Keeping Score the Right Way

by: Tia Sorensen

Quote: Let’s move forward with a story of my embarrassment, the panic it caused, and the happy ending that left me realizing I was keeping score the wrong way in my marriage.

You have probably figured out by now that I like to speak from personal experience. That means I’m not painted in the best light all of the time, but you know what, if more than one person can learn from my mistakes, then why not?

So let’s move forward with a story of my embarrassment, the panic it caused, and the happy ending that left me realizing I was keeping score the wrong way in my marriage.

I have this stubborn streak. I have no idea where it came from (my mom). It must be something I learned in school (my grandpa). Or maybe it developed magically (my grandma). We’ll solve the mystery of where it came from later. I will give myself some credit by saying I have gotten a lot better at acknowledging when my stubbornness gets in the way of my happiness. It’s a long road though and I’m just happy I have a husband, Jake, who continues to help me learn.

Jake is in school and works full-time right now. He has a lot on his plate and so do I. I work full-time, teach fitness part-time, and run my own fitness coaching business. Not to mention we have the cutest puppy on the face of the planet. She was a rescue, so we’re not completely sure of her history, but we’re told she’s part Chihuahua, Boston Terrier, and Poodle. It’s freaking adorable. Due to our busy schedules and play time with our puppy, Minnie, things tend to pile up. Dishes, laundry, etc.

A couple of weeks ago I decided I just wasn’t going to let us get behind on household chores anymore. It causes too much stress, and things run so much more smoothly when I don’t have to remember which pile of laundry is the clean one. So I set out on a mission to stay on top of it. Jake should have just read my mind and understood what I was doing when the house was all of a sudden spotless, right? Well, that’s what I must have thought when I failed to tell him about my productive plan.

I would come face-to-face with an empty carton of almond milk sitting out instead of in the garbage. I would see a pair of socks sitting at the foot of the bed instead of in the laundry basket. Hindsight tells us the mature thing would be to say, “Hey, honey? Let’s try and stay on top of the chores so we don’t have to spend our weekend frantically cleaning everything, ok?” And he would say, “No problem! Sounds awesome.” Well, remember that stubborn streak I was talking about? Here’s where it comes in.

I decided to conduct an experiment. We had just run out of laundry detergent so the empty bottle was sitting inside of the box that the new detergent came in. It was obviously garbage and instead of taking it out to the dumpster, I wanted to see how long it would sit in front of the door before it would go out. One day, two days, three days… Every time I looked at it, it made me angry. If I had just asked Jake to take it out or taken it out myself, I could have created a better mood.

On the fourth day I came home for lunch to let Minnie out of her kennel as usual. She played around while I made lunch and checked on some emails. After an hour I went to return her to the kennel and noticed she had thrown up all over her toys. I wondered what could possibly make her throw up. I replaced her bedding and toys, got her comfortable and went to walk out the door. As I got to the door I saw the empty laundry detergent bottle sitting by the door with lots of old soap that had dripped down from the nozzle. Total. Panic. Had I Just poisoned my dog? Had she eaten some while I wasn’t looking and now she was going to die and it was all because of my stubbornness and unwillingness to compromise?

Let me spare you the suspense and say, it wasn’t the soap. She had just eaten something that had disagreed with her stomach, but I didn’t come to that conclusion until the most stressful fifteen minutes of my life doing an internet search for signs of laundry detergent poisoning and making sure no other symptoms were present. We were in the clear.

So, here is my point. Stop keeping score on the things your spouse is not doing and start keeping score on what you’re doing to contribute. Give yourself a good score for going above and beyond to make life better for each other. It will trade off. Sometimes you’ll do more, sometimes they’ll do more. That’s how life is. Just relax and stop using that stubborn streak as an excuse.

Tia is a graduate of Utah Valley University class of 2012 with a degree in Behavioral Science. She is a group fitness instructor, and health and fitness coach. Together, Tia and her mother, a former news anchor, have developed marriage and relationship programs. She has a vested interest in working with children of divorce due to her own experience as a child of divorce. Tia is instrumental in helping children learn tools they need to build healthy relationships, loving, and respectful marriages once they've moved into adulthood. She is a contributing expert for HopeAfterDivorce.org, DivorceSupportCenter.com, FamilyShare.com, and LAFamily.com. You can follow Tia's relationship blog at http://www.janeenandtia.blogspot.com.


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