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keeping score in marriageAre you keeping score in your marriage?

If you are, stop!

You might be keeping scores in your head, or written them down on a hidden piece of paper somewhere, or on your phone.

Keeping score in your marriage will not only make you feel miserable and guilty.

It could also be devastating for your marriage.

It will keep you waiting like a Lion, ready to  pounce on your predator (in this case your spouse) for any mistakes he/she makes.

If it was a genuine mistake, and wasn’t a deal breaker kind of thing, then why hold on to it?

Do you want your mistakes to be held over your head?

For you to have a healthy marriage, it’s very important to not keep a list of all the times your spouse messed up.

Does this mean you will never mess up? No, of course not.

We are human beings; we are imperfect, and selfish at times.

You must forgive and let go, because you want your spouse to do the same for you, right?

If this mistake is reoccurring or much bigger, then of course, it needs to be dug a little deeper to find out the root cause.

After identifying the root cause, you must work with your spouse to ensure neither one of you does not repeat the mistake again.

Keeping score with your spouse is actually a form of manipulation.

If you say, “hey you owe me for doing X,” you are trying to guilt your spouse into doing what you want, and that’s not healthy for you or your marriage.

Your spouse is a free independent person who doesn’t HAVE to do what you want. He/she did not marry you for you to become his/her dictator, or parent.

Instead, your spouse made a commitment to spend the rest of his/her life with you; not to end it after getting married.

As a married couple, you should both give without expecting something back.

I realized I would try to get Marcus to go somewhere with me by saying “you never do X,” ” I really want you to go with me and spend time with your wife.”

I honestly didn’t realize that I was trying to play with his emotions to guilt him into going with me.

After I realized I was not respecting his boundaries and actually manipulating him, I paid a lot more attention to the words I used when I wanted him to do something or go somewhere with me.

I changed my attitude, reaction, and words. – Ashley

Another negative thing about keeping score is you are not forgiving your spouse.

Wives, your husband may have forgotten to take out the trash that you asked him to do twice.

Husbands, your wife changed her mind about going with you somewhere because she was too tired.

That is part of life.

We don’t remember everything either, and we can’t always predict how we are going to feel. Do not let them turn into fights or arguments with each other.

We just have to learn to let go, and sometimes cut our spouse some slack.

Keeping score in marriage is harmful and crippling for your marriage.

The reason is simply because you are always trying to one up your spouse. To us, this sounds the opposite of a happy, healthy, and peaceful home.

In order to have a healthy marriage you need to look at yourself and your marriage to make sure you are not keeping score.

By keeping records or scores for your spouse, you will also be wasting your emotional, intellectual and even physical energy.

You will be spending all your energy on something that will not improve or benefit your marriage.

Why not focus this energy on improving your marriage, connecting with your spouse, growing together, and appreciating your spouse?

I used to keep score during the first few months of our marriage. I did it primarily because I was comparing everything I did with what Ashley did.

I thought we should split everything up equally, 50-50, but that should not be the case.

There will be times when I have to do most of the chores at home because Ashley is sick or busy multitasking for our own good.

It’s in these times that I realized keeping score was devastating to our marriage and myself. – Marcus

7 Tips that will help you to not keep score in your marriage.

1. Be very open, honest, and sincere with your spouse about every thing the bothers you.

If your husband or wife does something you are not happy with, just let them know your thoughts. You will be better off telling them than keeping it in your head, or your heart.

2. Learn how to communicate effectively with your spouse in ways he/she will understand clearly.

Communication problems is one of the reasons why some spouse’s keep score in their head.

They know their husband/wife will not listen empathetically to the actions that are bothering them.

By learning how to communicate, you will be in a better position to not keep score.

3. During moments when you are tired and stressed about the actions your spouse did, or something him/her forgot to do, take a break.

Remember, they are not perfect; you can forgive him/her.

4. When you feel you need a helping hand with the chores at home, but your spouse is not helping you in anyway.

Restrain from keeping your thoughts in your head; voice your concerns to hime/her. The earlier you voice your concerns, the better.

5. Stop comparing what you do with what your spouse does. Whether its about the income your bring home, your career, doing the chores, sleeping, tiredness, time spent with the kids etc.

6. It is very easy to keep score, so be very intentional about not keeping score.

7. Stop the blame game. Blaming your spouse, or something else for keeping score is not going to help.

Rather, take responsibility for your actions and work to improve yourself.

Now, think about what will happen if you stop keeping score in your marriage?

If you stop comparing:

  • how tired you are to your spouse,
  • who washed the dishes or got the laundry done,
  • who earns more money,
  • who woke up in the middle of the night to feed your newborn, or
  • who turn it is to watch TV, etc

How will your marriage improve?

Marriage is not a competition between the husband and wife.

Marriage is a team sport, where two unique individuals come together to win together in life.

In a healthy marriage, both spouses should have each other’s good in mind; one spouse does not win while the other loses.

If one of you is winning, so is the other. In the same way, if one of you is losing, the other is as well.

Keeping score of the mistakes your spouse has made is destructive, and should not be entertained by either you or your spouse.

Your turn:

Do you keep score in your marriage?

Or have you kept score in your marriage before? How did it impact your marriage, good or bad?

What is the one thing married couples can do to stop keeping score in marriage?

Image courtesy of Nemo