How “Keeping Score” With My Husband Almost Destroyed My Marriage

Marriage is hard. Ill be the first to admit all those years of examining relationships in graduate school gave me a wealth of knowledge about how to have a successful marriage, but living that knowledge is an entirely different story. My marriage is a constant work in progressemphasis on work.

My husband and I work really hard at practising love . Loving each other well takes endless practice; we can both be very selfish people. Most people have a natural propensity toward self-preservation, which is why relationships are so difficult. We are wired to take care of ourselves first; its natural instinct. Often, taking care of ourselves comes at the cost of others. Having a loving relationship with someone, especially a spouse, is a constant practice of putting the other persons needs ahead of your own, which can be quite uncomfortable.

I love my husband, but some days I love myself more. Days when Im busy loving myself, expectations of how he should be treating me and what I suppose I deserve start to creep into my believes. Instead of greeting the day with an attitude of service, go looking for ways in which I can be helpful to him, I satisfy the day with a listing of selfish passions and an attitude of entitlement. With the latter, I am unavoidably setting myself up for disappointment, fury and resentment.

When we had our first infant, it became painfully obvious to me how often I lived with a sense of entitlement and a list of expectations. The wonderful world of parenting and by wonderful I entail crazy hard, insanely frustrating, yet most amazingbrought with it a rating card I tucked away in my brain. Each time I sacrificed myself for the good of my family, I made a mental note. My husband now owed me.

I got up last night, so he should be the one to wake up with the newborn tonight . I built dinner yesterday, why isnt he offering to construct dinner today ? He went golfing last weekend; Its my turn to do something fun .

The more I kept score, the more resentful I became. My own indignation and self pity were taking away the pleasure of parenting, precious moments with my newborn baby. My husband and I were scarcely speaking; and when we did talk to each other, it quickly was transformed into a fight. We both spent so much period maintaining rating, throwing our sacrificial deeds in one another faces and demanding our expectations be met that we were missing out on having a relationship. We were missing out on enjoying the beautiful newborn we had created together. Our family was falling apart, and we were to blame.

Rebuilding our relationship took time, attempt and patience. We didnt shred the score cards right away, but we were so desperate to let go of the thick wall of fury between us that “were in” willing to work. And we worked hard.

We learned to let go of expectations by asking ourselves each morning, How can I be of service to my spouse today? This simple guessed changed my entire perspective. Instead of looking at him with a critical eye and judging him for what he did or did not do for me, I was able to look at him with love. Pure, genuine, altruistic love.

We now have three children and a pretty hectic life. We both spread ourselves very thin trying to be the best parents and spouses we can be. We are by no means perfect at it. Sometimes, the score cards come out. Our marriage ebbs and flowings, but we are committing to a lifetime of continuous practicepractice that includes letting run of expectations so we can be of service.

Love through service is a pretty great route to love.

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