Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 23--The Compatability Test Part Deaux

One gentleman, a client here at the feed store, offered me some advice after hearing of my engagement. Married over 50 years, I carefully tuned into what he had to say. "You'll hear people say that marriage is 50/50," he said with a pause, "but it's really 90/10." He continued, "You'll have to give more than you ever thought, but you'll do it. Don't worry about giving too much. You can never give too much."

I was a bit startled, I have to admit. Being independent for 18 years, I was well-versed in clear boundaries. You can give too much. You can get exhausted and under appreciated. You can give in vain. You can become codependent. My list of objections was long and bulleted.

Session three of our marriage counseling helped me understand the gentleman's comment. In this session, we covered emotional health, conflict resolution, problem solving, and expectations. Our opposite-ness was clearly exposed, the stuff of blockbuster romantic comedies,really. My intended, always the optimist, just shrugged and said, "no problem, we can do this." I must have looked despairing as tears welled up in my eyes."How will we ever do this?", I murmured.

Light and perspective, ever the counselor's gift, helped me take things in balance. We will take turns giving 90%. I'm better in crowded public spaces, he's a better conversationalist at a dinner for four. He likes things organized; I like them clean. He can pack us on horseback for a week in the wilderness, I can write about it. He is an amazing father and mentor, taking time to sharpen knives, practice bow-hunting, fishing for endless hours, and snuggling each day. I make sure the laundry and homework are done.

The 90/10 ratio works when we do our best in our strengths and then try to come along side one another in their strengths. The 10 of a possible 100 is not a lack of participation, it's a learning curve. That, I can do!


  1. Great reminder for all of us married folk! Leann and I definitely take turns doing 90 percent for each others families and careers. Some days it does get a little nervy. We do have one 50-50 item - she likes crunchy peanut butter, I will never give up creamy. Simple solution - 2 jars.

  2. What sage and simple advice! It's SO true! And when you look at the big picture, you are indeed tempted to think, "I can't do this!" But it really is the work of one day, one hour, one minute, one "I'm sorry" at a time, under God's grace. And He can certainly do anything!