Why I Refuse to Have a 50/50 Marriage
When I first entered into marriage, I had this idealistic perception of what it would be like. I imagined I would make dinner and he would do dishes. Or I wash the laundry, and he folds it. It was a great image, one that showed a lot of give and take on both our parts.
Sometimes our marriage does look like that. Like a perfect balancing act of sharing responsibilities. Other times it looks like one of us losing a lot of sleep due to work or the kids. It looks like picking up takeout, and maybe filling our second trash bag without taking the first one outside!
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There were a lot of moments that I have been discouraged by the lack of give and take.
“Why isn’t he pulling his part, it’s like this is a one man show!” or even entertaining the dangerous thought of “if we weren’t married, at least I wouldn’t be disappointed!” That’s when I realized that a 50/50 marriage was unrealistic.
Not long after that realization, something shifted. I began to see my husband more human, and with a lot less glamour. He was a human, with human needs, and frailties, and that was ok.
So what’s wrong with expecting them to carry their half?
In short, we were never designed to. Galatians 6:2 tells us to carry each others burdens. This includes our spouse. Even when we are burnt out, or they may bring more burdens to the table than you. In those moments especially you carry their burdens.
On the flip side, I would feel like a total failure when I was the one not pulling my weight. My ego, pride, and personality all get in the way of me receiving the blessing of my husbands grace and care for me. 50/50 expectations also reduce your marriage covenant to tit-for-tat. Which is extremely destructive because we all measure our contributions and sacrifice so differently.
So what if it shouldn’t be 50/50, what should it be?
If a 50/50 marriage is toxic, the solution isn’t to just give up. The solution is to each choose to give 100% of yourselves to your marriage. This doesn’t mean you have to be June and Ward Cleaver. It is actually the complete opposite of that, it is the ultimate permission to be human and imperfect. It is an invitation to grace in your marriage.
When I was suffering with Hyperemesis Gravidarum with my daughter. I found myself bedridden for days at a time. I had to quit my job, I was too sick to cook or eat. Sometimes for days at a time I was too weak to lift my arms enough to wash my own hair.
I am so grateful that in that incredibly hard season, my husband never counted my contributions to our marriage. Instead, he gave 100% of himself, he learned to cook. He helped wash my hair. He took me to the hospital and would sit with me overnight forsaking all else, to make sure I wasn’t alone or scared. I had so much trouble receiving his grace because I was still viewing marriage through 50/50 lenses. He was able to give and receive grace that I wasn’t yet, and he understood some days my 100% was just remembering to order toilet paper on amazon so we didn’t run out.
When I reflect on those moments now, it is much easier to give him grace on days that I am in over my head with the kids, or the laundry has exploded in our room. Or he is exhausted from work and has to go to bed early.
Most importantly, I have realized we are still learning and growing.
A lot of days we miss it and don’t give and receive that grace. Some days, we totally hit the nail on the head! But overall, I would say this has been the most valuable and most challenging lesson that marriage has taught me so far.
What was your first big marriage epiphany that changed things for the better? Share it in the comments below!
Here are a few of my favorite resources to help your heart when learning to give 100% in marriage!