How many of you couples out there are keeping score in your relationship? By a show of (digital) hands… who has said, either internally or out loud something like, “I did this, this, and this… so she should have to do that?” *raises hand* I know I am guilty… and I can bet that most other people are as well. Well I’m here to tell you, that keeping score is not a healthy behavior in relationships, and if you are doing it you should stop immediately!
If you are keeping score, in any format, you are basically implying two things. One, is that there is a winner and two, that there is loser. Can you see how this behavior could turn destructive very quickly? “I did the dishes, I did the laundry, and I cleaned the living room. She basically did nothing.” Keeping score can quickly turn to resentment and resentment can turn to anger, which can result in fighting or worse.
In Ephesians 5:21-29 it says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church…”
What I gain from that passage is that we should be fully committed and fully submitted to our spouse. We should serve willingly and without thought as to who is doing what and when. It isn’t our job to keep track. This is to be done out of love for one another. There is a parallel in this chapter of a husband and wife being compared to Jesus and the church. He sacrificed everything for us… and let me tell you something, I am glad he isn’t keeping my score.
Marriage is hard enough without the added weight of keeping track of what your spouse is or isn’t doing all the time. It is always important to be selfless in your service to your spouse. Amanda and I don’t keep score. We both work hard, and we both give each other as much of ourselves as we can. Though we participate in this, the selfish urge to try and keep score does pop up in my head from time to time, so below are some things I do to avoid this marriage pitfall.
• When I start to dwell to hard on the things I am doing while she isn’t doing something, I will often try and make sure she is ok. I want to make sure nothing is bothering her and making her feel slightly depressed or un-motivated. What if something is making her sad, and I am just frustrated that she is just sitting there while I am working.
• When I think that there may be an unbalance in the force (Star Wars reference FTW), I will try to really gain perspective on the issue. I will attempt to separate myself from the situation and think about what is actually going on objectively. Maybe I am being short-sighted? Perhaps I am just being selfish? A few hours of trying to think about all the wonderful things your spouse does for you is good for anybody. You should try it anyway.
• Pray about it. Kind of a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to just ignore God in these situations… God wants to help you and your marriage in EVERY situation. I feel like I am constantly guilty of this… it’s like God’s standing there wanting to help and I say, “nah it’s good… you’re busy, so I got this one.”
• When there is an unbalance and you need to talk it out… don’t do it in anger. Make sure you aren’t exploding when you tell your spouse that you think there is something they need to work on… it will NOT go well for you. Be calm, have a discussion and come to a resolution. Fighting rarely solves anything, so grow together by being adults and having a conversation about a solution for your marriage.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?
In His Love,