Monday, January 24, 2011

Marriage Monday: Percentages

I can't remember where I heard this piece of advice but it's a favorite of my husbands and mine as it helps clear up one of those blurry areas in communication. The idea is simple. And hopefully so is the practice.

Here's the gist of the idea.

You want to go out on a date this weekend but neither one of you have a real idea of what to do so one of you throws out the idea "we could go mini golfing".

Even though neither one of you want to go, you think the other one does so you both agree thinking it's for the others benefit. While this isn't a bad thing obviously it does save us from some of those times when really neither one of us would enjoy it.

When we can sense this is happening one of us will throw out, 'ok well I'm only interested about 40%. You know I dont mind going but it's not my top choice.' And either they want to go more like say 80% or they too dont really care and assign it something like, 'yah I'm 50% probably.' This is just a fun way to get a clearer picture of what you're both really thinking or feeling and can help make better informed decisions. This works for many things. Furniture shopping, spending money, date ideas, etc.

What do you think? Can you see this being useful to you?


*You can find other Marriage Monday here.




14 comments:

Shanda said...

Now THAT is a good idea.

Thanks, Debbie!

Shanda :)

Rochelle Brunson said...

Great idea, and so easy to do!

Amber said...

This is a good idea. I've heard this before, but I've heard it more associated with settling disagreements. I'll try to explain.

Let's say, Husband (H) does not like clothes on the floor. Wife (W) doesn't mind clothes on the floor, so every night she leaves her clothes on the closet floor. H asks her to stop putting her clothes on the floor, but she continues to do it and H continues to get frustrated about it. So, they set their percentages....H says his is 80% that he does NOT like having clothes on the floor. W says she is about 30% opposed to hanging her clothes up. Since it aggravates H more, then W should really work to hang her clothes up. However, if H had said it only bothers him about 20% that her clothes are on the floor & W's percentage is 50% that she doesn't like hanging up her clothes, then H shouldn't concern himself with the clothes.

Basically, it's like saying if one partner wants something more than the other, then why not give them what they want. I've seen this technique used with everyday disagreements (leaving toilet seat up, clothes on floor, etc.) all the way to big decisions, such as having another child (W wants a child 90%, H doesn't want a child about 30%, so why not go ahead and have another child if it's that important to W). However, the big problem comes when W wants a child 90% and H doesn't want a child 90% and the real negotiating begins ;)

I hope that made sense. It really is a helpful tool I think.

Shannan said...

As a therapist, I would give my clients a scale of 1-10 to which they would then rate the various factors...1 is I couldn't care less, I have no feelings about it at all...10 being I will die if I don't do this. Each couple rates the 'issue'....whoever is higher on the chart the compromise goes their way that time. If it's really a close call...they would bring it in to session and we'd usually find one sticking point that would tip the scales in one direction or the other. VERY good tool for negotiating....either in marriage or business, as well!

Jenni Elyse said...

I think it would help with some of the ambiguity in a relationship. However, one of the things I'm learning through my codependency 12 step meeting is that it's better to just be honest. Not saying that using the percentage thing isn't being honest. But, instead of throwing something out because you think you're spouse will want to do it, it may just be better to say, "I don't want to do this, but if you do, I'm okay going." Then, it's up to the spouse to be completely honest in their answer.

I know there's a lot of ifs in that situation, so the percentage thing may help spouses get to a place of not being co-dependent so that they can finally just say what's on their mind without offending their spouse.

Debbie / Cranberry Fries said...

Thanks Shanda and Rochelle!
Amber and Shannan I love both of those additions to this idea. Thanks for sharing them!
With those ideas it's easier for the other partner (the one who doesn't really care or have a preference) to hopefully be more willing to accommodate their partner if they know their desire is stronger.

Debbie / Cranberry Fries said...

Jenni I agree honesty is the key! I think the fun about this percentage thing is to say. I'm okay doing this activity or this whatever means this much to me but theres this much room for negotiation or discussion.
If you weren't interested in it at all then obviously it'd be 0%.

Heather Justesen said...

I've never heard that before, but it's a great idea, as it's easy to go along with something you think your spouse wants, even though they don't because you don't have strong feelings about it.

Olivia Carter said...

I like this idea. I don't know how often this happens to Scott & I but when it does I'll be using this FOR SURE!

Rachel+Co said...

i love this. i j do a similar thing with don. i'll tell him on a scale of 1 to 10 how important something is that i've asked him to do for me. {on saturday, i said that him taking the kids for the night during our party was a 10. i only reserve those for super important things}.

Debbie / Cranberry Fries said...

Rachel I do that with Tarl too but I haven't done a 1-10 with it. I like that!! A lot of things I'd like him to do but aren't so important I'm willing to bug him about it. Then there are those things that super important to me.

Susan said...

I could see that working, but my concern would be that we would end up doing nothing because neither of us could come up with a better idea. ha ha.

Me (aka Danielle) said...

I love this idea! My husband and I spend a lot of time bouncing ideas back and forth, and there have been some "misunderstandings". I am totally going to put this to use!

Heids said...

Love it. We've never done this. I think we usually just say straight up, "I kind of like that idea," or whatever. But we're such numbers people I'm surprised this hasn't occurred to us before!