Mathematically, doesn’t it make sense that if a husband and wife each give 50% to their marriage, everything should work out fine?  Couples start thinking that when they split the effort 50/50, then fairness reigns and neither is over-extended.  Besides 50% + 50% = 100%, right?

Not in marriage.

When we think with a 50/50 mentality what we’re really doing is trying to measure how much we give to our spouse by keeping score.  We may think, “Whoa. I’m getting close to my 50% so I better back off. I need to let them serve me.” This kind of faulty thinking is grounded in selfishness and pride.  

Scorekeeping shouldn’t be a part of a marriage. When we keep score, we weigh our intentions and efforts higher than those of our spouse.  As a result, it’s easy for us to feel like we’ve reached our 50% limit and have done enough.  If we believe we only need to give 50%, where’s that line?  How do we measure when we’ve reached 50%? Someone once said that we evaluate ourselves by our intentions and we evaluate others (our spouse) by what is actually done – the facts.

True marital satisfaction is achieved when each spouse follows Jesus’ example and is “all in.” When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, he never asked or expected them to wash his. Interestingly, none of them ever offered to wash his feet, did they? When Jesus went to the cross, he gave 100% of himself for you and for me.

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus saying, And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:2). His example for us is what each of us is to bring to our spouse.

There will be seasons of marriage when one of you does more in serving than the other. Recognize when your spouse is giving a lot of themselves in serving you. Acknowledge it and express your appreciation for their selfless spirit.

God designed marriage to be based on unselfish service as modeled by Jesus.  We like this quote by Pastor Rick Warren, “Now the only way you can serve God on earth is by serving others.”  And as you serve your spouse, you build your marriage.