Quit keeping score.

Successful marriages are made by equal partnerships. However, I believe the term “equal” to be subjective. I have tried applying it literally and ended up discontent and so self-centered. From day one of married life I wanted things to be fair. If I did yesterday’s laundry than my husband better do today’s. I did these dishes, you do those ones. When it really became a problem was when we added kids to the mix.

I became obsessive about what I perceived to be inequality in my marriage. I wasn’t angry that I had to get up with a baby, I was mad that my husband didn’t. I wasn’t angry that I had to clean up the house, I was mad that I did it more than he did. I wasn’t angry I cut my work hours down to be with our baby more, I was mad that his career didn’t take a hit. When I would leave I would honestly hope the baby was super hard for him, so he would experience how much harder my life was than his. His life was so easy. He got to come and go as he pleased, chase his dreams and still have a family life at home. I was so angry all of the time. Life wasn’t fair.

In reality my husband often got up with our baby while I slept, and never harbored any resentment toward me for it. He also more than carried the load at home while I worked and went on to finish my degree, a goal I had always had. He made a lot of sacrifices to make sure I was getting what I needed at home and in my career goals. He has always been my strongest supporter and my biggest fan. He carried an unfair share of our life for years, but didn’t feel sorry for himself over it. He wasn’t even keeping track. This isn’t what I saw. No matter the reality, I was busy keeping score and counting all the ways I always came up short.

I was full of self-pity, resentment and anger. I wanted equality. I wanted everything fair, literally. Turns out, that just isn’t reality. Equality in marriage is vital, but it doesn’t always mean splitting tasks down the center. It means showing up in the part of life you are responsible for. Don’t play the martyr while secretly resenting your spouse for not doing more. There is no nobility in that.

Most of all ask yourself, “do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” You can’t always have both. Life is full of little things that simply have to get done. Running a house, keeping a family alive, and just plain living are going to require plenty of mundane responsibilities. Marriage is a partnership. Communicate about what equality means for your relationship, because it is unique to each relationship Sometimes your load might feel heavier than that of your spouse, but that is what being a true partner is. Find the gratitude for the times they have carried you through, and step up to do the same. Live each day in gratitude and service and above all, quit keeping score.

xoxo Julie

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