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Keeping Score

By bro Lee Tian Seng

Keeping score in a marriage relationship is the tendency of bringing up past issues whenever there is a conflict. It is often those things that your spouse forgot to do, did not do or some unforgiveable mistakes in the past. What does the Bible say about “keeping score”? Why would one keep score? What problems will keeping score cause? How do we react when our spouse keeps score?

1 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV) - Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.

The Bible teaches us that true love does not keep score of wrong things done. Charity or love “thinketh no evil”. The word “thinketh” in Greek means “to keep an inventory”. Do we keep an inventory of the wrongs that our spouse has done? Is it true love if we do so? Of course not. If you keep score, you are just picking on every wrong thing your spouse has done without considering the many good things he or she did. You are also not forgiving because you remember the wrongs which you said you have forgiven.

People keep score to use them as an arsenal of weapon for war. Often, it is used to show that your spouse has never changed his bad behaviour since the evidence clearly shows that it is not the first time he or she has committed this mistake. Other times, it is to justify your mistakes by showing that your spouse has done things much worse than what you have just did.

Keeping score is offensive and defensive in nature. It is does not help to resolve a conflict but escalates it. When one starts keeping score, the other person will become defensive or do the same. When everything is laid out, there is no way to conclude who is “more wrong”. Most of the time, no one will give way to this kind of argument.

If you do not like your spouse to keep score, than you should be mindful not to do it yourself.

Matthew 7:12 - Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

When your spouse starts keeping score, you know that he or she is in the offensive/ defensive mode. There could be a reason why it happened. Ask yourself what you have done to provoke him or her to act this way. Is it that you are not willing to listen? Is there a sin that you need to confess instead of concealing? When both you and your spouse have calmed down, sit down and talk openly about what had happened that caused an argument, instead of “raking” up the past. Encourage your spouse to share what he or she feels about what has happened, and resolve the conflict with either a clear explanation or an honest apology.

Romans 12:17-18 - Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Let us practise true love by being forgiving and kind to our spouses, instead of keeping score.

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