Are You Keeping Score In Your Relationship?


When we view relationships, especially marriage, as a business partnership that is transactional in nature with someone always keeping score, we encroach on perilous territory.

The Deal

It doesn’t matter what you do, and it doesn’t matter what he or she does, you will always be doing more and giving more in your minds eye. What may in actuality be an even split will always look like 70/30 with you as the one contributing more.

People had warned me well against the pitfall of viewing relationships, especially marriage, as a 50/50 deal and the damaging effects it can have, but I never knew what I never knew.

Admittedly, I am the one guilty of keeping score in our marriage. The scary things is I never realized how much I kept score in all relationships. But when I got married, to put it nicely, it all blew up in my face.

The Dilemma

He never did enough. Period.

  • I took out the trash the last three times.

  • I washed and dried the dishes from last night’s dinner, and the night before, and the night before that.

  • I ran the bank and post office errands the last two times.

  • I folded the last four loads of laundry (which I finally put away in his drawers after all four loads had piled a mile high up on his dresser!)

  • I even called and scheduled his dentist appointment because I knew he would never go otherwise!

Viewing our relationship as he gives 50% and I give 50%, and by keeping track of who was contributing what and how much, began to ruin him.

The mindset I operated from left him feeling like, he never did enough, gave enough, and he that ultimately he wasn’t enough.

Of course I didn’t want or mean to make him to feel like he didn’t do enough or that he wasn’t enough, I just wanted him to help with the dishes and maybe take out the trash every once in awhile!

But viewing our marriage as a 50/50 partnership, like he was the partner not holding up his end of the deal, was not only destructive to our relationship, but incredibly damaging to him.

The Difference: A Covenant vs. A Deal

We made a covenant, not a deal, the day we were married to love, honor, and cherish one another.

He didn’t vow to always take out the trash much like I never vowed to always fold the laundry (thank goodness) in exchange for mutual love and respect.

What I vowed to do was not contingent on him giving at least 50%. What I promised to do, to love, honor, and cherish, I promised to do 100%.

When I would reason that I was giving 70% while he was only contributing 30% (which was never actually the case) it created riff between us that grew wider and wider.

Every time, even subconsciously, that I kept score, it chipped away at the promise I had made to love, honor, and cherish him.

Something Had To give

When the other person makes the first move, it’s easier to budge a little.

If the other party will first give a little, I’m much more willing to lower my standard or expectations, I can accommodate.

But when we quit demanding that the other party contribute more and instead we stop keeping count, something gives way. In the same way that change begins with us, when we make the first move and stop waiting for the other to give, a major shift happens.

The hounding expectations to do more, coupled with nagging complaints cease, and an environment is cultivated where respect is practiced and felt, instead of apprehension.

A major shift occurs when we quit approaching one another like business partners, and instead start engaging in relationship.

A beautiful arena is created where love can grow wildly because we quit harboring resentment and the other, ultimately, feels like they are enough.