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80/80 Marriage

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What to Do When You Can't Understand Each Other in Marriage

“You don’t understand what I’m going through,” Nate said.

“Well, you don’t understand what it’s like for me,” Kaley told Nate.

After two years of marriage, we found ourselves caught in this trap. It's a predicament that so many couples find themselves in, a conflict that boils down to this: you don’t understand me.

For us, an unexpected accident triggered these feelings of misunderstanding. Thirteen years ago, Nate had a serious...

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Try out this mind-blowing marriage thought experiment

conflict habits stress Apr 21, 2021

Have you ever had a single line of text change your life? 

We have. Here’s a line that changed ours from two of our mentors Gay and Katie Hendricks:

“In all times and every way, we are getting exactly what we are committed to getting.”

Take a moment to sit with this idea. 

Take a moment to let it in.

Consider the idea that, somehow, you are committed to getting all the problems and challenges you experience throughout the day.

Most of us recoil at the very...

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Reveal Your Truth in Relationships
(Without Triggering a Huge Fight)

Marriage is a lot like owning a car.  You don’t have to take it in for regular tune-ups, nor do you have to change its oil or fill up its tires. But sooner or later, this haphazard approach is likely to leave you stranded on the side of the road or with no car at all.

The same is true in marriage. You don’t have to reveal all of those microscopic truths: the subtle resentment you feel when cleaning up after your partner or the irritation that springs from feeling controlled....

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Assess Your Marriage to See if It Passes The Brag Test?

You can take all sorts of surveys and assessments to better understand the strength of your relationship. But we want to propose that a single question—what we call "The Brag Test"—can tell you everything you need to know about the strength of your marriage.

We know what you're thinking. "What is the Brag Test and what can it tell me about my marriage?"

It’s basically this.  

When you're talking about your partner in front of other people—friends, work...

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How to Discover What You're Really Fighting About in Marriage

The other day, we had an argument that got pretty heated. It was over how to prioritize our time on a Sunday afternoon. Kaley wanted to meet up with a friend. Nate wanted to do an activity together as a family.

The conversation started out well. But then, it went off the rails. At some point, we both felt frustrated and angry. We both felt like the other person wasn't really hearing us.

In that moment, we realized we had a choice between two very different paths. The first...

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Is power balanced in your marriage?

conflict fairness sex Jan 06, 2021

Power.

It’s the marital equivalent of the Wi-Fi network in your house. It’s an invisible force and yet it’s always there, operating in the background. And, just like your Wi-Fi, when power goes out of whack, you feel an instant surge of irritation, anger, and sometimes even rage.

When we started writing The 80/80 Marriage, one of our primary goals was to better understand the dynamics of power in marriage. We had both experienced first-hand the sting of resentment that...

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Where's the line between being selfish and self care in marriage?

conflict priorities stress Dec 15, 2020

Here are two common traps in marriage.

The first is getting so lost in errands, to-dos, and the thousand or so other demands of domestic life that you forget about caring for yourself. At the end of the day, you feel scattered, tense, and exhausted. You’ve been carrying the weight of your family system but you haven’t been caring for yourself.

The second is this problem in reverse. It's overdoing self care. Instead of following through on important logistics or doing the things...

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End Conflicts in Marriage Using 'The Gandhi Move' (a.k.a. Non-Complementary Behavior)

One of the unique quirks of the human brain is its propensity to mirror the states of others. When we see an eight week old baby smile, we can’t help but smile. It just sort of happens.

But the opposite is also true. When we experience our partner's irritation and anger, we get pissed. We feel an instant surge of irritation and anger. It just sort of happens. 

Psychologists have a name for this phenomenon. They call it “complementary behavior." It’s a fancy way of...

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3 Tips for Eliminating Drama During a Covid-19 Pandemic Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving (the good news)!

Covid-19 rates are peaking (the bad news).

And that means that all the drama we normally experience at Thanksgiving -- the strange political discussions or the arguments over whether the stuffing should be gluten-free -- now includes all sorts of new emotionally explosive questions.

Questions like:

  • "Do we still try to eat a turkey dinner together but just do it outside in the freezing cold, huddled around a patio heater?"
  • "Isn't there some way to...
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2 Tips for Dealing With Recycled Issues in Marriage

conflict fairness stress Oct 28, 2020

There’s something strange about conflicts in marriage.

Modern couples could fight about thousands of things. Life these days, after all, is messy, complicated, and full of an endless stream of logistical challenges, to-dos, and parenting dilemmas.

And yet, when it comes to what we actually fight about, most of us have a pretty short list. The same three to five recycled conflicts just keep popping up, again and again.

For us, it's three things: balancing time spent with each...

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