Do you feel like your partner is constantly keeping score? Does your spouse often remind you of how you fall short? This is a recurring problem for many of the couples I work with in my practice. What types of things do people keep score about in marriage? Everything! As in, when was the last time you paid bills, balanced the checkbook, took out the garbage, disciplined the children, initiated intimacy, planned a date, told me you loved me, cooked a meal, did laundry, and the list goes on and on. Why do people keep score? Most people keep score in an attempt to make a point, justify their position, and elicit change in their partners. The problem is that this rarely triggers a behavioral change. Scorekeeping is typically tied to frustration, anger, resentment, and a sense of helplessness. In some cases keeping score has more to do with our personality rather than the other person’s behavior. Some of us are competitive types and approval seekers which make us more prone to keep score. Others have limited emotional maturity and lack selflessness. Still others are desperate for a change and lack skills to communicate their needs in a healthier fashion. Whatever the reason for scorekeeping, the bottom line is this approach doesn’t work. I’m not suggesting that there aren’t situations in which you are doing more in the marriage than your spouse, but scorekeeping either overtly or covertly will create more distance and disconnectedness in your relationship. Find out in next week’s blog an alternative approach to scorekeeping.
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