I haven’t posted in a while. Don’t judge me. I’m trying.
Here’s a scenario that is very familiar around our house, and very likely, yours too.
A conversation begins with a spouse about recent activities, and the comparison process begins. They tell you something overly simple that they did today, you explain the project that took you half the day to complete. Seeing as they live a “far-easier-than-yours” lifestyle, you mention the task that you thought worthy of their endless free-time hours. Big surprise, disappointment. You make sure to note each activity that you accomplished that contributed to the family, especially those that were less enjoyable, noting sacrifice. By the end of it, one of you is saying those inevitable words that we’ve all thought of at one time or another…
I have to do everything!
In our over 7 years of marriage, Hillary and I have had our share of these interactions. I would venture to say that most couples have. Even without a significant other, these feelings can creep into any relationship; with a coworker, close friend, roommate or anyone whom we share some responsibility with. We like things to be fair, and we weigh out the comparison, and we end up with the heavy burden each time. At its core, this is nothing but the essence of what sin begins as: pride. It leads to entitlement, suspicion, distrust, and divides a relationship without even sharing a word.
So, in order to combat this, we’ve decided that keeping score is actually NOT the problem. We should be aware of what’s going on in our family. The issue is what we’re keeping score of. Instead, we are committing to keeping score of all of the amazing things that the other has done today to keep our family a healthy priority. Here’s some examples of different ways to look at a day…
Wrongly Keeping Score
- You didn’t finish the laundry
- I had to get up earlier than you
- You forgot to set the DVR
- I still had work to do when I got home
Healthy Keeping Score
- You got a load of laundry into the washing machine
- You were able to rest from all that you do everyday for our family
- We got more time tonight to talk to each other about our days
- You spent time with our children and loved on them all day
It may sound corny, but it really has worked for us. When I remember that Hillary sacrifices 13 hours on the days that she works, that she doesn’t get to spend that time with our daughter, and she’s on her feet, making a lot more money than I do so we can have our home, its harder to be mad that she forgot to get milk on the way home. Those little things don’t matter anymore. When I think about that, I appreciate her so much more. I don’t feel the need to tell her about what I did today, because she’s pointing them out to me instead. And I always feel in debt to her for what she did today, instead of the other way around. I look forward to coming home to thank her for staying home with our daughter and letting me do what I love to do at MCC with our student ministry. I realize her sacrifice in dealing with a toddler all day, and want to give her a break when I have the chance.
What about you? Who are you keeping score with? How can you acknowledge all that they have contributed today, instead of tooting your own horn instead? Where can you drop some pride and instead, be appreciative of someone else’s sacrifice?