October 29, 2013
Focus on the 80%
Dear Dr. Laura,
A couple of days ago, you were telling a caller not to allow the negative side of her relationship with her husband overshadow the positive side. If 80% of their relationship is good, that can be enough. After all, no relationship is perfect. Expecting it to be that way is just daydreaming.
More than anything else I have heard you say, that particular comment struck a chord with me. I immediately thought of my relationship with my husband, and realized how much I had been nagging him about certain things. I was focusing on the 20%, instead of the 80%. It was distorting my own view of our marriage, and neither of us was happy. I thought I was helping him by telling him what I wasn't happy about, but I was pushing him away in the process and making him feel worthless.
A little background: We were married 25 years ago, divorced after 15 years of marriage and I was focusing on the 20%, even then. After 6 years apart, I refocused on the 80%, we reunited, and last fall, we were remarried. Note: there are no kids in the picture except for the furry kind.
I am so happy to be back with him, but I was starting to let my focus waver yet again.
Immediately after hearing your show, I sat down with my husband and apologized for commenting on what I saw as his shortcomings. I told him there was so much more to our relationship that was good, and I vowed to stay focused on that and to stop nagging him. I acknowledged we both had faults, and each of us would fix them if and when WE were ready - not when the other person complained about them. My conversation with him brought us both to tears, AND to a better understanding of each other.
Yesterday, I made a sticker and put it on the back of my cell phone as a reminder. It looks like a math problem gone astray, but I am confident it will work for me.
80% focus MINUS 20% forget EQUALS 100% happy
Thank you for putting things into perspective in an honest and straightforward way.
Posted by Staff at 11:46 AM