A few years before he died, my father turned to me and said, “Yep, Georgie, it’s ninety-ten.” I asked what it was that was ninety-ten. His answer: “It’s the balance that keeps a marriage intact, it’s what determines whether people stay together or break up.” The further explanation was that, according to all he had seen in a life then of seventy nine years, marriages only work when one of the two parties involved carries ninety percent of the adaptation, the adjustment, the accommodation. The other party only has to do ten percent. Any departure from this particular division causes the marital relationship to break down. This is because one of the two sides has to give in pretty much completely, while the other one rides high. This is not about who does the housework, who cuts the lawn, who spends how much time with the children. This is about who manages the tensions in the relationship itself, who creates the harmony, who gives in, who apologizes and sets things right. My father added: “I know people talk about fifty-fifty, about sharing the work of making a relationship last. I tell you, that is all bullshit. I have watched marriages all my life, and the ones that last are ninety-ten.” I wondered what happens when it is ninety five percent and five percent in the division of the accommodation. Or, even more extremely, what about one hundred and zero? That would be when one of the two partners carries the burden of ALL of the adjustment, and the other does NOTHING. I did not ask my father about this, but I wish I had. Presumably this too would not work and the marriage could not survive, because it would simply kill the one that carries the one hundred percent.. After this discussion, I asked my father which was he: the one who did the ninety, or the one that did the ten. He answered: “the ten.” At first I thought his answer was commendable, and I said so, because ordinarily the ten would be so self-satisfied that there would not even be a thought about how seriously he was taking advantage of the ninety. And yet here was a ten owning up to his own tenness. But then another, rather depressing possibility came into my mind: my father was married three times, and all three wives predeceased him. Maybe he was not a ten at all – I began to think he was pretty much a zero, and their carrying of the hundred killed them all. I had been wishing that he was alive so I could ask him about this. But then he came to me in a dream, and he said that I was right. His admission is definitely commendable, and I admire him for it; but it is also kind of sad. .