Sunday, June 23, 2013

10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Marriage–#8. Don’t Keep Score

Marriage Tip #8

Today’s marriage advice can work on two fronts.

The first one is…

#8. don’t keep score with your spouse

Come on! We ALL do it! Allow me to provide just a few examples to see if any hit home for you.

Example #1: It’s TOTALLY his turn to change the poopy diaper! I’ve changed the last 9 stink bombs!

And simply for your laughable entertainment while we’re on the topic…

Example #2: I’ve planned the last like 8 (insert your personal beef here…dates, anniversaries, Valentine’s Days, etc.), when are they gonna step it up and actually plan something?!

Example #3: He didn’t do anything for Mother’s Day, why do I feel obligated to do something for him for Father’s Day?

Example #4: I’ve been cooking and cleaning all day, can’t he at least do the dishes?

Example #5: She’s gotten her nails done, gone on a girl’s night, been to book club, and had coffee with a friend, shouldn’t I be able to go hunting or golfing?

NOW….do you admit to keeping score occasionally? Like I said, we’ve ALL done it! Heck, we even do it in friendships sometimes too. Well, let’s look at the reason why we shouldn’t keep score.

In a marriage, we vow to love and cherish ‘til death do us part, for better or worse. So while we might FEEL like that 10th diaper stink bomb is going to be the death of us, it’s really not. And while we might FEEL like it’s “for worse” if your spouse hasn’t planned anything special, chances are, it’s not as bad as it feels.

I don’t mean for you to be a doormat and let your spouse walk all over you (see marriage tip #9: speak your truth – there’s no reason you can’t talk to your spouse about planning something special, or doing the dishes, or getting a much needed night out), but essentially, let as many things go as possible. Sacrifice for your spouse as often as you can. Chances are, it will inspire them to follow suit. It will not happen overnight, but after awhile IF you keep it up, they will begin to soften and your marriage will mature. And even if it takes awhile, you’re not keeping score, so you won’t notice the imbalance as much in the meantime.

I obviously can’t speak to everybody’s marriage experience, every marriage is different and has its own struggles. That’s where perspective #2 comes into play.

#8a. don’t keep score with other marriages

Again, I think we’ve all been guilty of doing this.

Example #1: Man, they go on date nights like once a week! How come we can’t manage to do that?!

Example #2: He does all kinds of romantic things for her, brings home flowers, writes sweet letters, how come my hubby doesn’t do any of those things?

Example #3: They never seem to argue. How come it feels like we argue almost every day?!

Example #4: Her husband is so flexible! I feel like my man is so controlling.

Example #5: She keeps such a clean house, why can’t my wife follow suit?

Every person has their own background/upbringing/personality, etc. that defines them and their marriage. While admiring other people’s lives from afar might seem appealing, if you were to swap places, you might be totally miserable and discover all kinds of things you never would’ve guessed were involved in their relationship. And what works for others might not work for you in your own marriage. And that’s okay.

My husband isn’t terribly romantic (sorry hun, but we both know it’s true). But then again, I’m not one of those girly girls who desires to “be romanced”. I don’t want flowers, I’d just kill them. While written sentiments are sweet, it seems a bit too “schmoopy” for me. It’s not that I wouldn’t appreciate my husband’s efforts, but there are ways that I would rather see him express his affection for me. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t occasionally see another couple who is incredibly romantic and desire that for myself.

Per my husband…(I’ve been reading each one of these to him before posting, partially to make sure it doesn’t offend him, but also because he’s incredibly wise {in MOST instances} and I want to be sure I’m sharing wise, pertinent advice)…another area to avoid comparison is regarding past relationships. You may have dated a laundry list of people before finally getting married (or had a previous marriage). Don’t allow fond memories of those previous relationships to influence your current relationship and your perception of your spouse, because alas, you have chosen your current spouse for MARRIAGE (remember, ‘til death do us part?)! So stop comparing him/her to any old significant others!

So, if I just stay away from “keeping score” with other couples, I’ll be much more content within the boundaries of my own marriage. Instead, I’ll appreciate that…

  • My husband works hard to provide for our family – and changes lives in doing so.
  • My husband and I are equally content snuggling up together on the couch to watch a TV series as we would be going out on weekly date nights.
  • Our sense of humor keeps us laughing daily, and we love one another’s company!

I could go on and on…but instead I’ll wrap it up.

You made the commitment to your marriage and you need to fight for your marriage. By sacrificing daily, even in the little things, you will give your marriage a fighting chance. So let things go, and stop keeping score!

And one last-ditch effort to help this tip stick in your head. Let’s take a look at that scoreboard again…

Marriage Tip #8

Not only does it have the score, but fouls, too. So before you get all high and mighty on your spouse for uneven scores, consider that you might have committed some fouls and may not be worthy to judge in the first place. Winking smile

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