Thoughts On Love: 50/50 Is A Crap Ratio

Fridays are all about LOVE here at More Cowbell. What better way is there to start the weekend, I ask you?

Ingrid Schaffenburg did a post last week called Bring Back That Lovin’ Feeling that’s  fantastic.

Her post is well  worth reading but, in case you’re short on time, I’ll sum it up below.

Love is a verb.

In Ingrid’s words:
You wanna feel love, give some love.
You wanna bring back that loving feelin’? Try lovin’.

The comments to the post were as good as the post itself.  (As usual, I like to party down in the chatty section with Natalie Hartford – she’s the gal with a glint in her smile and the spark in her ass. Seriously.)

Here’s the conversation between Natalie and Ingrid:

Fantastic post!! Hubby and I embody love as a verb. We believe our marriage is a living thing that needs to be nurtured and cared for through our actions and our decisions and choices. We feed our marriage with hugs, kisses, long talks, romance, and tenderness. After 7 years together, it’s a conscious choice and decision we make to be loving every single day. It’s not always easy and doesn’t always come “naturally” but we stick with it and it always pays off. Love…is a choice!

February 27, 2012 7:20 am

  • Love that Natalie!!! Y’all are so cute :)  I love it! So inspiring. Makin’ me wanna get married again ;)

    February 27, 2012 8:45 am

A little further down the comments chain, here’s what Nat and I had to say:

My husband and I absolutely believe that love is a verb. We also think 50/50 is a crap ratio. What if my 50% is different than his 50%? We go for 100/100 so we know we’re always doing our best and there’s no need to measure. Ooooh…I feel a blog post coming on. :-)

February 25, 2012 3:28 pm

What do I mean by “50/50 is a crap ratio?”

I firmly believe that very few things will kill a relationship as quickly as “measuring.”  Well, Dirty Fighting can, but it won’t happen as quickly.

Trust me, I’m coming from a position of experience on this. Unfortunately, before I met my non-measuring husband, I was a measurer who got involved with other measurers. It’s one of the key reasons why so many of my relationships went into the toilet.

What qualifies as ‘measuring?’

Did he or she give more  than I did?
I don’t think they’re trying hard enough.
If I do more  of _____, they’ll have to love me more.
I think I did more  than you did.

Measuring belongs with baking and bosses – my advice is to keep it FAR from your interpersonal relationships. Whether this is with friends, kids or significant others, 50/50 is a recipe for disaster.

Measuring in a relationship can turn your affection down the conditional path. When phrases like “I will, if you will” get said, resentments and disappointments start piling up.

I mean, what if they say  they will and they DON’T?
Or they say they will do “X” and they don’t do it enough  to suit you?

The resentment from conditional affection opens the door for that low-life, “Contempt,” to get in on the game. My husband has heard me tell scores of friends: “Uh-oh…you know, once Contempt gets into the relationship, it NEVER LEAVES.”

Addendum: Contempt can leave if everybody works their butts off to make it go. But at that point, in my experience, you’re usually looking at intense therapy.

The best way to ensure that you don’t go down the measuring path in the relationship game is to give 100% all the time. Find someone who shares this commitment and is willing to give 100% as well.

If everyone shoots for 100/100, there’s no need to measure.

No one can argue with 100%.

Even if you’re having a jacked up day and today’s 100% is like yesterday’s 30%, it’s still the best you can do for that day. If your co-partner in the relationship is out there giving their 100%, you’ll have at least one full person’s worth of effort between you .

No one is getting sucked dry by the relationship.

The minute you stop focusing on doing your best (and start spending your energy worrying whether you’re getting someone else’s best) things are bound to get rocky.

Do you agree that 50/50 is a crap ratio or do you have an entirely different opinion? Do you agree that this applies for all interpersonal relationships, or am I off base there too? Enquiring minds LOVE to know these things here at More Cowbell!


p.s. I have a friend in town who I haven’t seen in more than 15 years so I’m skipping my Risky Baby Business post this weekend to spend time with her. I’ll be back Sunday for a ROW80 Update and our Saturday posts will resume next week. To catch up on any Risky Baby Business posts you’ve missed, click here.

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
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33 Responses to Thoughts On Love: 50/50 Is A Crap Ratio

  1. LOVE that Jenny!!! (PS thanks for the fahhhhbulous shout out)!!
    I could NOT agree with you more. There is no place for score keeping in relationships (all relationships) – period. I don’t care what someone’s excuse is “well he…but he…he won’t!??!?!” No, nope, nada! As soon as you start score keeping, you are embarking on the slow slippery slope down to no-one’s-ever-happy land!
    Hubby and I work hard at the 100/100 ratio. It’s the only way to fly. Not only that, but we both work diligently to ALWAYS ASSUME the other is putting in their 100!!! Yes, some days we struggle where one is having a bad day etc and the other pitches in more. BUT…we always ASSUME that in the end, it all works out!!! Because we choose to see and assume the best, the absolutely best, in each other.
    I focus on me…what I can give, how I can show love, how I can reach out, how I can support, how I can love, how I can care etc….and I let hubby worry about hubby trusting he’ll do just perfectly!
    Woot woot…here’s to living the love girlfriend!
    ENJOY your weekend with your friend….


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That’s fantastic advice, Natalie! This is one place where I don’t think assuming is a bad thing. If you don’t figure that someone has your best interests in mind, the brain starts to wander to Freak-out Land.


  2. amber says:

    You are right, Jenny. For a marriage to be really successful, both sides need to be trying to give 100%. They also have to understand that their 100% may be different from their partners. Whether it’s in what they have the ability to give emotionally, etc, or how they give it.

    Spending time measuring who “gives more” or making sure things are even is a sure fire road to resentment. Great post!


  3. yikici says:

    Well said Jenny. I always say 100% all the way; it’s like unconditional love you put aside for your child/nieces/nephews/grandchildren etc. Notice the rewards you get out of those relationships; so why not extend it to your partner. That way at least you know you’ve done your best and so has he/she. What are great way to spread the lovin’ feeling. 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Oz, I think it all boils down to trust. You’ve got to TRUST that the other person has your best interests at heart, and trust is hard for lots of people. Great comment! Thanks. 🙂


  4. Laura Drake says:

    I agree, Jenny – you’re NEVER going to run out of love (ask a mother with quintuplets) so why measure it out? It’s like giving each person in your life a teaspoon of the ocean.

    The funny thing is — and you can trust me as an expert, being on my third husband (but at 25 years this month, I think he’s the keeper,) the more you give, the more you get – usually. And even if you don’t ‘get’ this time around, you have the warm fuzzy of having given unconditionally.

    Which is enough, in itself.
    Great topic!


  5. Excellent post, as always, Jenny.


  6. “The minute you stop focusing on doing your best (and start spending your energy worrying whether you’re getting someone else’s best) things are bound to get rocky.”- Brilliant! And boy have I been witness to that!

    Thank you so much Jenny for mentioning my blog and helping to spread the LOVE Revolution. hehe 😉 When I read your comment I was blown away. It’s such a simple idea that makes perfect sense but how many of us keep a tally?! I know I used to be one of them. But if you each agree to give 100%, how can you lose? It’s brilliant! Thank you for this wonderful bit of important advice 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      My husband taught me this lesson, Ingrid. It’s not like I can take credit for learning it on my own. I loved your post! I’m all about the LOVE REVOLUTION!


  7. If you give 100% in all your relationships as time goes on you’ll find that others return their effort in kind. Just remember, your !00% may be someone else’s 75%. Some people have a hard time opening up. Rejoice in their company.


  8. I don’t think there ever was or is a score keeper in our relationship. We both give as much as we humanly can. If we really think about it, one is always giving more than the other in a couple. It all equals out. And who really cares? 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You are lucky, Karen. Trust me, there are people all over the world who care how much everyone is giving. They measure it down to a gnat’s ass. 🙂


  9. Lovely post, Jenny. I think the other piece is that we each have to be able to receive 100%. For so long in my marriage I couldn’t take what he offered. By the time I was able to do that, he had stopped offering. OOPS. I think 100% giving and receiving is a great way to live.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Oh, Louise… While I’m so glad that you know this now, that’s really hard. Here’s hoping you bring that lesson forward to all the other relationships in your life.


  10. What a great read. Thanks so much! I will add that it’s very dangerous to use the words “NEVER” and “ALWAYS” when talking about what your husband does or doesn’t do. (As in: you never listen to me, or you always put yourself first.) My husband is imperfect — um, just like me — and when I use “never” or “always” I’m pretty much telling him that I judge him by his worst days instead of his best. Now, how would I like that????


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Oooooh, Jennifer – VERY true! I used those words a lot as a teenager. I try my hardest not to overuse them as an adult. Never and always = major dirty fighting!

      Have you read the Dirty Fighting entries here at More Cowbell? We’re having another contest!


  11. Kait Nolan says:

    Sometimes it’s hard not to measure. And I’m thinking in terms of housework because I work 3 jobs and my husband only has one and yet I still do the lion’s share of…everything. All the cooking, the laundry, 99% of the cleaning. And when I ask him to do things, I either have to ask him 85 times and become a nag or he forgets and then it doesn’t get done and I’m pissed because I’m TIRED and I don’t ask him to do much. Resentment much? Yeah. Not a healthy dynamic, and I recognize that. We seem to have a fundamental disconnect in that I don’t think I should have to ask him to do things that are his chores and need doing every week because, hello, routine, and it’s OBVIOUS it needs doing, and it makes me incredibly frustrated to have to ask when it’s not a new thing. He claims forgetfulness and I think that’s just a total disrespectful copout. And…wow, clearly this is on my mind. I don’t measure gifts or time or a million other things but the housework thing is a problem for me.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Kait, that one IS hard. I’d resent that too. Only I believe there is nothing wrong with him hiring a cleaning service to do his share of the work so it doesn’t all fall to you. I sure think you’d feel better.

      You work too hard to have STUPID HOUSEWORK on your mind!! At least in my humble, very biased toward you, opinion. 🙂


      • Kait Nolan says:

        You are not wrong on that point, and he has mentioned that. The thing is, a housekeeper would be a total waste because unless he starts actually putting his stuff back where it goes, not leaving socks in the floor, and generally becomes, um, not a slob to my neat freak, then the housekeeper’s work (be it me or someone else) is totally destroyed in a day.


  12. Julie Glover says:

    I’ve decided that a successful marriage comes down to having high standards and low expectations. Thus, I totally agree with your 50/50-is-crap mentality. I want my guy to be a stand-up husband and father, but I don’t sit around expecting him to meet some long list of shouldas. We each give it all we’ve got, and give grace for those times when we fall short (which we will). Now, mind you, it took me about several years to figure that out, but we are happier than ever and this relationship is going the distance! Love it, Jenny (and Natalie).


  13. Great post, I definitely agree – marriage fell apart last year and have to say looking back there was a lot of ‘you never did this, you said that, i’m the best……blah blah blah blame blame blame’ going on, from both of us. We stopped paying attention to each other, and our relationship, starting leading separate lives, then blamed each other when it didn’t work. I hope the future will be different, thanks for the post 🙂 It’s another confirmation of my suspicions!


  14. susannakd says:

    I’m new to marriage…but not new to frustration. I know that if I can work on my part to help him work on his part, we’ll both be much happier. Just focusing on a good time to talk and making sure I have his attention saves us lots of argument time!


  15. Marcia says:

    Very interesting comments here, Jenny! I think you hit on an emotional topic. My first marriage with my late husband was 50/50…he did the work to bring in the money and I did everything else. That part was a good trade off because I loved being a stay-at-home-mom and one of us had to be involved in the kids lives. He worked from 12-15 hour days, 6 days a week. We had very little time together which is what was the demise of our personal relationship after 28 years. Sadly he developed serious health problems and while I was grateful to have time with him then, it wasn’t the way either of us had planned. In my current marriage, every single aspect of it is 100/100. My hubs is the most amazing partner in the truest sense of the word. We spend so much time together that I’m pretty much always floating on air.
    Great post, Jenny.


  16. Jess Witkins says:

    Jenny, I appreciate your sharing this relationship advice. I’ve not yet mastered the “50/50 is crap”. I think you’ve given me lots to think about and I plan on journaling to really dive in to this idea. I think you’ve just given me an “aha moment.”


  17. Jenny – fantastic post. My hubby and I have been together for 32 years, and whenever times were rocky it was when we weren’t giving 100% of ourselves. But we’re still together, happier than ever, and now we’re just waiting for the kids (18 & 21) to get the heck out of the house, lol!


  18. No question 100/100 is the only way to go. Fingerpointing, measuring, nagging, blame, and the like are a total waste of time!


  19. Great subject, Jenny! I love the measuring spoon analogy – my early marriage life had a set of those embedded in its very core but, with time, I’ve learned to take it easy and shrug my shoulders (this is perfect paired up with an eye roll too, by the way). I have also realized somewhere down the marriage-cobble-stone-road that being a spouse with over-elevated expectations doesn’t do me any good. So now, after a looooong time together we use our measuring spoons only in the kitchen 🙂


  20. Jane Sadek says:

    Conceptually this is the way to go. When it comes to reality, there are just days when you’ve only got only 80%, 50% or maybe even 20% to give and that’s where “till death does us part” stuff comes in. Most days my fabulous husband and I rock along, supporting each other and giving our all. But there are others when all he wants to do is lay on the sofa with the covers over his head or I’m snitty and leave dirty dishes in the sink. That’s the “for worse” stuff and love is hanging on until the “better” gets back.


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