Many experts in the field of marriage advice will tell you that a successful marriage is 50/50. I beg to disagree. In fact, I think the 60/40 rule is really the secret.
What is the 60/40 rule? That is where one person gives 60 percent and expects only 40 percent back. Now before you start telling me that this is completely unfair and why should one partner in the marriage only get 40 percent, let me explain. For the 60/40 rule to work, BOTH partners have to follow the same rule of giving 60 percent and accepting or taking or expecting or even demanding no more than 40 percent.
How does this work? It is basically a mental attitude that you put into practice. You always put the other person first and yourself second. Always, and for whatever it is that comes up. It could be as simple as offering your spouse the best piece of pie or as complicated as accommodating your spouse's side of the family over your own.
This is a hard concept for many people today of my generation and younger. We tended to be raised in a way that focused on the "me," as in me first AND me second.
But what about resentment that might build up between the two of you if one partner feels slighted over always getting the smaller piece of pie? That is where both partners following the rule comes into play. If both partners can do this, then instead of resentment, it almost becomes a fun contest to see who can outdo the other in terms of giving. And in times where you are at an impasse (such as accommodating those ever-present relatives in your life for the holidays) you should be able to sit down together and look at the situation logically and objectively, knowing that each of you has the other's best interests at heart.
Notice of course that I said 60% and not 100%. You still do need to take care of yourself or there will nothing left for the other person. It is not about being a doormat, but giving more than you take and focusing on the needs of the marriage instead of the needs of yourself.
One interesting result of focusing on the "we" is that the "me" still usually winds up in a good place with all of its needs met.
After all, isn't this the person you chose to spend the rest of your life with? And, wasn't that a decision you made as a gift to yourself and no one else?
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at MetroSexual LA