Appreciating the Dance in Marriage – The 80:20 Ratio

The-80-20-Ratio-The-Secret-to-760x422In 1 Corinthians 7:28, the apostle Paul says that “those who marry will face many troubles in this life.” In this passage, Paul is making a case that a single person will be less divided than a married person in their ability to serve the Lord. While he clearly states marriage is not a sin, he just reminds us that some trouble will no doubt occur for those who marry.

Thus, enter what Dr. Emerson Eggerichs calls “The 80:20 Ratio.”

Dr. Eggerichs says that in many marriages, things are good about 80% of the time. There is a 20% that is going to exist even if a couple is totally selfless and loves Jesus – this is what Paul is referring to as trouble.* Simple personality differences. Differences of opinions. If left unchecked, this 20% can overtake the 80%, and before you know it, the marriage has become more negative than positive.

If couples could realize that conflict, or the 20%, is bound to occur, they could learn to “do the dance” so to speak of working through it, and the 20% could remain at 20%, or even decrease – it may even be possible to learn to appreciate the dance as it can teach us so much.

Let me give an example of what Paul is referring to when he says “trouble,” as well as how “the dance” operates:

My wife works fairly late each Wednesday night. When she comes home, she needs to wind down which she likes to do by watching a TV show before bed. It’s a legitimate need of hers.

Meanwhile, I’ve put our son down to bed and cleaned up the house, and some Wednesday nights I just want to go to sleep, even though she wants me to stay up with her. It’s a legitimate need of mine.

Who’s right? We both are.

Thus, enters the dance. We have to talk through it, either one of us submitting to the other, or coming up with a third solution.

Or, we could allow this small trouble to grow, and this 20% moment could blow out of proportion.

This is just an example – this could be applied to big and little things ranging from finances, to parenting, to sex, to how one squeezes the toothpaste.

The point is, we need to learn to realize that trouble will come (sometimes we get mad that we are having the trouble in the first place!), and learning to “do the dance” is a must.

It’s possible, with God’s help, we may even learn to appreciate the dance as it may lead to better solutions than we would have come up with as individuals.

God wants us to be one in our marriages.

Do you find yourself getting frustrated that there are frustrations in your marriage?

Trouble is bound to come for those who are married – let’s learn to “do the dance” so we can keep 80% (or more) of our marriage good.

*Please realize that 80 and 20 are arbitrary numbers chosen for example only – for some couples it may be more or less, etc.


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