Top positive review
Brilliant, powerful, and simple-to-use book on why 50/50 won't get you the marriage you want
Reviewed in the United States on February 20, 2021
This is such a good book! It begins by explaining how marriage has evolved over the years -- from an 80/20 model where the husband's needs at home are paramount to the current 50/50 model stressing fairness and equality -- and then moves to explaining how this current 50/50 model does not lead to the love, intimacy, and connection we all want. The basic point is that a 50/50 division of labor and responsibilities is impossible to ever get and encourages constant rivalry as we compare things that can't be compared (how does 3 hours of childcare compare to 3 hours of cleaning the house and doing finances? It depends on who you are what you like to do the most...as well as your partner's preferences).
Next they break down how we can move towards a model of radical generosity (80/80) where we are deeply investing in each other and not getting caught up in constantly comparing and resenting each other for all of the many responsibilities in a marriage. Their tools for building a deep reserve of goodwill, generosity, and appreciation are as powerful as they are simple.
The book ends by walking through 6 different tools for building an 80/80 marriage and getting out of the 50/50, zero-sum mindset that I have found to be so destructive in our marriage. These tools are full of interesting ideas and approaches to get a couple thinking differently about their relationship with regards to everything from chores to sex. These tools show how to break unhealthy patterns and find a better framework to live a rich and loving relationship together.
They also have a section on what to do when your partner doesn't want to join you in an 80/80 relationship and how to overcome that situation. I am grateful that my wife does not have that kind of resistance to an approach like this, but I can see how this would be very helpful.
Lastly, I would just add that my wife and I have worked at our marriage quite a bit over the years on our own and through other resources (John Gottman's work, in particular), but we found that having a baby in the last year brought a significant increase in the demands on our marriage. This book has been a fantastic guide in trying to evolve and grow together through this latest chapter in our shared lives. I think it's great for any couple, but especially helpful for one with kids.