I love this image! The sweet couple remind me of my Mum and Dad. It’s also a reminder of what I want for my own marriage, and the sort or marriage I hope all the couples in my stories will build, with God’s help!
“Marriage is not 50-50; divorce is 50-50. Marriage has to be 100-100. It isn’t dividing everything in half, but giving everything you’ve got!” Dave Willis
But 50/50 seems on the surface to make sense. It can feel like it’s fair to divide things equally. He does his half, she does her half, and they have a whole. That’s the theory, anyway.
I’ll admit, I went into my marriage with the 50/50 idea. My husband and I weren’t kids straight out of college, but were one year either side of forty. We both had achieved decent success in our careers. We both owned our own homes. We both had full busy lives. Our marriage was going to be divided right down the middle. Equal work, both inside and outside the home. Equal financial contribution. Equal effort to make things work. 50/50.
It didn’t take me too long to discover, 50/50 does NOT work!
It was fine at first, though there was a sense of always keeping score, running a constant calculation of how much we each felt we were putting in versus how much we were getting back. “I gave you that much, so I expect you to give me this much.” Inevitably, each of us felt we were giving up more than the other.
Then my husband became too ill to work. For many years, I was the sole income earner. I took care of the finances and the bills. He took over the housework. Hoo boy! Things really escalated then! We had so many arguments over who was doing more, and how much each person’s contribution was worth. For a long time, our marriage felt very unbalanced for both of us, as we struggled to adjust to our changed roles. Holding onto our old 50/50 beliefs led to love-killing resentment on both sides.
Eventually, the light-bulb switched on. My attitude had to become one of giving freely, rather than “it’s not fair”. It took a long time, but I learned to throw away the score card and appreciate all that my husband did.
I had to learn how to truly love!
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
1 Cor 13:4-7
God reminded me that my marriage vows didn’t say anything about fairness. Instead, I promised to “provide love, friendship, help and comfort, both in times of joy and in times of difficulty.” Keeping score and wanting things to be “fair” held me back from fully surrendering myself to a truly loving and giving relationship.
Marriage can seem unfair. Love can seem unfair. We can seem to be asked to give so much more than we’re getting. Or sometimes the opposite. Receiving more than we’re able to give or seeing our spouse making sacrifices for us can leave us feeling guilty and uncomfortable, worried the other person could come to resent us.
We need to learn to be okay with both, and keep on loving!
That’s the situation my current heroine Maggie finds herself in. Even older than my husband and I were when we married, she’s 52 and he’s 55! They both have full busy single lives, and getting romantically involved will change everything. He’s risking losing a lot to date her, let alone marry her. So, should she end their growing relationship, for his sake? Or is her attempt to protect him a way of avoiding her own fears of surrendering to love?
I’ll be releasing this novella very soon as a free gift for my monthly newsletter subscribers. To find out more, visit the Least Expected book page on my website!
For me, I think giving up the 50/50 rule was one of the biggest transformational breakthroughs in my marriage. I just wish I hadn’t been so stubborn and taken so long to learn it!
I’d love for you to share in the comments a lesson you’ve learned about love and marriage that you wish you’d known sooner. One reader who comments on the post by July 8 will be chosen at random to receive the ebook of their choice from any of my releases (excepting the multi-author boxed sets).
If you don’t yet have the Whispers of Love 12 book boxed set, there’s only a few days left to snag it at the special release offer of 99c. The price rises to $4.99 on July 4th!