Newlywed Lessons Learned: Don't Keep Score

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“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-6

You’re not supposed to do it.

According to marriage books and the Bible, love keeps no accounting of who did the dishes last, who plans the meals, or who has the longer commute (1 Cor. 13:5). Still, in the first months of marriage I continually struggled not to mentally keep track of these things and feel personally offended when chores weren’t done, even though I had clearly won the imaginary game and had more points.

And then I got sick. Evidently, camping in twenty-degree weather after you’ve been nursing an earache and low fever for a month is not a recipe for health. I lay helpless on the couch, coughing, hot and cold, feverish and peevish. My husband Luke—wiser and better at listening to marriage books, the Bible, and marriage vows—took care of me and the house, made dinner, and deep-cleaned the kitchen.

Keeping score is only fun when you think you’re ahead.

All of a sudden, I didn’t want to keep score anymore. I realized I not only wasn’t in the lead, but I was losing points rapidly. Keeping score is only fun when you think you’re ahead.

As merciful and kind as Luke was in my hour of need, God is immeasurably more so in our lifetime of inadequacy. Yet, I still ask him why he hasn’t delivered on certain things I believe I deserve. I am confused when I don’t see things in my life unfolding the way I imagined, the way I planned, the way I worked to achieve. Why do I feel this way? I’m keeping score because I think I’m ahead and God owes me something.

The only thing I’ve earned from God is a cup of wrath and suffering. Yet He dumped out that cup on my behalf at the cross to save me from myself and my sin. That would be enough. But God continues to amaze me as he takes that cup, now empty of wrath, and fills it with blessings beyond belief: a husband who doesn’t keep score, an apartment, family, good food, friends, a fairy garden, Costco ice cream, warm bread, and sunny walks.

So, I’ve put away my scorecard for good. In that game, winning is losing.

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