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Does Marriage always need to be 50/50?

by Lisa Jones
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A couple are stood in front of the sea. Their heads are touching and the man has his arms around the woman. They are smiling at each other. The setting sun is shining between them

I was scrolling through social media recently (when aren’t I?) and I saw that the beautiful Cameron Diaz has recently welcomed a daughter with her husband. Then, I came across an interview that she did with Instyle back in August 2019. In this interview, she stated that marriage was always 50/50 and never 60/40. This obviously got me thinking – Does marriage always need to be 50/50? Well, no in my opinion. But I didn’t always think this way.

I want to make it clear before I start – I’m not saying that it’s okay for one person to always be making the effort in your marriage. And I’m not saying that’s it’s okay to be lazy and let your spouse do everything. But it is okay if you’re not always able to give 50/50.

What changed my mind?

When Daz and I first got married I believed that everything should be 50/50. We both needed to make an effort to treat the other well, look after each other and keep the spark alive. It was down to both of us to do the washing, ironing, tidying. We were young (well, younger than we are now) and in love. We were still on cloud 9 from our wedding. But we were bought sharply back down to Earth when I was diagnosed with depression a short few months after the wedding. This is when my viewpoint on marriage being 50/50 changed.

We were both working full time when I first had depression. By the time I got home, I would be mentally and physically drained. If there’s one thing that I want people to understand about depression, its how fucking tiring it is. Just being alive and living your day is exhausting! Being at work, pretending that everything was okay was really hard work. So when I got home, I just wanted to mong out. Sometimes Daz would find me, just staring at a wall because I just didn’t know what to do with myself.

So why can’t you always give 50/50?

Do you think that the person staring at the wall can go and cook dinner and tidy up? No way! I couldn’t even watch the telly because I didn’t know what to put on. So, on the really bad days, Daz would look after me. He would cook dinner, wash and tidy up and make lunch for the next day at work. I would say I was probably giving 10% and Daz 90% on those days. And that’s okay.

And if there comes a time where Darren doesn’t feel like he can give 50% that’s fine, I’ll pick up the slack.

Strengths and weaknesses

Daz and I had some friends over the other night and we got onto the conversation of marriage and how it’s not always possible to give 50/50. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses and you balance each other out.

For example, I’m happy to do the cooking every night. Darren has completely lost the ability to cook unless its something from the freezer. Chicken nuggets or pie and chips, we’re good, he’s our man. But I’m not going to ask him to cook a spaghetti bolognese or pasta bake. I’m (mostly) happy to cook every night. But there will be (fair enough, rare) nights where I cook and do the washing up.

I think what’s important is to talk to your partner if you’re not able to give 50%. If you don’t tell them, how will they know? Maybe you’ve got a lot going on at work, or you’re struggling mentally, maybe you’ve got a project that you want to finish. Just talk to your spouse and let them know that they might need to pick up the slack a bit. Communication is so important.

My conclusion

I’m not claiming that this is the secret to a great marriage. This might not work for everyone. Every household and marriage is different. Maybe you like everything being 50/50. If that works for you, then great!

One thing that you can never, ever slack on though is love. You can never give less than 100% when it comes to loving your spouse. There is no 60/40 there.

Do you agree with me or do you think that marriage should always 50/50? Let me know in the comments.

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Cover Photo by Christiana Rivers on Unsplash

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