The young lady had fallen in love. Radiant with happiness, she absolutely glowed like a softly lit Christmas tree. The young man she loved so deeply had recently admitted he felt the same. She floated through her days on air, waiting for the moment when he would pop the question that she eagerly waited to hear.
That day came, along with a sparkling little diamond set in a slender gold band. Soon, they had their wedding and moved into their small apartment together. The beginning of their marriage had its usual learning bumps and curves – socks left on the floor, differing opinions of room temperature at night, who would be responsible for paying the bills, and all the other myriad of things that have to be learned, argued and negotiated in a new partnership of living together. But she was happy.
Then it happened. ‘The Test’ came back positive, they had a third party who would be joining them in their tiny apartment. Realizing they would soon need more space than their miniature apartment afforded, they found a rental home and moved in, lock, stock, and barrel. At this point though, the well-intentioned husband had some ideas which he proceeded to run past his spouse.
“Sweetheart, now that we have a house with a yard and a garage, we have to care of more than just the inside of an apartment. We have to mow the grass and stuff. We need to ‘divide and conquer.’ So, let’s divide the work 50/50. You work part-time and take care of everything inside our home, and I’ll work fulltime and be responsible for the outside.”
50/50 sounded equitable to the young wife, and she readily agreed. So, he mowed the grass and watched for anything the exterior of their house might need, while she tended to all the things inside.
Then the baby arrived. And she quickly found that their little bundle of joy brought an immense workload with it. Caring for their baby, housecleaning, clothes washing, cooking and also trying to keep up with her part-time job to help pay the rent on their home kept her constantly busy and too exhausted for affection. But, as she was reminded by her oblivious and now resentful husband, she had readily agreed to the aforementioned 50/50 arrangement. He just didn’t understand why she was angry and depressed all the time. Predictably, their once-happy marriage was headed for divorce.
Fifty/fifty in a marriage simply doesn’t work. A marriage relationship can only successfully function for the long haul when both of you are determined to out-give your spouse, emotionally and physically. There will be times in life when one spouse will have to give more, other times that spouse will need to be given more. But that is the way a good marriage works.
50 plus 50 can end up equaling 0, when both spouses are not committed to giving more than the other when it’s needed.
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