I used to think marriage was give and take. It's a phrase used in everyday conversation, especially when talking with those who may be dealing with marriage issues. It's a good concept. You give fifty percent into your marriage, and you take fifty percent from your marriage. But if that's your attitude, you won't be happy for long.
I get a lot of feedback on my particular point of view, and most of it sounds something like this:
"Why should I put any effort into my marriage when she never does?"
"This is helpful advice only if the spouse reciprocates as well!"
"Marriage is equal rights-so why should I cater to his needs? What about my needs?"
Yes, those are real comments. They are on the more extreme end, but I think that general idea has been planted in the heart of most relationships. The bottom line is fifty percent just isn't enough. For a happy and fulfilling marriage, you have to give one hundred percent all of the time. You need to focus on giving and giving alone, not taking. And the key for this to work is not to expect anything in return.
Of course it's important for your spouse to also give what they can as well. If that isn't happening, it can lead to a toxic marriage. But when you are giving only to expect, that's where the problem lies. If you feel your spouse isn't doing their part, have a conversation with them. They may be speaking their own love language-one you aren't recognizing as putting forth any effort. Giving one hundred percent will look different for each individual.
One hundred percent will also look different each day. For example, one day I made my husband's favorite dinner, sent him flirty texts, and picked up his dry cleaning. The next day I felt drained and could barely whip up some mac and cheese for my kids. I gave my husband my best, and as always, he made up the rest.
Marriage isn't about give and take. Taking implies the expectancy. Marriage, at least a happy one, is give and receive.