Keeping Score in Marriage


It can be so hard in marriage to not keep score. They tell you this is one of the keys to a great marriage, but who are we kidding when the skin is on it. Even if you wake up that morning on a level playing field, with no record of wrongs- who is to say what ways you might feel disrespected or taken advantage of even before 7:30am. This morning I opened the refrigerator to find that my husband didn't prepare lunch-boxes for the two bigs. Ugh. Initially this just means that I need to dice up some fruits and veggies, toast up some waffles and throw a beef and cheese stick in there. But of course the containers are sitting dirty in the dishwasher, and of course I did not account for all of this extra time. 

It does not take much in the stress of 4 kids for anger to boil over and the mind to fixate on the husband- and the selfishness, and the dropping-the-ball. I send rhetorical text messages in between running around and yelling at my kids. This is my reality. I ping-pong between loving, zen, Jesus-wife, and angry, frazzled, stress-monster. This is my life and thank God my husband is mostly gracious and very understanding these days.

He apologizes, but the point is this:

You would not forget these tasks for your boss. You left and either forgot (inexcusable). Or didn't want to be s few minutes later than your 15-minutes-early for work (inexcusable). 

I read an article a few months ago about a Mom who gave up "asking" her husband to help (as if he were doing her a favor by contributing time and energy to their home and kids). Instead, she started saying things like, "Move your s**t out of the way", and started placing all of his s**t on his bed, or in his personal spaces.

Why does this idea sound so appealing at times? This was exactly the concept I was thinking of when I was texting my husband this morning. One of my texts literally said:

"I don't mind helping you out once in a while if you are overwhelmed and can't get everything done, just ask."

Some of you ladies know the exact message and tone I was going for. But then, there. is. this: There is Christ. Christ waiting to get to know me more and change me more. A time with him that I neglected AGAIN this morning for an extra 20 mins in bed- and I will squeeze in later when the boys nap. I'm so sorry. I'm sorry that I have not let you consistently change the tone of my mornings in this home. That I am overwhelmed and broken, but you could have helped me so much in that intimate way that only you can. I'm sorry that I'm exactly like my husband.

After my initial smugness, on my way to something better, I had sent him another text:

"Ok, I'm sorry again. I know that our marriage is suppose to be based on relationship and not rules. I just wish we could feel like more of a team. It just never feels like we're on the same page with things, and the more we take on the more we are going in different directions."

Oh ouch, my heart. This is what I am doing to you, Lord. Not staying intimately and truly and consistently connected. Going my own direction and squeezing you in when I can. I hate when my husband does this to me. I hate it because we all can tell that no matter what someone is telling us we are, we are not priority. God knows this too. And I'm so sorry, Lord. I have not really, REALLY made you first. Responsibilities, stressors, 20 extra minutes of sleep have all come first. 

So to bring this full circle, no, we do not keep score in marriage. We call and apologize, and recommit to getting it right. And I pray that you can humble yourself enough to even say: "Will you forgive me?"

And if you can't, still go to your quiet space- push your face to the floor or into your pillow, and ask for God's GRACE to keep working in your life. Or gather up those babies and do it right now in your living room. This is what I am about to do. Help us, Jesus!

Not keeping score is not born of resolve or will power. It comes after the knee is bent and the humble heart realizes how much GRACE she needs herself. Let us give and love and extend grace to our spouse- in the same not-keeping-score way that Jesus does. I dare you to open your mouth and say to him:

"It's okay. God has so much grace for us- and we need to have that for each other. I forgive you."

SUCH power and freedom in grace and forgiveness. 

Ephesians 4:26


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