You Can’t Keep Score in Your Marriage

Marriage is hard. It can be tricky figuring out how to function as a unit, especially after kids are born. Anyone who is a parent knows that kids can be all-consuming. My husband and I try to split the duties pretty evenly, but in trying to be so fair and equal about everything we ended up keeping score a lot, and that’s not good either.

“I changed the last diaper, you do this one!” 

“It’s your turn to get up with the baby.”

“I slept four hours last night, you slept five!”

Our whole marriage was turning into nothing but keeping each other in check. It was silly, and honestly, resentment was starting to rear its ugly head.

Sometimes he would leave to work in the morning and I would notice that he forgot to take out the trash…again. Or I would notice that I had been the one to change most of the diapers that day. I would take a mental note and make sure he heard about it later. “It’s not fair!” I would cry. But I mean, who am I? A tantrum-throwing toddler?

I think it’s great the way society has changed. Men are much more likely to be full participants in the rearing of children and keeping of the home. Gone are the days when women did most, if not all, of the housework. The men of today are in the trenches with their partners. And my husband is as much of a modern man as one could be. But in my quest to MAKE SURE we were a modern couple, and not archaic or backwards, I was being too militant. Keeping score is for playing fields, not marriages. It was causing more stress to keep score than it was to just pick up the slack when it needed to be picked up.

There have been times in our relationship where my husband has had to do most of the housework. Last year I was pregnant and exhausted. I would spend any spare moment I could laying in bed shoveling food in my mouth and slipping in and out of sleep. My husband was amazing and made sure our kids were taken care of and the house wasn’t a wreck. He was definitely doing more than his fair share. And then last summer, my husband had to do quite a bit of traveling for work. During that time I found myself doing it all because I had to. Obviously we couldn’t divvy up chores when he was out of the country. During each of these seasons in our marriage the household duties were far from equal. Had we been keeping score it never would have balanced out.

While my husband and I still strive to keep things as equal as possible in our marriage, we have come to realize that sometimes one of us will have to pick up the slack for the other. Instead of fighting over whose turn it is to take the trash out or fold the laundry, we just do it. If we see a household task that needs to get done, we get it done. There’s no use in having a squabble over whose turn it is. There is a lot more peace and harmony in our home when we just give each other the benefit of the doubt (maybe he’s tired, maybe she had a hard day) and serve each other rather than always seeking to be served.

Keeping score is for refs and umpires, not husbands and wives. Doing so will only stir up bitterness and resentment. Instead, make sure you’re doing your part and have grace for your spouse.