50/50

When you marry people often say it is a fifty/fifty proposition, with each partner contributing an equal share to the union. On a daily basis this statement rings false. One partner always seems to bear the brunt of the load. Divorces have been filed on the basis of uneven partnership.  Yet over time, at least in my marriage, sacrifice and contribution level out. It is the quantity of commitment that is indisputable. That is not fifty percent. That number needs to be set at one hundred.

Snoring, spending habits, flirting…there is a virtual minefield of awkward situations and circumstances that must be negotiated within every marriage. Some issues are small and petty while others loom large and threaten sanity. There are myriad complications, including work and childrearing.  How can any two individuals create a satisfying shared life?

It can be done. I am happily married.  In fact I count marrying my husband as the best thing I ever did for myself. That does not mean I am free of the desire to strangle him on occasion. As I am sure he would choke me every so often if he could. We are not the same person.  In fact we are very different. But we maintain an unfailing respect for one another.  Together we bring unique personal faults and advantages to every situation.

Through celebrations and loss, hardships and joy we support each other. By agreement ours is a pretty traditional arrangement. I am responsible for most of the domestic scene and he takes care of outdoor maintenance, mechanical and technical issues. We both work although I stayed at home to raise our children and he has always been the primary breadwinner.  We are dedicated parents. Family is our heart.

Funny enough at the time of our marriage I was much more outgoing.  He was calmer and more relaxed, a little quieter in social environments.  The years have wrought change.  He is now the social butterfly while I prefer quiet and home. Pound for pound we have gained the same amount of weight although it looks better on him. We still find time to celebrate our romance. We remain grateful to have one another.

It is not always easy. I remember grocery shopping with my four sons, all under age six. One was holding onto each side of the carriage, one sitting in front and one in back.  My husband was away, not for a day but weeks at a time, in order to provide for us. This was not unusual but necessary. A few years later, following my two back surgeries my husband stepped up to handle all childcare responsibilities. These situations required more than fifty percent.  You give as much as you can to help your family thrive.

We have lost family members.  We have faced depression.  We have financially struggled. We have triumphed over doubts and fears. We have made a life together. It is a work in progress.  Some days my husband contributes more than I do and sometimes I am the one who holds it together.  There is no scale measuring our input of time and energies to evaluate whose contribution is the greater.

It is all the same.  It is two people willing to sacrifice and share, to give one hundred percent whenever possible.  We exist as a balance to one another.  There are times when fifty/fifty is impossible.  Times when ninety/ten is required. No matter. If your dedication level is at a hundred, then keeping track is superfluous.  I always hated math.  Why add percentages or quibble over numbers? We both do our best.  We give all we can. The results are more than satisfying.

 

Just married couple, holding hands and walking in nature

 

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