Why “Keeping Score” Matters in Marriage

I found that one of the main reasons happy couples are so happy is because they always try to assume that their spouses have good intentions towards them.Shaunti Feldhahn

I know what you’re thinking. What do you mean by “keep score?” and how could it possibly benefit my marriage?

I think we usually do keep score in our relationships, just not in a positive way. A mentor of mine once told me about a couple that she knew who played a quirky game. The reason this game was “quirky” is because it was counterintuitive to our instincts.

We are all naturally selfish creatures. We want what we want, when we want, and how we want—our happiness is the most important, right? I know I fight this battle daily, and I don’t think I am alone in this (please comment below if you can relate. Just type “amen” or “I feel ya sister.” It might ease the fear of putting myself out there for all the world to see).

Anyway, Gordon and I have started creating some great habits in our lives. We are both entrepreneurs, but we’re both low doer/achievers as well. We love relaxing and we love to sleep. As a result, our work life can be a little challenging. So this year, we determined we need schedules, goals, and rewards for reaching those goals. We also need accountability. Big time. Thank you Michael Hyatt for your Full Focus Planner. It has changed our lives! I’m proud to report that since the beginning of the year, we’ve somehow managed to wake up on time regularly every day (without going back to sleep) and we’ve also exercised daily—at least during work days.

HOWEVER… Today I didn’t want to go running. I just didn’t feel like it. I knew Gordon wanted to, but I became stubborn and selfish and wouldn’t relent. So, we didn’t go running. Gordon was disappointed, but he wasn’t mad at me and didn’t hold a grudge. Instead, he simply made me another cup of coffee, handed me my novel, and we both had an extra hour of reading time before our workday. When I chose to be selfish, he chose to be selfless and love me through it. Gordon does a much better job at “keeping score” in our marriage than I do most of the time. I, on the other hand, could stand to do better… especially today.

*         *          *

Remember that couple I was telling you about that play that quirky game? Here is how it works:


1. Keep track of all the selfless things your spouse does for you on a daily basis.

It could be things like making your coffee, saying something nice, fixing breakfast or lunch, leaving a cute love note on the mirror, etc.


2. Try to “out-give” them.

Go the extra mile for them. Keep finding all the little things they do and one up them just a little bit.


*         *          *

It’s easy to keep track of our spouse’s bad habits. It’s easy to remember all the things they didn’t do or you wish they would do. It’s easy to decide to be selfish and seek out your own happiness above your spouse’s. But the thing that sets an extraordinary couple apart from the rest is being intentional about the little things.

So instead of keeping score of all the negative aspects of the relationship with your spouse and then holding it over them at the most opportune times, erase the score and start over. Start fresh but with a new perspective, a new motivation, and a new goal in mind.

Keep track of how great your spouse is and how much they give to you. It not only keeps us grounded in gratefulness but also keeps that selfishness at bay most of the time. It will keep your perspective positive and make you want to reward your spouse for all the great things they do. Soon all that negative stuff that you’ve been focusing on for too long will fall to the back burner and won’t matter as much as it once did.

So start your list. Look for three things your partner has done to serve or love you lately, and as you take notice, start adding those things to your list.

*         *          *

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below,

What is one thing on your list?


Tarah is a entrepreneur, a wife of a songwriter, a dreamer, a coffee lover and a personal blogger. She is obsessed with reading, particularly sci-fi/fantasy/adventure fiction, her favorite author of this genre is Brandon Sanderson. She lives in Denver, CO with her husband and spends her days managing and creating content for her business TarahAvery.com. She believes that true joy and happiness stem from healthy relationships in three areas- relationship with God, with others, and with yourself. To read more about Tarah check out her blog or Facebook page.

Copyright © 2014 Start Marriage Right. Disclaimer