My Grandfather taught me something rather profound about marriage. He asked me one day what makes a great marriage because he was curious about what my mother was teaching me about men. I said it was a partnership where it takes two people pulling their weight to make it work. He told me that was the wrong mindset. “It’s not a 50/50 thing,” he said. “It more like 100/0. Even if your other half doesn’t do it, you do it. Because you and your husband are ONE.“
Today that advice gets me thinking back to when I was single and living by myself. If there were dirty dishes in the sink…I’d do it. If there was laundry to do…I’d do it. Logging expenses? I’d do it. Anything that needed to get done, I did it because there was only one. I did all the cooking AND all the cleaning.
It takes a lot of personal growth to realize that keeping score is a form of pride. And pride is a killer to any healthy relationship. Pride is the root of all grudges, resentment, bitterness, jealousy and condemnation. Pride blinds us so we can no longer see the good in the person we love. You’ll find yourself saying, “You never make the bed!” and the other will say, “You never clean the bathroom!”
I have no desire to be an adversary with my mate and I refuse to be focused on pride. It’s not healthy and it NEVER solves anything. Instead of focusing on pride, imagine if BOTH husband and wife saw marriage as a partnership where both parties put in their 100/0. No matter what needed to be done, things would get taken care by whomever encountered it. A relationship like that would grow and flourish and the energy would be more positive than negative.
People who keep score often begin this behavior as a way to teach the other partner a lesson. Hurt within the relationship is never just hurt; it turns into wanting to hurt someone else so he/she will suffer and know what it feels like. The problem with that is that we are all sensitive to different things, and what hurts one person looks childish or punitive to another.
Most of the people who do this were raised by parents who kept score. It is an immature coping mechanism of dealing with anger, but, like the silent treatment, it ends up destroying both partners’ feelings of connection and trust.
If you want to erase your desire to keep score, start working as a team. Be kind to each other, prioritize the household tasks, follow through, and remember that changing a bad habit takes at least thirty days. And if you must keep score, keep score of the loving things your partner does each day. This will enable you to see more of them.
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