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Here is why the 50:50 model doesn't work in relationships

Growing · 3 min read

I’ll do my part and you do yours.”

Seems fair, right? If you and your partner split chores and responsibilities right down the middle then it seems like you are carrying the same weight. 

But what happens when your partner is too exhausted to take care of the dishes because they’ve had a hard day? Or when you forget to take out the trash before leaving for work? What happens if the circumstances never lend themselves to one partner carrying a seemingly equal amount of responsibilities? 

Most couples would say the best way to do life together is the 50:50 approach, meaning they each do 50% of the work required to maintain a healthy and happy relationship. This could mean staying home to take care of children, going to work and earning money, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, letting your partner have a lie-in on a weekend, and so much more. While it does seem like the 50:50 model is perfectly reasonable, it can often result in disappointment and resentment.

The 50:50 model is flawed because it means subconsciously (or even consciously) measuring each other’s input into the relationship. When couples measure input they will inevitably recognise times when it feels like one partner is carrying much more than the other. Within the 50:50 model, appreciation and recognition is usually only given if it is deserved, and if this becomes a pattern the 50:50 model can soon become the nil:nil model. 

Have you ever noticed this in your relationship? 

An alternative…

There is an alternative to the 50:50 model. We call it the 100:100 model. In this model each partner is giving 100% regardless of what the other person is giving and without expecting anything in return. 

When each person works towards their strengths and tries to be as helpful as they can, you will find that your relationship will become more loving and you will feel more generous towards each other. 

There may be seasons when your 100% may feel like less than your partner’s 100%, and that’s okay. Work towards giving your best to your partner every day, and stop measuring each other’s input. 

Toucan’s Growing module has an entire section dedicated to the 50:50/100:100 model. You will hear from real couples, with stories that may not be far from your own, about how they have grown together using the 100:100 model. 

Reflect on these questions:

Do we measure input in our relationship? 

How can we both work to our strengths and give each other 100% every day? 


TIP — Toucan Together’s new Growing Module sets up some great conversations about strengthening your relationship as a couple. You’ll discover how to grow together through 5 common relationship challenges; explore 5 ingredients for a thriving relationship and find fresh perspectives for marriage (whether you’re married, living together or dating). You’ll also hear some great real stories from couples talking honestly and openly about their relationships. GET STARTED | LOG IN

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