Early in my marriage, when it came to keeping score of my husband’s wrongs, I was queen of the scorecard.
He said something that offended me. Add one point.
He ignored me when I asked him to do the dishes. Add another point.
His birthday gift to me wasn’t as thoughtful as I felt it should have been. Add five more points!
You get the drift.
But why was I taking and keeping all these mental notes about my man’s flaws and shortcomings? In retrospect, I am not entirely sure why. My reason was a combination of pride, self-righteousness, and my unwillingness to relinquish the shots of petty I kept locked and loaded for our intense times of fellowship (i.e. arguments).
Also, honestly, the hurt I suffered in past relationships made me feel justified in hoarding these bad facts in preparation for a “just in case he is like the rest of them” scenario. First, holding on to that scenario was absolutely no good for my marriage (and yours either). Second, the facts were bad because those simple instances of imperfection were not reflective of my husband’s authentically beautiful character as a human and man (and likely, yours either).
1 Corinthians 13:4 reminds us that love does not keep score of the sins of others or, put another way, love keeps no record of being wronged. (Disclaimer here: certain wrongdoings may be serious, harmful, and indicative of deeper issues, in which case, seek professional help.) I know, the daily cleaning of your partner’s slate feels counterintuitive, and tossing the record book will take courage, trust, and practice. Lots of practice. But it is necessary and worth it. Plus, when you think about it practically, keeping score is silly and counterproductive when you two are on the same team, and yes, to be cliché, teamwork does make the dream work.
Strong, healthy relationships and marriages are built on that God-kind-of-love, the kind of love that abandons scorekeeping, forgives often and extends grace at every turn. And thank God because if you are like me, after a closer look at the scorecard of your wrongs your partner could keep, you humbly realize that you need that grace-without-grudge love most of all.