Tag Archives: wedding

Marriage: Why It’s No Good to Keep Score

This piece originally appeared on The Grit and Grace Project.

My husband has one big rule for our marriage. Babe, if you’re reading this, I know you’d say it’s not a rule – perhaps more of a guideline. But for me, it’s a rule. If I don’t follow it, I go down an extremely unhealthy path, and I know it. So here’s the best “rule” or “guideline” I’ve ever heard for a husband-wife relationship: Don’t keep score.

You might begin explaining this by saying that any healthy relationship can’t be seen as a game. The only reason you’d keep score is if it’s a game of some sort, and if you’re serious about it, you’d better not call it a game. Right? You might follow up with the fact that keeping a record of rights or wrongs is just not a good idea. Let’s ask a few questions about this concept… because I think it’s important.

If you happen to “win”, what are you actually winning? The game of who does more laundry? Or who gives more meaningful compliments? Is that a worthwhile competition? Why or why not? (I’m guessing it’s why not.)

What’s your “winner’s” criteria? Who was the last one to load the dishwasher? Maybe he had a lot on his mind from a tough day at work, or he gets tired of you re-loading it when he’s done. Or is the criteria which one of you usually texts the other one first? All that leads to is fear of not being loved enough, or inaccurately thinking that you love the other person more, just because you send more messages.

What’s the prize? Getting to taunt your other half about how you changed more diapers this week? Or likely being shunned because you’re on your high horse about how you always clean the toilets? That’s not a very good prize.

What if we shifted our thinking to loving our spouses as well as we can, as often as we can? Instead of waiting around to receive love in the way that we’re expecting, maybe we should consider showing them love in the best way we know how, whatever that is. It’s always a good idea to know how your spouse best receives love from you, and how you best receive love from them. Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages is a great place to start if you don’t know each other’s “love languages”. Taking the initiative to show love first, no matter the circumstances, can’t end poorly. Being the first to say, “I love you!” when communication is hard, or the first to forgive after an argument might feel like a submission, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Usually, it shows that you’re willing to work and sacrifice to strive for health in the relationship. That’s what marriage is: work and sacrifice. Love comes first, and is quickly followed by commitment – often a “head” matter rather than a “heart” one. You keep choosing love over fear or anger or hurt feelings every single day.

There are always possible scenarios where we need to have a sit-down about issues that don’t seem to be resolving themselves. There are always times that bringing our feelings calmly to the table is the only way to move on from a hard season. But if we stop keeping score, stop trying to play a game of little chores completed and well-meaning jabs delivered, those bigger issues might just stay away longer. Being the first one to show love, forgive and forget might make your spouse feel more comfortable doing the same.

Wifely Bragging Rights

A friend of mine posted in a Facebook group recently that she had heard too much recently about wives/moms/girlfriends doing some man-bashing. She suggested that women collectively take a few minutes to brag on their fellas. Naturally, being married to the best fella in the world, I figured I’d jump on in there!

This one is from the St. Patrick's party last weekend!
This one is from the St. Patrick’s party last weekend!

Y’all, my Hubby is a rockstar. I mean that literally and figuratively. He literally is the front man (a sexy one) in a band that plays and writes awesome music all the time. That makes him a rockstar. He’s also the most loving, patient, and hilarious husband and father I could ask to have a family with. He’s encouraging, challenging (in a good way), exciting, caring, and a hundred other things I would never have time to list, much less explain. In short, love of my life. Big time.

Photo Cred. to my incredible wedding photographer, Eleise Theuer. She is the bomb, y'all.
Photo Cred. to my incredible wedding photographer, Eleise Theuer. She is the bomb, y’all.

One of my favorite things about him is that he is fun. He can take a boring situation and make it awesome. He can cheer up a hormonal pregnant woman, a tired toddler, or a cranky baby. He can make you laugh while you’re crying. He can make you forget all your troubles, at least for a minute. He’s the best.

Hubby's brother snapped this one when we were in the reception band at his cousin's wedding last summer!
Hubby’s brother snapped this one when we were in the reception band at his cousin’s wedding last summer!

I often find myself watching something (like the Bachelor) or talking to a single girlfriend about a terrible date, and thinking “I’m so glad I’m married.” I mean that on the surface level, in an I-will-never-have-to-go-on-a-first-date way, and also a deeper way – I know I’m married to the best man in the world, and I’d never choose another path. I keep hearing Taylor Swift’s lyrics in Blank Space, “Boys only want love if its torture…” and thinking of all the women I know that have found that to be true. Then I think about how I will never again experience torture, or even unhappiness in my love life.

Also, he is the most incredible, totally competent, loving, nurturing dad I’ve ever seen. He kept EK and then J as well for two years while I taught full time. I never worried for one minute that they’d be anything but perfectly cared for. He is an amazing cook, and is always able to please the picky eaters – and his wife! He is an awesome photographer, and getting better every day. Here’s a sample of his magic:

EK in my mother-in-law's magical backyard.
EK in my mother-in-law’s magical backyard.

I’d never be able to say everything I want to and could possibly brag on him about, so I suppose I’ll spare you a full-on rant. But he truly is the most wonderful Hubby ever. I love him from the top of his head to the tips of his toes. I love him on his good days and his bad (though there aren’t many of those). I’m the most blessed woman on the planet. Really. I love you, babe.