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All The Hacks of The 80/80 Marriage

habits roles stress Feb 17, 2022


This week we're switching up the format of our newsletter. 

We're thrilled to share about our new favorite podcast (we think you'll agree) called All the Hacks, which was recently featured on The Tim Ferriss Show.

The podcast is hosted by Chris Hutchins and, on this latest episode, we had the privilege of talking with Chris and his wife Amy Fox about all the "hacks" of 80/80. 

Click here to listen.

This episode also served as the perfect opportunity to ask ourselves: What exactly are the hacks of 80/80?

Here's what we came up with.


80/80 Meta-Hacks 

While doing this exercise, we decided to make up a new word, "meta-hacks." What the heck is that?

Well, we're thinking of a meta-hack as a first-order hack that allows all the other, more practical, hacks to happen.

There are two of these sitting at the core of the 80/80 Model.


Meta-Hack 1: Radical Generosity.

This is the mindset shift from the 50/50 aspiration toward fairness (which leads to constant conflict) to 80/80 radical generosity. Without this mindset meta-hack, it's almost impossible to succeed at the other, more tangible, hacks in relationships.


Meta-Hack 2: Shared Success.

This is the big structural transformation of 80/80. It's the shift from "me" to "us," from asking "What's best for me?" in the face of life's million or so logistics to "What's best for us?" Unlike radical generosity, this represents a fundamental shift not just in how we think but also in how we structure our life together.


80/80 Micro-Hacks

So what are the more granular hacks within these two categories?

Here's our list.


Radical Generosity Hacks

  • Contribution — Do one micro-habit of radically generous contribution each day to create an upward spiral of generosity.
  • Appreciation — Build the daily habit of shifting from our default mode of looking for everything our partner did wrong to seeing them through the lens of appreciation. It's also helpful to use a cue from everyday life as a reminder. For instance, we’ve stacked this habit onto the time before falling asleep to make sure that it happens each day.
  • Revealing Your Full Experience — Set aside time each day – even just 10 minutes – to ask a question that allows you to explore your inner experience together, a question like “What are you thinking about that we haven’t talked about yet?”
  • Revealing Frustrations – Skillfully communicate hurt feelings, disappointment, or misunderstanding through Reveal and Request.


Shared Success Hacks

  • Values — Get clear on your shared values as a couple (i.e. adventure, safety, wealth, impact, etc.). Write down your top 3-5 and put them in a prominent location. We have ours on our kitchen counter.
  • Roles — Shift from the “wing it” approach — allowing gender norms from the 1950s and random historical accident to determine who does what — to a more intentional design. 
  • Priorities — Do a “Life Report Card” to understand what your A’s are in life and, more importantly, where you can start getting F's to free up more time and energy for the things that matter most. The key here is to fail more.
  • Boundaries – Build the courage to say "no" to requests and obligations that don't align with your values by exploring "What's on your boat?" and which life commitments you might be well served to throw off your boat.


Looking for more context on how to do all these hacks?

Check out the All the Hacks Podcast or our book, now out in paperback, The 80/80 Marriage.

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