Avoid Making Lists and Keeping Score in Your Relationships

Household listThis week Phil had a medical procedure. He needed a Covid-19 test early in the week, so we had to quarantine. It was so hot that we took our walks very early in the morning when few people were on the street and before the sun was blasting. Apart from those walks, we were in the house full time with one another, even more than usual.

As we moved about the house this week, the food was cooked, the wash was done, the bills were paid, the plants were watered and tended to, the dishes were done, the flowers were arranged, the mail was answered, the floors were swept and cleaned, and we each moved forward on our separate and joint projects.

The ease during our lock-down reminded us that we don’t behave like many couples do: making lists and keeping score. We don’t have an internal accountant maintaining a balance sheet tracking what we have each done in order to maintain fairness. We just don’t do it at all; it doesn’t even come up. Let’s take a look at why, and how this can be avoided.

We are strongly aware that we are both on the same side and are assured that we are both acting for the good of our whole at all times. This comes from the deep matching of our most basic core values and the trust that this engenders.

Don’t keep score in your relationship. Don’t have an internal accountant maintaining a balance sheet Click To TweetWe know in a deep way that each of us does our very best and gives our fullest toward our common good. We both make different contributions and have different skills, and this creates a rich, full balance of action. We relate as equals, lovers and friends always wanting the best for each other.

If there is ever a sense of dissonance, frustration or overload, then we communicate about it with each other. Grievances don’t accumulate because when differences come up between us, we talk about them, and this is easy precisely because we are on the same side. There isn’t a competition between us. We use our process to find a mutual solution. We do not hold onto things and let them build up! Therefore there is nothing on a list and nothing to score.

This approach changes the possibility for hurt and misunderstanding completely. If you want the feeling of safety and peace in your relationship, then verbalize these intentions to each other and communicate your feelings if you sense some problem within yourself.

The list for how not to make lists:

  • Speak aloud to each other often that you are on the same side
  • Respect the differences in how each of you work and participate
  • Do not measure and compare
  • Value your partner as different and equal
  • Do not hold onto things or keep them inside
  • Communicate without blame when you feel imbalance
  • Enjoy the peace and goodness that you have created

Photo Credit: Phil Mayes

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3 comments on “Avoid Making Lists and Keeping Score in Your Relationships
  1. Maude says:

    Kare Christine Anderson
    Your proven, touching and specific insights for strengthening healthy relationships are truly uplifting

  2. Jo Safire says:

    Truly helpful article I needed to read! Thank you

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