I haven’t been posting about my reading lately. While I continue to read at my typical pace, I think I was a little tired of writing book reports, but that has passed.
Last night I read The 80/80 Marriage: A New Model for a Happier, Stronger Relationship. Kaley and Nate Klemp have written an excellent book that can help any married couple improve their relationship. This is especially true in the time of Covid, given all the additional dynamics about being home together most of the time.
When Amy and I wrote Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur in 2013, our goal was to write something different than YARB (“yet another relationship book”). Whenever I worked on it, I had in my mind, “Do not let this be a YARB.”
The 80/80 Marriage is definitely NOT a YARB. The framework comes from the idea that many marriages are 80/20 with a goal of shifting to 50/50, where the partners are equal in the relationship. Kaley and Nate’s goal is to do better than 50/50, hence 80/80.
Amy and I have had an equal partnership in our marriage from the beginning. However, as any married couple knows, that ebbs and flows and at times doesn’t feel equal. The two of us talk about it often, and when we get out of balance on any dimension, we both own what is going on, discuss what we need to do to get back in balance, and then move forward.
Once you start deconstructing this, many traditional relationship tools fit nicely in the 80/80 Marriage construct. Amy and I are big fans of the Five Love Languages. I like receiving acts of service, she likes receiving praise, and both of our #1 is quality time. We also like giving what we like receiving, and fortunately, we both like receiving acts of service and being together all the time.
But what if instead of each person being at 50% of the relationship, the goal was to exceed expectations? That’s where the 80% comes from. An example would be from this morning. Amy is a huge knitter and has been wrestling with a giant yarn tangle. Rather than throw it away, she spent some time last night unsuccessfully trying to untangle it. Today, while she was on a board call and I was upstairs, I spend 10 minutes and untangled it. When she came upstairs, she was delighted with the minor act of service that she didn’t ask for.
There are hundreds of things like this we do for each other each month. Some are significant. Some are trivial. But they are all unexpected and unrequested. That’s what pushes the 50% up to 80%.
Kaley and Nate cover all aspects of a relationship, including roles, priorities, boundaries, power, and sex. And, they finish with the 5 essential habits of the 80/80 marriage:
- Create Space for Connection
- The Call-and-Response of Radical Generosity
- Reveal Issues, Misunderstandings, and Resentments as They Arise
- The Shared-Success Check-in
- Create Space from Digital Distractions
This felt great to me, as Amy and I have regular approaches for each of these. Our Qx vacation approach is highlighted in the book as an example of #1. My yarn story above is an example of #2. Our Life Dinner is how we practice #3, although we do it in real-time also. Morning coffee and Life Dinner is #4, along with shared meals (typically lunch in the time of Covid.) And our Qx vacations and Digital Sabbaths are #5. Of course, what we do is more than just labeling the activity, but if you read our book or follow along on this blog, you can probably related to some of the examples I’ve given in the past.
Kaley and Nate Klemp have made a significant contribution with The 80/80 Marriage: A New Model for a Happier, Stronger Relationship and written something that is not-YARG.
We’ve just closed a financing in Borrowed & Blue and Jason joined the board. Given that Jason is also on the board of Craftsy and Havenly, I’m going to bring up the idea with my partners today that we create and design a new theme around arts and marriage. See what I did there?
A friend of mine sent out a wonderful note (well – actually an FAQ) last night about eloping. He and his now wife are in Hawaii at an event and tied the knot over the weekend. I’m psyched for them as we talked to him recently about whether they should elope or not. Amy and I eloped so while we are a fan of weddings, we realize how stressful and expensive they can be.
Enter Borrowed & Blue, whose tagline is the ‘Smarter Way to Wed’. B&B is taking a content and data-centric approach to serving the wedding industry. B&B is focused on helping couples discover vendors through their work. Every photo on the platform is tagged with the relevant vendors whose work is featured, and links to more detailed information about that vendor. To build up this repository of content, the company publishes more weddings than anyone else online, adding 350+ new weddings a week to its platform. The company has doubled its audience in just the last four months, and already has 18,000 vendors actively engaged on the platform. Borrowed & Blue has also recently launched an iOS app available in Apple’s App Store.
On top of this foundation of content, Borrowed & Blue is building the first transactional marketplace for the wedding industry, so couples will be able to book their venue, photographer, planner, etc. on the platform. Borrowed & Blue’s goal is to provide vendors with a true pay-for-performance model, while offering couples a one-stop shop to both discover and book all their wedding vendors online. Our marketplace theme posits that technology can be the answer to galvanize the two communities of wedding vendors and planning couples, and create a highly attractive business. We were particularly attracted by the company’s product focus and data-driven model.
So – you can elope, stress out, or try out Borrowed & Blue. And, if you have a good name for our pending Arts, Crafts, Design, and Marriage theme, leave it in the comments.
Late breaking news: Ryan reminded me that fashion should be included in the mix, as Jason is also on the board of Betabrand.