The 80/20 Rule

So I watched Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married?" and throughout the movie they make reference to the 80/20 rule. The premise of the rule is that in a marriage you will only get eighty percent of your needs met. How much is a need and how much is a want? Is the 80/20 rule a fair assessment of what is reasonable to expect from your marriage?

How can we met and even exceed the expectations of our partner when by default we (as humans) are selfish by nature? I have spent a lot of time over this last year reflecting on what went wrong. We got to the point where there was no drive to really want to spend time together, to be inseparable. We just were. Sometimes it felt like we kept in close proximity because that was what was expected.

We can easily get wrapped up in the living part of life; work, stress, bills, the daily grind that we forget to appreciate our spouse. Tell them they look beautiful or handsome. Say thank you for taking out the garbage. We allow our assumptions and expectations to become the norm that we forget to show gratitude for the small things. Years of this can often lead to resentment, hate, and disconnect to each other.

Is it better to stay where you are, only getting eighty percent of your needs met but at least you don't feel completely empty or is it better to grieve the loss of your relationship, heal and start over?

We allow outside factors contribute to the disconnect from our partner and our marriage. It can be work, stress, not feeling appreciated by our spouse, a new work person that we find attractive increasing our desire for something new.

I wrote a post about a year ago called "Filler Of Holes" where I discussed that it is an unreasonable expectation to think every need can be met by your partner but then the question is; how do we decide what are needs and what are wants?"

Perhaps the most important thing to learn is that re-accessing your relationship with more frequency may be more beneficial that bothersome. Often you see in movies and TV shows the "WHERE ARE WE? WHERE IS THIS GOING?" being mocked but perhaps there is value in it as a married couple. We need to check in with each other, ask...... "Is there something you need from me that I am not giving you?"

Even through everything I have experienced in the last year or two I cannot and do not want to believe that we can only get eighty percent of what we need from our partner. I want to believe that love is still good and pure and that someday I will find my equal.


Big Geek said...

That is a tough question. I think the answer is different for every one. I suppose the ratio is the crux of the question. I don't think there is any human alive that fill every need or want you might have. Your needs and wants are going to be changing as time goes by and as the glacial grind of every day bears down on a relationship that is a certainty. Today I need space tomorrow I need compassion the day after I need to be a vegetable. Depression might set in from some out side source work taxes business name it then what do you do? Your partner is now very very different and communication is dulled and slowed and almost nonexistent. You or your partner might find them selves into an addiction which changes their personality and their needs and wants drastically do you try to meet "those needs"? Suddenly some one new can look very attractive. I think that as a person in a couple you need outside contact much to keep revitalized and to bring new thoughts and ideas into the marriage to keep it fresh. As a partner in a marriage you have to keep vigilant that you don't allow the outside contacts to become a distraction. As a partner in a relationship you have to at some level keep up "appearances". You need to some times pull out the stops and surprise your partner. Dress up in a suit and take her to a proper dinner and make her feel special. She needs that and wants it that wont change. Same with a man. They need to feel needed and ONE person can deliver ALL your wants and needs through out the life time of a marriage. If you don't like golf you cant deliver on the desire of your husband to go golfing regularly. If you don't like motorcycles you cant deliver on his desire to ride regularly... and that is ok. When it comes to sex though that is a different story.

Anonymous said...

I think the difference between a need and a want is overrated. Are we supposed to feel bad when we want something that is not a need? It's become ammunition in arguments to question whether someone's desire is a want or a need.

Most of the time in discussions with Her about our relationship I cannot tell whether something is a want or a need. I'm not sure it makes any difference.

The 80/20 rule seems like another way to put things into neat boxes. I guess the take-away is that we can't be someone else's everything, which I agree with. I just don't think we need to fulfill every single one of our partner's desires. A couple is not an island. Just like when you're single, you're not an island, you have friends and family who support you and share good times with you. I don't think this stops when you're a couple.

cjn said...

I have been stalling on commenting this particular thought process. Today as I sat on the couch, really thinking about why I have been unable to bring myself to comment, I have realized that I am guilty of some of the things you describe here. The more times I read your words, the more guilt I felt.

I think my need for co-dependence and my need for some small sense of control in my life leaves me making requests and or demands that may not be fair. But I use my past hurt as a shield, an excuse. But truly, is any excuse good enough! When does a request for understanding of insecurity cross the line to being too controlling.

This piece is very deep and has caused me to deeply think each time I have read it over the last week. Thanks for the mirror and for allowing me to see it in a differernt perspective! This is why you are an amazing writer, because you say what needs to be said, get right in there so that your readers know exactly where you stand!