How To Know If Your Marriage Is Strong – The 80-10-10 Rule

December 14, 2012  |  

Most of the time, marriage is great—wonderful even. But then there are days when everything is not so beautiful. One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from married moms regards their spouses not pulling their weight in the household (at times). This could be because of an illness, exhaustion from work or some other reason. The point is, just because there is another adult in the house with you, it doesn’t mean that responsibilities are being shared equally or at all.

I’ve had plenty of days where I’ve felt like I was doing everything in the house and my husband was only adding to the chaos by leaving his socks on the floor or letting the dishes pile up. And it doesn’t mean that you don’t love ’em. I know I love my husband to pieces. Still, it’s difficult to share the parenting load sometimes. You want to do things your way, the other person disagrees and you’re left to sort out the best compromise you can find.

It’s work.

Which is why I’m a firm believer in keeping track of our marriage’s pulse. We’re only going to grow but so far apart before we take action and course-correct, you know? A marriage, like any other relationship, is about keeping communication open and respecting your differences.

I came up with three numbers to remember for a healthy marriage: 80-10-10.

80% of the time your marriage will be smooth sailing. It won’t be that ultra-romantic, slow dancing in the living room type of love, but it’s that consistent love that carries you through the rough patches. It’s that type of slow-burning love that will protect your marriage from outside forces.

10% of the time might be rocky. You might not see eye-to-eye on some issues. You might feel unappreciated. You might want a do-over. You might wonder, “Why did I get married?”

10% of the time your marriage will be heavenly. It will be these moments that are burned into your memory at the end of your life—your anniversary parties, the nights you fall asleep in each other’s arms, the birth of your children, the times your spouse comes home with flowers unexpectedly along with a handwritten note.

And truthfully, a marriage needs all three of those elements. You need disagreements to grow as a couple. You need romantic days to keep the desire strong. You need the security of knowing your spouse will be there for you day in and day out.

What do you think about my equation? Are the numbers about right?  

Tara Pringle Jefferson is the founder of and the author of Make It Happen: The Young Mommy Guide To Creating The Career You Crave. Follow her on Twitter or check out her blog for her insights on what it means to be a mom, wife, student, writer, and about three other labels she’s too tired to remember.




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  • maria mims

    I really needed this, thank you its a great article and i will start applying the 80/10/10 rule!

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