The 80/80 Marriage with Nate Klemp, Episode #86

The 80/80 Marriage Nate Klemp

Dr. Nate Klemp is the founding partner of “Mindful” and co-author of the newly released, “The 80/80 Marriage,” a new model for a happier, stronger marriage. Nate and his wife have both led successful careers consulting for high-powered companies around the world. Their work as mindfulness and leadership experts, however, often fell to the wayside in the evenings when they found themselves fighting about fairness in their marriage.

They believed in a model where each partner contributed equally and fairness ruled. But in reality, they were finding that balance near impossible to achieve. From this frustration, they developed the idea of the 80/80 marriage, a new model for balancing career, family, and love. The 80/80 marriage pushes couples beyond a limited idea of fairness towards a new model grounded on radical generosity and shared success, all outlined in the book. Listen in for some great takeaways about mindfulness and building a happy marriage.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…

  • How Nate decided to become an author [3:30]
  • What does an 80/80 marriage mean? [6:03]
  • How mindset is key to a happy marriage [9:13]
  • How to apply this mindset to business [10:50]
  • The four faces of “fairness” in relationships [12:49]
  • The unique pressures on modern relationships [15:32]
  • How to shift your mindset in your relationship [22:28]
  • Understanding the definition of generosity [27:03]
  • Tips to create the “headspace” for intimacy [31:15]
  • What are the next big steps for Nate Klemp? [34:01]
  • What put Nate in the right mindset for success [34:55]
  • How to learn more about 80/80 marriage [36:55]

What does an 80/80 marriage mean?

Many people are stuck in a marriage where they shoot for 50/50 and embrace the idea of fairness. They keep a mental tally of how much each person is contributing to the relationship. Nate emphasizes that this mindset makes you miserable. But what if you approached a relationship from the perspective of radical generosity where the goal is to do something crazy—contributing 80%. It will help break you out of the “fairness” mindset that causes so many problems in relationships.

The 50/50 mindset seems to be the default in the modern-day relationship. But you end up on two competing teams—competing against each other. The alternative is being on a team together. It’s about shared success. It’s a monumental shift with magical results.

How mindset is key to a happy marriage

According to Nate, “Mindset” is the background set of beliefs, attitudes, and expectations that you have about a relationship. He notes that in relationships, your mindset is contagious. Whatever mindset you use, your partner is likely to mirror it back to you. If your mindset is, “this isn’t fair” or “I resent you for x, y, and z,” you can bet that your partner will feel resentment. It’s the way the human mind works.

But when you shift your mindset to radical generosity, it’s contagious. You’ll find that your partner will begin to shift their mindset as well. It creates an upward spiral.

When Nate wrote this book, they were focused on intimate relationships. But numerous examples poured in of people applying this to their jobs. Listen to hear how it can be applied to your everyday life.

Why the concept of “fairness” is dangerous to relationships

Fairness tends to show up in four different ways within a marriage:

  • Fighting over things like household chores and childcare.
  • Many couples fight about when to spend time with each person’s family and friends.
  • Money is an area where there are often fights around saving and/or spending.
  • Once kids are in the picture, there is a battle for a balance of free time and making sure that’s fair.

Nate and Kaley found that expectations around the division of labor in relationships have changed considerably since the 1950s. Most couples go into marriage with the basic assumption that they are going to be equals. But there is still a huge gender gap in relationships. Women still do more housework and childcare. There’s a mismatch between what people say and what they do.

During the last two years, Nate has seen this amplify. 500,000 more women than men left the workforce to care for their families. It translates into a classic relationship dynamic where there’s an over-contributor and an under-contributor. That dynamic is problematic. The over-contributor will ask for help but not always in the most skillful way. The under-contributor often doesn’t hear those requests for help and often contributes less because of the feeling of resentment.

Most couples “wing it.” They let 1950s gender norms determine who does what, then they proceed to fight about it all the time. There’s a better way to do it. How? Sit down together and have a conversation about what each person is good at, what they like to do, and how to set it up in a way that makes sense for them. You’re bringing intentionality into your structure and conflict begins to dissipate. What are some tangible ways to shift to a generosity mindset in your relationship? Listen to hear some easy strategies that you can implement now.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Nate Klemp


Nate Klemp is a writer, philosopher, and entrepreneur. Along with his wife Kaley, he is the author of the newly released The 80/80 Marriage: A New Model for a Happier, Stronger Marriage (Penguin Radom House). He is also the coauthor, with Eric Langshur, of the New York Times Bestseller Start Here: Master the Lifelong Habit of Wellbeing and is a regular contributor for Inc. Magazine, Fast Company, and Mindful. He is also a founding partner at Mindful, one of the world’s largest mindfulness media and training companies. Nate holds a B.A. and M.A. in philosophy from Stanford University and a PhD from Princeton University.

Guests on the Mitlin Money Mindset Show are not affiliated with CWM, LLC, and opinions expressed herein may not be representative of CWM, LLC. CWM, LLC is not responsible for the guest’s content linked on this site.

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