Destruction That’s Good for Marriage
Competition between spouses can be fun, energizing and healthy for the marriage. Keeping score to determine who won at golf, racquetball, scrabble, or a favorite video game makes absolute sense. Keeping score in other areas of marriage does not.
But isn’t that just what we do?
- I’ve taken out the trash the last three times!
- He’s been late for dinner four times this month – all without an apology.
- I’ve gotten up with the baby five times this week and she’s only gotten up twice.
- I’ve had to skip my book club meeting two months in a row to accommodate social plans he made.
- Our best friends have a date night weekly and we only go on a date once a month.
We know that any sentence that starts out with you patting your righteous self on the back while saying: “I’ve told my spouse a thousand time to/not to [fill in blank with what they keep screwing up that you do so well] is designed to show the deficiency of your spouse. But it really shows a couple of things about you: (1) You’re a grudge-holding list-keeper (and possibly a nag) and (2) You either don’t know how to count or you are prone to wild exaggeration. A Thousand? Really??
Comparisons are helpful if you’re trying to decide what model washing machine to buy. But they rarely serve any productive purpose when comparing ourselves to our mate or other marriage relationships to our own – it’s just a way to create and nurture dissatisfaction. And it’s not like keeping score of such things leads to the determination of a winner. As a matter of fact, this type of score-keeping usually results in three losers: you, your spouse and your marriage.
“Destruction” is often thought of as a negative event. But destroying these mental lists we have made will result in a more “we” focused marriage. Here are some lists that you can put on your new Search and Destroy List:
- What spouse did wrong
- What I’ve done right
- How many times I’ve done (whatever) versus how many times spouse has done it
- How many sacrifices I have made versus how many spouse has made
- What other couples do that we don’t do
- What other couples have that we don’t have
Now that you’ve destroyed the old unproductive lists, there’s room for some rebuilding with new marriage-embracing lists. Such as:
- What I appreciate about my spouse
- What I am grateful for in my life
- Ways I can be a better spouse
- Obstacles we have overcome
- People who love us and support us as a couple
Now there’s some scorekeeping that will result in three winners!
WHAT ELSE NEEDS TO BE ADDED TO THE SEARCH and DESTROY LIST?
Related posts you may find of interest: Shrew-B-Gone; Excuse Me While I Interrupt; Introverted But Not Shy – Does Your Mate Need Space?