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What is an 80/80 marriage and how does it work?

What is an 80/80 marriage and how does it work?

In February 2021, Kaley Klemp and Nate Klemp, Ph.D., published their book The 80/80 Marriage: A New Model for a Happier, Stronger Relationship. In this book, they introduce a different marriage model and provide couples with a transformative guide to achieving deeper love, intimacy, and connection. 

The Klemps are both very successful in their careers as mindfulness and leadership experts. However, as their careers soared, they were constantly fighting about fairness within their marriage. 

That’s because their marriage was based on a common model where partners are expected to contribute equally to the relationship. As you may already know, that’s an incredibly tall order and it’s almost impossible for couples to achieve it. 

So how did the 80/80 marriage model come to life?

As a result of fights and arguments about fairness and equality, couples may grow frustrated with one another and their love connection starts to suffer because of it. The Klemps saw the writing on the wall and they decided to work on the way they approached their marriage. 

That’s how they developed the idea of an 80/80 marriage, which allows couples to balance career, love, and family. This new model has helped many married couples and today, we want to explore what it’s all about!

What Is an 80/80 Marriage? 

There are a few marriage models or power dynamics that have been around for a long time. One of them is the 80/20 model, which is based on inequality and deference. This model contributes a lot to the mindset of “that’s not my job” in marriages. 

There’s also the 50/50 model, which is very common and it aims at perfect equality. However, it often leads to confusion and the mindset of “your wins are my losses.” The Klemps understand how these models often do more harm than good, so they came up with the 80/80 model based on over a hundred couple interviews, scientific studies, and ancient philosophy. 

The 80/80 marriage model is designed to move past the idea of equality so couples can adopt generosity and shared success instead. It calls each partner to contribute 80% to the relationship and it offers practical solutions to help couples create a space for a deeper connection. 

Why do couples embrace the 80/80 Marriage Model?

The 80/80 marriage model creates a win/win situation and it allows couples to strengthen their relationship. After all, relationships ebb and flow, and people have constant ups and downs, so it’s impossible to always achieve equality. Instead, why not try to exceed expectations every chance we get?

To succeed at this, it’s very important to understand each other’s love language and do things for each other without anyone asking. Some of those things will be insignificant, others will be monumental, but they’re all unexpected and deeply appreciated. 

For example, let’s say that your partner’s love language is acts of service. They love giving them and receiving them. Knowing this, it’s easy to find opportunities where you go 80% for them. It could be something as small as brewing their coffee in the morning or helping them solve a big issue they’ve been having. 

Either way, you’ll make their life easier and the relationship will improve. Every single month that passes, there are hundreds of opportunities for both partners to go 80% for one another, without hesitation or silly calculations regarding who’s doing more or less. As soon as you ditch the mindset that everything has to be equal and you seek, instead, to surprise each other constantly, things change within the marriage. 

80/80 Marriage Essential Habits:

Kaley and Nate Klemp are dedicated to helping couples adopt the 80/80 marriage model so their relationships can improve and thrive. They work with couples via Zoom and also offer retreats, which allows couples to learn how to optimize their relationship. 

Of course, the 80/80 marriage model applies to all aspects of the relationship, such as the roles each person plays, priorities, power, boundaries, conflict resolution, and even intimacy. All in all, the 80/80 marriage is based on five essential habits: 

  • Creating a space where you can connect as a couple. 
  • Call-and-response radical generosity.
  • Revealing issues, resentments, and misunderstandings as they arise. 
  • Shared-success check-ins.
  • Creating a space free from digital distractions. 

All of these habits contribute to creating the kind of environment where couples can not only grow closer together but also hack their marriage to find that perfect balance they’ve always been searching for. If you want to learn about this more in-depth then we recommend you buy the book.

The 80/80 marriage model has helped a lot of couples so far and it seems to be the perfect way to approach modern marriages. The Klemps offer an actionable and life-changing guide that helps couples have deeper connections and strike the perfect balance between work, love, and family. 


This marriage model has become quite popular in the last year because the more people adopt it, the better their relationships seem to get. And, it seems that couples find it easier to navigate through different stages and challenges in their marriage with the 80/80 marriage model in mind.

Of course, it takes both parties to be on board and be willing to ditch previously held ideas about equality, which have only done couples a disservice.  

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