The Scoop: Marriage is a commitment that can last a lifetime. Couples who find themselves lucky enough to marry the love of their life are truly blessed. According to married couple and co-authors Nate and Kaley Kemp, marriage is about putting in the extra work to ensure that your partner feels valued. In their book, “The 80/80 Marriage,”Nate and Kaley share the inside scoop on how couples can create a loving and healthy relationship. By emphasizing the importance of doing more than your fair share, “The 80/80 Marriage” models a new kind of marriage that’s been proven to work.
Married couples naturally experience changes in their relationship as time goes by. Partners should expect to learn and relearn healthy relationship skills to adapt. People change, that’s just a fact that everyone has to accept. The partner you’re with now, may not be the same 10 years from now — and you shouldn’t want them to be.
Life is full of new adventures and challenges that can include buying a new home, having kids, and excelling in careers. These milestones in our lives help shape the people we become. Often marriages begin with smiles and laughter until new stressors and logistics come into play. Nate Kemp, PhD, co-authored “The 80/80 Marriage” to share his perspective that creating a healthy mindset can help any couple adjust to new challenges.
Nate and his wife Kaley had their fair share of ups and downs in their marriage. Both of them were well accomplished in their prospective careers, but they ran into problems about fairness in their love life. Like any other couple, they believed that a relationship consisted of a 50/50 partnership.
Then they realized that fairness was only a myth and that a healthy relationship requires both partners to go the extra mile. This is where the idea of having an 80/80 mindset came into play.
“Most couples fall into a pattern of having a 50/50 mindset. We will be blissful or happy if we make everything perfectly fair. As we do this we’ll track all of our contributions,” Nate told us. “However, 80/80 is about what if we were to do something radical where the goal isn’t 50% but we contribute more, 80%. Making that shift in mindset suddenly you get this upward spiral of generosity rather than scorekeeping.”
A New Model For Marriage
Married couples can take action and change their attitudes to have an even healthier relationship. As Nate mentioned, in today’s society a lot of couples have the mindset that relationships only thrive when partners contribute an equal amount of effort into it. But that’s not the case at all.
Sometimes relationships require you to be the bigger person when arguments start to arise. Even when feelings are heated, you must apologize. It’s all about changing your mindset to think of doing things that will better your relationship in the long run. “The 80/80 Marriage” helps couples learn a new way of thinking. The book highlights how the mind is a powerful thing, and to achieve a healthy relationship, couples must change the way they think.
Nate told us that the first step in changing your relationship is to bring the spirit of generosity into the equation. Generosity in a relationship helps couples feel secure that they are loved and appreciated. Whether it’s being generous with your time, your words, your gifts, or your actions, that generosity is another way of saying, “I love you.”
“I think one important thing to know is to understand that your mindset is contagious,” Nate said. “If you’re in a relationship where you’re looking through the lens that everything must be fair your partner will start to mirror that same thing. But the same thing is true if you shift to radical generosity.”
Nate told us that, when he and Kaley moved in together, he learned that showing appreciation and revealing his emotions helped his marriage. And after interviewing more than 100 couples for research, Nate confirmed that their new model of 80/80 helped couples feel more connected.
From Retreats to Relationship Exercises
Oftentimes couples truly do love each other but lack the knowledge to fix their relationship, which can ultimately lead to an ugly divorce. Beyond relationship tips, 80/80 also offers couples retreats and various relationship exercises.
Nate shared that most couples struggle with the massive transformation that takes place between the time they are dating and marriage. Things are different in your relationship, and more structure is added once you two start taking on more responsibilities together such as a shared business, paying taxes, and expanding your family. Couples need to balance fun and logistics to maintain a healthy relationship.
Nate estimated new dating relationships consist of 95% fun activities and adventures and 5% logistics. However, as couples progress in their relationship, that ratio slowly starts to shift to 5% fun and 95% partner logistics. To strengthen the partnership, Nate advises couples to create various loving rituals in their relationship.
“Having a habit of contribution and appreciation is important in any relationship. It can feel clunky sometimes and should happen spontaneously but it doesn’t. Couples need to start creating these rituals. So that they may shift from random behaviors and to being more intentional and trying to find ways on how to win together,” said Nate.
The retreats and relationship exercises that Nate shares help couples learn healthy ways to shift their mindset. What initially starts as a simple task of making coffee in the morning or writing a sticky note to compliment your partner can become a daily act of kindness that shows appreciation and reinforces a strong marriage.
The 80/80 Marriage Has the Proper Tools to Connect
The tempo of relationships slowly changes with time. It’s easy for couples to fall into the trap of having a busy schedule and failing to make time for their significant other. But how do you connect with your partner while still securing your bag? By communicating what you each need and want from each other and in your relationship.
Communication is another important factor in a relationship that the 80/80 addresses. Sometimes couples just don’t know how to communicate in clear and healthy ways. According to one study, lack of communication in a marriage is the most common reason why couples get a divorce. Studies showed that 67.5% of marriages end primarily due to communication problems.
Nate said that communication is key in a relationship because it expresses the inner experiences of what’s happening in life — the good and the bad. “The part of communication is the ability to talk about what’s not working, fears that you may have, or what you’re not receiving. If you’re willing to move through that discomfort early on even when it’s not pretty, you’ll be able to turn those moments of disconnection into connection,” Nate told us.
By adopting the 80/80 mindset, couples gain solid grounding in their relationship. Many couples see tremendous changes when they follow through with the different exercises and tips in the book. The book helps couples understand the value of showing more generosity and appreciation to their partner without keeping score.
Couples who want to receive weekly tips, strategies, and updates on book events can sign up for “The 80/80 Marriage” newsletter so they never miss something that may be helpful for their relationship.
“Times of dramatic societal change can undo close-in relationships, or strengthen them. This brilliant book offers a pathway for couples to deepen connectedness, calling forth the heart’s potential for generosity, trust, acceptance, and compassion,” said the author of Radical Acceptance, Tara Brach in a review.