4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NIV
Play hard, have fun, everybody wins! That was the idea behind the YMCA tee ball team my youngest son, John was on when he was four years old. Everybody won because nobody kept score! Those little guys could take fifteen swings at the ball, skip bases, or run home via first and they were still the champions! Well, even though he had a pretty good time, by the end of his rookie season, John dubbed baseball “lame” and traded his cleats for a pair of drumsticks. That was a great decision. At thirteen, John is quite the prodigy on drums. Baseball? Not so much.
In my role as pastor’s wife, I’m often called upon to be a counselor/mentor to younger women. It’s such a privilege to share with them, and hear their stories, hopes and dreams. Recently, I’ve seen a recurring theme among young married women. They have a tendency to keep score in their marriages. That’s what got me thinking about John and the tee ball team, and how the reason those little guys were free to enjoy the game is they were free from the pressure of anyone keeping score.
A young husband is still very wet behind the ears, and in desperate need of his wife’s respect and approval. Jimmy Evans, the cofounder of Marriage Today, also a respected pastor and author, says what women need most is love, and what men need most is respect. After 27 years of marriage, I’ve found that statement to be entirely true. When wives keep a list of expectations, and check a box when husbands measure up, and give demerits when they don’t, it can cause immeasurable damage to husbands and marriages. Flowers on my birthday, check. Help with the dinner dishes, check. Didn’t take out the trash, two demerits. Didn’t put the toilet seat down, ten demerits. Forgot our anniversary, twenty-five demerits. Usually the husband winds up with more demerits than credits, and everyone is unhappy.
But what if we tried something new? What if we measured our marriages by what we give instead of what we get? What if we were really doers of 1 Corinthians 13:5 and kept no record of wrongs? What if we threw away the check list, and measured our success as wives by how well we don’t keep score? Personally, I find that I’m never happier than when I’m focused on Gene's needs, and not my own. Not keeping score. Give it a try. Play hard, have fun, everybody wins!
Prayer for today: Father, help me to not keep score in any of my relationships. Help me think more highly of others’ needs than my own, and be a doer of Your Word. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.