The 25% Rule

Posted on April 30, 2009 by


Perhaps the wisest thing that Newt Gingrich ever said (in speaking of the Republican party) was,

[W]e have to get used to fighting ourselves at times and we have to recognize that we are in the business of conflict management. We are not in the business of conflict resolution. You only resolve conflicts by kicking people out.


For the first few years of my marriage, I had this idea that slowly we would resolve all of our conflicting viewpoints, until we came to a place of complete unity and harmony.

Now I’m finding that, not only do relationships not work that way, but they also don’t need to work that way. One example of finding harmony in our differences is the 25% Rule.

The 25% Rule says that 25% of the stuff your spouse buys will seem like a waste of money to you, and 25% of the stuff you buy will seem like a waste of money to your spouse. For example, when I’m doing grocery shopping, if I see pinto beans on sale for $0.35 a can, I’m going to be coming home with a lot of cans of pinto beans. And Heather will say, “Dane, what are you going to do with all those pinto beans?!” And I’ll say, “It was a great sale!”

And then there’s the stuff I love — board games, Magic cards, eclectic music, and stuff from garage sales — that Heather has no interest in.

And, of course, Heather spends money on stuff that I just don’t get. It used to drive me crazy, but once I figured out the 25% Rule, it got a lot easier. Then I could just say, “She’s Heather and she gets to spend money on whatever she wants, and she doesn’t have to justify it to me.” And I find that marriage gets easier as we learn to accept without having to understand.

Posted in: Family