27 Jan

In the pursuit of a harmonious and balanced marriage, many couples strive for equality in all aspects of their relationship. The idea of sharing responsibilities equally seems like a fair and just approach.

However, it you look at couples that try to keep score and keep things equal in marriage, it becomes evident that the pursuit of absolute equality in marriage can lead to unintended consequences, fostering resentment, selfishness, and a myriad of other issues.

We must admit, earlier in our marriage we tried to keep score and keep things equal thinking “that will make things fair” but were we wrong! We quickly saw the devastating consequences of it. For example, couples often have different responsibilities and obligations throughout the day, and different demands, so naturally things are gong to be different.

We were introduced to a book called The 80/80 Marriage which completely changed our mindset and our marriage. We would highly recommend this book which you can find HERE.

Now let’s explore why trying to keep things equal in marriage often creates more problems than solutions.

The Scorekeeping Syndrome

One of the main pitfalls of aiming for equality in marriage is the emergence of the scorekeeping syndrome. When couples constantly tally up each other’s contributions, whether it’s in household chores, financial responsibilities, or emotional support, they inadvertently set the stage for a competitive dynamic. This constant scorekeeping can create a toxic environment, where spouses feel the need to one-up each other, leading to a sense of rivalry rather than partnership.

The other thing that happens is the score is always changing so nothing is ever going to be “fair” so to speak. You get more focused on what’s fair and less focused on your relationship and connecting as a couple.

Resentment and Frustration

As couples become entrenched in the scorekeeping mindset, it’s easy for resentment to rear its ugly head. When one spouse perceives an imbalance, real or imagined, it can breed frustration and disappointment. Over time, this resentment can erode the foundation of trust and love in the relationship, creating emotional distance between spouses. The very pursuit of equality becomes a source of discontent.

Selfishness Takes Center Stage

In the quest for equality, individuals may inadvertently become more focused on their own needs and contributions. The fear of being taken advantage of or not receiving their fair share can lead to a mindset of self-preservation.

This shift towards selfishness can undermine the collaborative nature of marriage, as each spouse becomes more concerned with ensuring their own needs are met rather than fostering mutual understanding and compromise.

One of the things that brings the most happiness in life to people is serving others. When you are keeping score, it makes it hard to serve your spouse.

The Illusion of Perfect Balance

The reality is that achieving perfect equality in marriage is an elusive goal. Life is unpredictable, and circumstances change. Attempting to keep everything perfectly balanced can create an unrealistic expectation that may set couples up for disappointment. Instead of embracing the ebb and flow of life together, couples may find themselves in a constant struggle to maintain an equilibrium that is unattainable.

A Better Approach

Embracing Partnership over Equality

Rather than fixating on equality, a healthier approach to marriage involves embracing the concept of partnership. In a true partnership, each spouse recognizes the unique strengths and weaknesses of their spouse and works together to complement each other. This approach allows for flexibility and adaptability, acknowledging that at different times, one spouse may need to shoulder more responsibilities than the other.

Communication and Understanding

The key to a successful marriage lies in open communication and understanding. Instead of keeping score, couples should focus on effective communication to express their needs, concerns, and expectations. Understanding each other’s perspectives and finding common ground can pave the way for a more harmonious relationship.

Conclusion: While the idea of equality in marriage may seem noble, the pursuit of perfect balance can lead to unintended consequences. The scorekeeping trap fosters resentment, selfishness, and frustration, undermining the very foundation of a healthy relationship. Embracing the concept of partnership, coupled with open communication and understanding, allows couples to navigate the complexities of marriage with greater resilience and harmony.

Also check out this great article titled: 4 Subtle Signs You’re Really Fighting About Fairness.

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