“For better or worse, through sickness and in health.”
That above? That is the number one line about marriage. However, nowadays, there is this new thing called 50/50. Yeah, this is important and required, but a lot of time, we only have that 50% of ourselves to give to ourselves.
Why? The mental and emotional pressures of everyday society. Some days, we do not have what it takes to keep going. And if your partner can’t come up with whatever is lacking suddenly, that is a problem. That leaves you feeling like something is missing from your life.
Put simply, if we spend our lives depending on the 50% we expect from our partner, we will never get the complete 100%. While 50/50 feels like a fantastic and egalitarian approach to marriage, it is a fallacy. There is no 50% to spare when you give all you can, which means 100% all the time.
Sometimes, what we can give as our 100% may look like 45%, 30%, or even 25% – but it is still an effort!
A successful marriage partnership is built around giving one another space and opportunity to grow. Understanding that 50/50 is not always possible because our mental health and the stress of daily life means we often do not have 50% of ourselves to simply give away.
Here is the fundamental idea behind marriage: if my wife or my husband or my partner, whomever you are with, only has 30% to offer, and you are going through something, meaning that you only have 45% to offer, that’s 75%. That might not be 100%, but it is all you can provide at that time.
Giving What You Have Is Enough
And instead of fighting or being combative with each other, this is the point where you should be dipping into your resources. This is the point when you should be doing everything you can to help find that extra 25% that is missing, to return things to the best they can be.
However, the chaos of life and the expectations we face personally and professionally makes that time. That is why having a small circle of friends and family you can genuinely rely upon matters. Why? Because those are the people who need to be close to you.
If you want to use your resources to the best of your ability, you need to be able to tap into them and be the best version of yourself.
Let’s say that my partner and I only have 75% collectively. This means we are limited, but it also means that we should be able to go to our selected circle and say: “Hey, I need help with 25% of what we got going on” – this is better, more productive, and more likely to resolve the issue than turning on one another. Instead of focusing on the 25% missing as a negative, we look at it as something we should be fighting alongside one another to reclaim.
That is why communication is so essential in building a successful partnership and marriage. If you know that your current mental situation does not allow you to give your partner 100% or 50%, you need to be clear about this – let them know that an issue exists and that you need help.
Changing Focus Delivers Solutions
With all of this in mind, you must stop focusing on the amount missing within you personally. So long as you give 100% of what you have available, you are delivering 100%. Yes, it might not be you at your best – your mental health might simply not allow you to go to the well and give more than you can present. So long as you share what you have today, that is progress.
Instead of focusing on what is missing and using that against one another, talk it out. Ask one another – how can we get the best version of ourselves back? What do we need? Who can help us?
Do you need a therapist? Do you need help from family and friends? Do you need a new career? Do you need to change your physical activity and/or your diet?
Work together. Talk it out. Be honest. Tell one another what is missing and why you feel it is missing. This kind of raw honesty can help you both to appreciate the situation that you are in. It can also help your other half understand why you are not pushing as hard as you can or should.
This clarity about your mental health situation will be crucial to creating communication that resolves the issue you both face.
Only through honesty and open communication with yourselves and your inner circle will you get the complete 100% of your partnership. Yes, that is the case, even if both of you cannot give a total of 50% each.
You will have days when you feel at your most vital and can give more than 100%. You will have days stretching to find even 25% is too much. When you accept that you both cannot simply be at your best every day and that sometimes giving 100% of the 25% available is enough, you will find that your marriage is much stronger.
Expecting your partner – and yourself – to be the optimal version of yourself daily is asking for trouble. Instead, you should focus on understanding where you are both at from a mental health perspective and then working together to find solutions to the issues stopping you from being your best.
Only then can you build the successful, plutonic marriage you always hoped to enter?