Keeping score

I’ve noticed this a lot lately, and maybe it’s because I know now much more than I used to, that life is a constant battle, but we’re often in situations that seem to conclude in winning or losing.

I have a theory that one of the keys to a successful marriage is not ‘keeping score.’ I could sit and make a very long list of all that I do. My husband could do the same. And if we sat down and compared those lists, all we would end up with would be a list of trivialities, hurt feelings, and a probably some mutual disrespect and lack of appreciation for one another.

Because relationships are not about what you do for the other person. Yes, they require a wh0le lot of compromise and sacrifice, but to me, they are more about working toward a common goal, supporting one another through triumphs and tragedy, and having a companion to share the beauty of this existence.

So, I have made a conscious effort not to keep score. And it’s terribly hard. I’ve realized I think a lot about how much I do, how much I give, the tasks on my plate, what doesn’t get accomplished if I choose to ignore it, and why I shouldn’t have to handle certain things. And this translates into so many other aspects of my life and relationships.

I’ve noticed a constant scorekeeping in those around me. I overhear conversations where two people are comparing how one’s day had to be worse than the other’s. One person’s to-do list is pages longer than the other’s. One’s ex-husband is much more a monster than the other’s. One worked ten more hours that week than another. Someone always does more, has it worse, is scoring higher in this impossible game we call life.

I don’t know if this trend is a lack of empathy, a chronic sense of entitlement, or people just not caring anymore about anything but themselves. But I think there’s a message here. If we are good people, who work to have solid, healthy, mutual relationships, we are winning. Period.

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