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Unhappy Marriage Advice - If Your Marriage Is A Competition You Are Both Losing
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Unhappy Marriage Advice - If Your Marriage Is A Competition You Are Both Losing

Be brutally honest with yourself here - has your marriage turned into a competition? You know, where you are silently keeping score of every little detail.

For example, do you have a running tally in your head of how many chores and responsibilities you have on a day to day bass compared to your spouse? Do you keep score of how many times you’ve done carpool or dropped off your kids to after school activities, how many sports games you’ve attended versus your spouse? Do you keep track of how many hours of “free time”, nights out with friends and weekends away that your spouse has had compared to you?

Here’s what you need to know. If you are keeping score, if you have turned your marriage unconsciously into a competition, then someone has to be winning and someone has to be losing. The honest truth is that for a marriage to thrive and be healthy, if one spouse is “winning” then both partners are in fact losing.

Keeping a tally, even if it is just in your mind, of who has done more, given more, had less free time, who spends more, who earns more is a very dangerous habit to have fallen into. Guaranteed that even if you don’t have a tally sheet posted on the fridge, if you are counting you are harboring a growing resentment. And this resentment will continue to grow until shows up in arguments or in unhealthy habits such as buying things or spending money on yourself and either hiding the expenses or lying about them to your spouse.

Even if you feel you are above being petty enough to “keep score” of chores and expenses, you might be unconsciously turning other aspects of your marriage into a competition. Complaining of how busy we are, how many responsibilities we have, how little we’ve slept and how many hours we’ve worked has turned into an epidemic in our culture. When this spills into our marriage, it’s just another way of competing.

So what is the best way to stop this unhealthy relationship habit of competing in our marriage?

As with most things, start with open communication. If you feel that there is an unfair division of responsibilities and chores in your marriage sit down at a calm moment (not during an argument) and talk about it. There may be some basic misunderstandings going on. For example, maybe your husband would love to do carpool once a week or be in charge of cooking one night. He might be working under the assumption that these are jobs you prefer to do and want complete control over. So a simple conversation would be a good start.

Moving from there, try changing your perspective. Assume that your spouse has the best intentions and is doing the best they can. Start looking at all the things your spouse does do for the family. Focus on being appreciative for these things and let your spouse know that you notice and value everything that they do. Focus on the behavior you want from your spouse, not the behavior that you don’t (hint, the latter is called nagging and the energy surrounding nagging will kill your marriage.)

I encourage you to take an honest look at your marriage today and see if you have unconsciously turned it into a competition. If you feel that your marriage is struggling and that you are harboring resentments then deciding to stop keeping score is one of the easiest ways to fix a marriage. Many people have found this simple technique one of the most valuable pieces of unhappy marriage advice they have received.


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