My marriage secret: 51/49

If you are married, you will probably understand what I am about to tell you. You know that Sunday afternoon when it is slightly cold out, but it is past time to clear the leaves out of the gutters? When you ask your husband if maybe this is the day to clean them out, and they look at you with raised eyebrows because they know it is:

a) a good day for it

b) past time for it to be done

c) they do not want to get on the roof and clean the gutters

d) they know you are right

You say to your husband: “51/49” which equates to: time to clean the gutters.

You might ask: What is this 51/49? Chris and I have a little mantra for our marriage that we joke about together. “51/49” is what we call it. Basically the short and dirty of it is that I have 51% say and he has 49% say in decisions. I know what you are thinking. Either: “That is not fair” or “Wow, lucky woman.” Whatever you are thinking, save it. It works for us. Chris has always had the idea in his mind: “Happy wife; happy life.” You can guess correctly that I like it. I have the most wonderful husband (I already know I do so you do not have to tell me).

You may ask why I am telling you this – especially when I have also just told you that he only gets 49% say. Well, in the end 51/49 is our inside joke. It is our decision-making motto. Yes, there are many decisions that we make together. Definitely the big ones, buying a house, moving to a different city, making large purchases, you know the drill. Yet, on the day-to-day level, I often plot out the plan for our life. I carve out what is next, make a plan, and divvy up the details for us both to execute. Partly because I am on point for driving us forward with those plans, I often use 51/49 to make sure things happen. If we are torn about where to have dinner and I have a strong opinion, I might mention 51/49. With a grin on his face, and the knowledge that it is our little joke, Chris might lean my way. Or, he might decide to bring his own plan to the mix and test my 51/49. Yes, it is fun, and yes, it has proven very effective in our marriage.

51/49 is also a reminder to us to take good care of each other. I try just as hard to look out for and pamper Chris as he does for me. We do it in different ways, but we love to find ways to make sure we both share in living a happy life together.

I grew up in a family where my father made the decisions (whether right, smart, wrong, or not thought through), while my mom did almost everything in the house. It was always evident to me that my dad made the decisions. It was his way or the highway. I knew I never wanted to be in that kind of marriage. First, I am too strong-willed. Second, I wanted to be in a relationship where we shared and made decisions together. 51/49 works for us.

What do you think of our marriage secret?

3 thoughts on “My marriage secret: 51/49

  1. I’m glad you’re sharing your secret! I’d say that you’ve revealed the secret to many happy marriages, but often that “secret” remains unspoken. Some of us agree things are 50/50, but in our hearts, we know we can claim that 1% advantage as needed. Especially when we’ve agreed something needs doing and it’s time to do it. On the other hand, when it’s not an emergency and there’s leeway in timing, I find that ceding the 1% advantage happily avoids the nag factor.
    By the way, where did you find that timeless relationship quote: “wait for the boy that would do anything to be your everything?” When did you recognize your one-of-a-kind Chris as that boy?


    • Susu, So agree with the 1% advantage and nag factor. I found the quote on Pinterest. I do not think I recognized Chris was that boy soon enough…I was thrown off in the beginning. Wink. Wink.


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