The 20% Commitment that Yields 80% Growth In Your Marriage

Great marriages don’t just happen. They are co-created—with each spouse contributing 100% to its success. Today I met a couple that has been married 48 years. They said the secret is that he gives 100% and she gives 110%. We laughed. But, they tapped a central truth. Great marriages go all in. These couples are rewarded with a deep sense of happiness and attachment that feels almost spiritual in nature. We all wish for this kind of marriage. Its what we dream about when we first say “I do”. But, for many of us it now feels unrealistic—just too lofty and expectation given where things are currently. But, what if it only took 20% to claim your great marriage? And, that 20% is well within your reach—if you want it.

The 80 / 20 Rule of Marriage

Most of us are familiar with the well-known Pareto Principle (also known as the 80-20) rule. We’ve seen it applied to many contexts. You may have heard in the workplace that 20% of the people do 80% of the work.

You may have heard it in the church context where 20% of the people give 80% of the donations.

Have you ever thought about the application to your marriage?

In my experience working with couples, I’ve discovered a profound application of the 80-20 rule that is particularly encouraging for those who are losing hope that their marriage will ever be what they dreamed. Twenty percent of what you put into your marriage is responsible for 80% of what you get out of it.

LYH29: 10 Practices for a Dad to Maximally Influence His Daughter [Podcast]

Happy African-American Family

Show Agenda

  • My Week in Review
  • Featured Presentation: 10 Practices for a Dad to Maximally Influence His Daughter
  • Resource: Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker (affiliate link)

Featured Presentation

You can find the full blog post on this topic at haroldarnold.com/dadsanddaughters

Ten Practices for Father’s to Maximize His Influence on His Daughter 

  • Practice #1: Spend quality time with her
  • Practice #2: Hug her often
  • Practice #3: Tell her how beautiful she is
  • Practice #4: Listen to her talk
  • Practice #5: Encourage her gifts rather than role stereotypes
  • Practice #6: Teach her how to love well
  • Practice #7: Protect her from abusive interactions
  • Practice #8: Validate her options as a homemaker and/or career woman
  • Practice #9: Treat her mother well
  • Practice #10: Show her faith

So there you have my ten best practices for a father to maximally influence his daughter’s life.

We have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to guide our daughter’s lives from the earliest days of their lives. It is a duty that cannot be outsourced. Only you can be her father. Only you.

I’d love to hear what other practices you would add to this list and hear your comments about my ten. So, definitely leave a comment and let me know.

Now, go be a great dad. Leave me a comment and let me know how you or your husband connect with your daughter.

Click HERE to  leave a rating or review of the episode on iTunes. It tremendously helps the show.

Play

Ten Practices for A Father to Maximize His Influence on His Daughter

This past weekend, I traveled to my hometown state of Virginia for my baby sister’s baby shower. It was a festive time with family and friends. My sister and brother-in-law are expecting a little girl in early December. Her name is Kennedy. Yesterday I rubbed my sister’s belly and talked to Kennedy in utero. She kicked for Uncle Harold.  It’s exciting that another little girl will be joining our family. As I sat at the baby shower watching my brother-in-law, I thought about what a great father he will be. I’m very thankful that my sister has a husband that will be a strong presence for my niece. In fact, statistics clearly show the vital role that fathers play in the development of their daughters. But, we really don’t need statistics to understand how critically important a father’s attention is in the development of his daughter. For my nearly 17 years as the father of a young lady, I’ve sought to emphasize 10 practices that I believe are formative in her development as a young Christian lady. Many factors have impacted the amazing person that she is today. But, I believe these ten practices have played a critically important role.

Father hiking with daughter

Author Meg Meeker writes in her book, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know [affiliate link], “fathers inevitably change the course of their daughters’ lives – and can even save them. From the moment you set eyes on her wet-from-the-womb body until she leaves your home, the clock starts ticking. It’s the clock that times your hours with her, your opportunities to influence her, to shape her character, and to help her find herself.” We fathers have a short window of time to maximally influence our daughters.

I love that excerpt for its emphasis on the short period of time that we fathers ultimately have to impress important values on our daughters. In our harried lives, it is easy to take these duties for granted. But, we do so at the peril of our daughters and our families more broadly.

Sometimes, we avoid these critical moments with our daughters because of difficulties we may have with her mother, particularly in divorce situations. Other times, it is because our daughters may not share our interests in certain activities (e.g. sports) or we in theirs (e.g., fashion trends). Still other times we have difficulty relating to some of the “girl drama” that may not seem nearly as serious as she purports it to be. Regardless of the reason, the result is that we fathers often outsource the male nurture of our daughters to those who often seek to exploit her.

Across developmental stages it only takes a glimpse at the statistics to glean a truism, a father’s influence on his daughter is irreplaceable. In other words, it cannot be effectively outsourced. Can a young girl develop into a fine woman without her father’s presence? Yes, of course. But, I believe it is the herculean effort of other family, friends, and community members that make that happen. Far too often, however, those resources simply aren’t sufficiently present.

LYH28: How to Truly Apologize and Recover Your Relationships [PODCAST]

The Apology Conceptual Image

NOTE: Though the content is audible, this episode has a technical problem with low level hissing throughout the program.

Show Agenda

  • My Week in Review
  • Featured Presentation: How to Truly Apologize and Recover Your Relationship

Featured Presentation

You can find the full blog post on this topic at haroldarnold.com/trueapology

Five Phrases of a Genuine Apology

  • Phrase #1: “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”
  • Phrase #2: “I errantly said that BECAUSE…
  • Phase #3: “My relationship with you is very important to me.”
  • Phrase #4: “When I said that, how did it make you feel?”
  • Phrase #5: “I will do my best to never say that again.”

The key to keep in mind that these are not just words that you are saying. Rather, they are feelings that you are sharing. You are sharing your contriteness at what happened. You are sharing how important the relationship is to you. You are sharing a commitment to not make the mistake again.

In other words, a true apology requires your whole self to be committed to the act.

Be sure to use these suggestions as a guide. But, put it into your own words. It needs to sound like you.

I’d love to hear what happens when you’ve tried this approach to an apology. So, leave me a comment and let me know.

Also, it would be a tremendous help to me if you would leave a rating or review of this show on iTunes. Would you do that for me?

Play

How to Truly Apologize and Recover Your Relationship

There is a lie that we learn as early as kindergarten. We even have a little song to help cement it in our consciousness. “Sticks and stones may break my bones. But, words will never hurt me.” It’s meant to help anesthetize us from hurtful encounters with other children and help us develop “thicker skin”. And, yes, it may indeed serve that purpose to some extent. The problem, however, is that as we age, we forget the tremendous power that words do have. They can give pleasure. But they also can hurt. Very deeply. Often worse than sticks and stones. In fact, when even one negative exchange happens, research shows that it takes as many as five positive ones to offset it. We see then that words not only have power. But, that negative words are actually more powerful than positive ones. When you find yourself having offended someone important to you with your words, here are five phrases that show you how to truly apologize–a key step to restoring the relationship.

Sorry written on multiple road sign

Since 1862, appearing first in an African Methodist Episcopal Church publication called the Christian Recorder, the famous “sticks and stones” phrase has become intertwined in the American lexicon. More recently psychologist Dr. John Gottman, in his work with couples has found that it takes a ratio of five positive exchanges to counterbalance one negative exchange. In fact, it is this ratio that Dr. Gottman and his team can predict with 94% accuracy which married couples will divorce and which will survive. But, the principle of the five to one ratio extends far beyond just marriages. It is the nature of being human-certainly in Western culture.

Whether we are talking about relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, friend to friend, or co-worker to co-worker, the reality is that hurtful words will happen. Negative exchanges can happen even in good relationships. Sometimes, it happens because we speak without thinking. Other times, we let our emotions get the best of us. Still other times, we react before understanding the full context of the situation. The end result is that we damage the relationship, usually without intending to do so. There is distance and friction.