I’m new to being married, and lately I realized that I had started keeping score in my marriage. A mental tally of all the sacrificial things I do for my husband. For instance- I made dinner AND did the dishes- now he owes me something. Or maybe it’s not that he owes me anything, but that I start thinking of myself as better than him, the one giving more to the relationship.
I think this might be a universal phenomenon in relationships- one or both partners start keeping score of how nice they are to each other, and then they start expecting things in return and resenting the other person for not meeting those expectations.
This kind of thinking is like poison to marriage, or any healthy relationship. It breeds resentment and discontent and ultimately leads to misery, yet it’s so easy to slip into!
What’s the antidote? Well, I think it’s possible to keep score in reverse. I’ve found that focusing on all he does for me, and expressing gratitude for it makes me happier. From the little things like rubbing my feet, cooking dinner, or cleaning up after me in the kitchen, to the big things like working extra hours on his time off to bring in more money or being there for me emotionally- every day he serves me. Every day I have something to be thankful for because of him.
And yes, every day I do things for him too, but it’s not my job to keep track of them. It’s my job to appreciate all he does for me.
Ultimately, marriage is about serving each other. We’re not going above and beyond when we serve each other- we’re just doing what we said we would do on our wedding day. I’m not really doing anything extra special when I serve my husband- I’m just fulfilling my vows. And he’s just fulfilling his, but I can still appreciate all he does for me, and be thankful for it.
Saying thank you is the easiest way I can think of to make yourself and someone else a little bit happier. Trying keeping score in reverse- you might be amazed at all you have to be thankful for.
*Photo Credit Meagan Wanschura