The bride was absolutely stunning as she walked down the aisle of the Church.
As the groom watched her walk toward him, he thought to himself that he is the luckiest guy in the world that such a beautiful and wonderful girl would ever say yes to marry him.
Everyone was in awe. This was a very nice couple that were very good to each other and for each other.
When it came time for the vows, she read a poem she had written about how deep their friendship and love had become. He read a paragraph that perfectly conveyed his feelings and gratitude to her.
And then the priest asked him the question, "Do you promise to love, honor and obey your wife now and unto death?" And he smiled and said, "I do." The priest turned to the bride and asked, "Do you promise to love, honor and obey your husband now and unto death?" And she answered, "I do."
But then the priest turned back to the groom and asked, "Do you promise to do 80 percent of the household work?" And the groom looked surprised and said "What?"
The priest repeated the question. "Do you, as husband, promise to do 80 percent of the cleaning, the cooking, the shopping, the dishwashing, the child rearing, the vacuuming, the laundry, the dusting, and the serving? Do you promise to do 80 percent of all family responsibilities, chores and obligations? Do you promise to give 80 percent and only expect 20 percent from your wife? The groom was a little taken aback, but then said, "I do."
Then the priest repeated the same question to the bride. "Do you, as wife promise to do 80 percent of the cleaning, the cooking, the shopping, the dishwashing, the child rearing, the vacuuming, the laundry, the dusting, and the serving? Do you promise to do 80 percent of all family responsibilities, chores and obligations? The bride also was a little taken aback, but then she said, "I do."
The priest smiled in approval, and then gave a little sermon before he proclaimed them husband and wife. He told a story about a couple he knew that had a hard struggle in life. They were poor and without a lot of family and resources. They each needed to work two or three jobs just to have enough money for food and shelter. But he explained that this family were always in want, and yet never wanted. Of all families including those with a lot of money, this family had the most gratitude and most happiness. The reason? The priest said that it was because each of them was willing to give more of themselves and expect less of the other. And they each did this in full gratitude for the gift of love they have been given and for the love of their family. And they did it without any resentment. It was a small price to pay.
Both the husband and the wife each expected that as a part of life, the majority of the responsibility - at least 80 percent - would fall upon them and not their spouse to make the family work, to make it succeed.
The priest explained, "In today's society everyone says our family is 50-50. But the point is that a 50-50 relationship for the family work is unrealistic. And if you strive for 50 percent and do 55 percent, well, you become resentful - after all, your spouse is not keeping up with their 50 percent. That formula alone, causes more tensions and arguments than almost anything else."
"But," the priest continued, "If you have very high expectations for yourself to do the work, and low expectations for your spouse and if you do so gratefully for the blessings you do have, you are always living in an atmosphere of satisfaction and are grateful for it."
The priest continued, "Is it fair to do 80 percent of the work and only expect your spouse to do 20 percent? Well, it is one of those paradoxes that in families where a husband or wife demands more of themselves than their spouses, they are happier and have higher levels of marriage fulfillment and family satisfaction."
"It also fits into our understanding that often, it is not the work but the attitude that gives us life satisfaction, and that people who do the most get the most."
"Yes," he said, "to love, honor and obey are admirable virtues and are needed for every successful relationship. But as much as anything, offer in your heart to do 80 percent of the work and you will never be disappointed."
Editor's Note: The Rule of 80-20 works not just in marriage, but in everything you do. As an employee, strive to do more than your share of the work. As a boss, strive to work harder and better than other supervisors. If you work on the farm, in the factory, at the office, or in the home - strive to reach the 80 percent level - and be very grateful for it - and it will improve your life in all areas.