04 Sep A 50/50 Proposition?
There is a lot of talk about marital equality these days and I am certainly a big proponent of equal power, equal say, and so on in a marriage. Given that, you would easily assume that I consider marriage a 50/50 proposition and in a very general sense I do but I heard something the other day that caused me to think more deeply about the concept of marital equality and balance that pulled me deeper into the idea. Allow me to share it with you.
For those who read my blog, it will be no shock when I tell you that the source that caused me think more on the subject was Brene Brown. I sometimes wonder when she is going to run out of good ideas but so far, she continues to deliver what I see as some of the best thinking, research and advice out there! This was on a short video clip, probably on Facebook, in which she was talking about the idea of a 50/50 marriage and here is essentially what she said.
I think she would agree very strongly with the idea of equality but then went on to talk about the days when either she or her husband don’t have their 50% to offer. You know what she’s talking about. It’s those days when you are exhausted when you come home, not feeling your best, when work emptied more than your tank held, the kids were exceptionally needy all day, you are having to provide extra care for an ailing parent, or whatever. She said that sometimes all she has is 20% or 30% and, on those days (or similar when her husband is at a deficit), the other will need to be able to step up and provide the balance (“if you’ve only got 30, then I need to bring 70”). You get the idea. This goes both ways, of course, and it is very important to remember when your partner carried the extra load for you when they are needing you to do the same for them.
But what about those days when neither has 50% to give; when both have been burned out some by that day or that season and just don’t have the reserves to step up any more than their partner does? On those days she says that the couple needs to sit down and “figure out a plan of kindness toward each other……a plan where you don’t hurt each other.” I gotta tell you that I think this is brilliant and completely spot on. Either we take up the slack for one another or we create an intentional plan for not causing unnecessary harm while we are both struggling. If you are part of a couple and need one piece of advice today that will bear huge dividends, this is it!