The best way to cause conflict and create resentment between two people is to try and keep score. That is seen often within families between siblings and also, in some cases, between a husband and wife.
The scenarios for marriage sometime play out this way: “I took Jane to basketball practice last week so it’s your turn to take her this week.” “I’m not mowing the lawn. That is your responsibility. I have too many chores to do inside the house to worry about taking over your outside chores also.” “Why isn’t the oil changed in my car? I’ve been telling you about it for months now. Pretty soon the whole engine is going to seize up and then we will have to buy another car, something we can’t afford.” “It’s not time for you to get a new phone. Yours works fine. Besides, it’s my turn. The last thing we bought was your new iPod Touch. I want the new Kindle.”
John 15:13 tells us this: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” In order to maintain true happiness in marriage, both partners need to keep this principle in mind. Even though the world tells us to think about ourselves first and others second, God instructs us to do just the opposite. It is only when we put other’s needs before our own that we are truly happy.
Is this always easy to put into practice? Does the husband who has had a long week at work really want to get up early and take his daughter to basketball practice, again, instead of sleeping in and relaxing? Does the wife, who is busy with cleaning and laundry, truly want to take care of mowing the lawn because it needs to be done and her husband is not available to complete the chore? Does the husband want to remember to schedule time to either change the oil himself or arrange to get it done somewhere else? And does the wife really want to sacrifice her wants and her pleasure in order to allow her husband something he has been looking forward to?
The honest answer is not always. But that, also, is part of the sacrificial aspect explained above. When only one partner is sacrificing and the other is continually taking, the marriage still remains out of balance. It is only when both husband and wife continue to show sacrificial love to each other, that true union exists and balance is achieved. And what an amazing example to demonstrate to your children, who probably are continuing to fight amongst themselves over whose turn it is to take out the garbage this week.
Keeping score does not just happen at home. What about when driving down the road, at your job, or with your friends?
What is one thing you can do in your marriage, or another relationship, to quit keeping score and demonstrate love instead?