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Email of the Day: My 80/20 Formula for Happiness

By Dr. Laura on January, 21 2022
Email of the Day: My 80/20 Formula for Happiness

I once heard you say not to allow the negative side of a marriage to overshadow the positive side. If 80% of the relationship is good, that can be enough. That struck a chord with me. I realized I was nagging my husband a lot, 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 didn’t make me happy, but I was pushing him away in the process and making him feel worthless.


We divorced after 15 years of marriage, but after six years apart, I refocused on the good 80% of what we had. We reunited and remarried (there were no kids in the picture). I sat down with my husband and apologized for commenting on what I saw as his shortcomings. I vowed to stay focused on the good things 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. That conversation brought us both to tears AND a better understanding of each other.


As a reminder, I made a sticker and put it on the back of my cell phone. It reads “80% ‘focus’ plus 20% ‘forgetting’ equals 100% ‘happy.’”



My 80/20 Formula for Happiness



The Dr. Laura Call of the Day Podcast


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