7 questions asked at the end of my latest E-Book. Find out more here.

I give 50% and Mark meets me in the middle with the other 50%.

Marriage is about give and take right?

This is certainly what we thought when Mark and I first got married. I meet some of his needs, and he in return met some of my needs. Marriage was this ‘meet in the middle’ affair.

Or was it?

Alvin, aged 87, was married for 63 years and was asked his view on the principle of marriage being a 50-50 proposition. He almost bellowed in disagreement. In his words: “Don’t consider a marriage a 50-50 affair! Consider it a 100 percent affair. The only way you can make a marriage work is to have both parties give 100 percent every time.”

What does the research say?

Beautiful Alvin was not alone in his sentiment. Karl A. Pillemer is a Professor of Human Development. In his book, The Legacy Project, his research team invited over 1000 older people who had been married for decades to share about the lessons learned in their marriages for young couples hoping to stay happily married.

Dr Pillemer found interviewing thousands of couples whose marriage stood the test of time that time and time again, 50-50 was not a principle older and wiser couples lived by. Albert was one of the couples who undertook this study.

Albert, at age 80, had told this beautiful analogy that revealed his heart about marriage: “There is a local museum here in town. In there is a life-sized statue of a team of work horses obviously pulling a large load. At our last anniversary, the kids asked us ‘How do you characterise your marriage?’ I said, ‘Go look at the sculpture of that team of horses. Both of them laying into the harness together.’ Written underneath it was ‘As of One Mind’ There were times when we didn’t know if we were going to make it. But we did it together.”

Living 100 percent for one another

I have found in my own marriage that a 50-50 mindset encouraged me to focus on my own needs more than the needs of Mark. 

Alternatively, I have learned when I live with a 100 percent mindset, my heart and attitudes towards Mark are different without me even trying. When I think about him I ask, “What does he need in this season that would enable him to dominate and excel?”, “How can I be a better friend to him?” and “How can I bring joy to him today?”

If I focus my attention on what I can give, instead of what I can get, it changes everything. I no longer feel entitled and am less focused on my needs.

What my friend had to say

My beloved friend Adam Shepki has three young children. Being married well over a decade, he explains so well how he makes it look in his life.

“Speaking honestly, both Melissa and I do a LOT of household chores. With three kids and a busy work life there is no shortage of work to be done around the house. I often find myself doing dishes, washing a toilet and thinking, “I wish Melissa would help me do this. When was the last time she scrubbed a toilet?” In those moments I purposely give myself to the task at hand and remember that there are other jobs I NEVER do! In this way I give 100 percent of myself to our marriage and release Melissa from any pressure to perform. From chores to our romantic life, I do not desire Melissa to feel a sense of duty for our marriage to be sustained and prosperous.”

What does it look like for me?

Giving 100 percent to Mark is so foundational for me to ‘Reign in life’ within my marriage. Gosh it is so much harder to do, than it is to say. In fact, when Mark came home last week from 5 nights away at a hectic Bible school camp, he had to rush off to another meeting soon after. As he ran out the door, I yelled from the bathroom,

 “Don’t forget to take the bin out!”

Definitely not a stand out moment in the romantic life of the Greenwoods.

However, it goes to show that I can do better. I can do so much better. I feel inspired afresh to change my perspective this week. What does it look like for me to ‘reign in life’ in my marriage and give 100 percent instead of 50?

I wonder what would happen if you would all ask yourselves this question during the week.


What is something that we could change or start, that would be in line with the concept of giving 100 percent of ourselves to our partner?

I would love to hear your thoughts, comments and testimonies.

Until next time,

You are deeply loved and richly cherished.

Christine Greenwood

Reign in Life

PS More of this in my latest E-Book on Marriage. Available now! Click here

WINK: Overflowing Bins are my absolute pet hate. I hate emptying the bin. I cannot stand a full bin that people continue to stuff full and do not empty. And I do not want to be the one who empties the bin 100% of the time. Or even 50% of the time. So married is 100 percent minus bin emptying. In that situation it is 100 % receive. Your welcome Mark.

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