Love doesn’t keep score.
We’ve heard it before. Probably even thought, “That’s a good idea.” Actually living it is another story.
My pastor told me and my soon-to-be-husband “love doesn’t keep score” while we went through 6 weeks of pre-marriage counseling. It was sound advice and it comes from the “love chapter” in First Corinthians, chapter 13, “It [love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (Verse 5).
The pastor gave us lots of good guidance that we smiled and nodded at as we clutched one another’s hands thinking more about wedded bliss than potential marital problems. “You each give 100% all the time and never keep score and you will have no problems in your marriage,” he told us. I’m sure we sighed and looked into each other’s eyes. “Sure. No problem.” All the while thinking, “When is this over so we can go make-out in the car?”
I should add that the pastor who married us divorced his own wife a few months after performing our counseling and marriage ceremony. I don’t know the whole story on the demise of their marriage, but I can’t help but think that wise advice means nothing unless it is lived.
After nearly nine years of marriage, my husband and I are fully aware that wedded bliss doesn’t just happen. While making-out in the car is fun, it doesn’t solve problems. We’ve worked on our communicating. We’ve worked on showing each other love. And our marriage is strong, by the grace of God. I am blessed to be married to a good man who loves me and takes care of me. But it still all too easy to slip into keeping score when things aren't quite going my way.
It sure seems like I am giving more than 100% here! creeps into my mind often. Whatever the incident, I make a record of it.... just in case I might need to remind him later.
At a marriage conference we attended, we heard Francis Chan speak (author of Crazy Love). His advice during the topic (listen here) was “serve God, follow the Bible, and the normal problems that come up in a marriage will not exist.” His idea takes James 1:22 to heart and action:
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.
Do what it says."
One big area that keeps coming to my heart, sitting on my conscience until I can’t breath is “love keeps no record of wrong.” Swirling around in my head is the advice from the well-meaning pastor, “Give 100%”. And then creeps in my own need to keep score, a reminder that maybe my 100% is bigger and better than my partner's 100%.
Whether it is issues with our children or my feelings getting hurt or my husband’s inevitable inability to read my mind (prophesy isn’t one of his spiritual gifts), I keep track. I keep score. I keep a record of wrong.
These perceived injustices stack up, fester and coagulate, until they are a hot, sweltering bundle of resentment. You know what that nastiness looks like because you’ve probably seen it flying across the room in an argument. “You always _______, you never ______, I always have to _________, you never have to _______!” Those angry words conjure up the “you done me wrongs” and use them for battle with ease.
It was no wonder why my conscience was bothered with that kind of nastiness living in my heart. To God it looks like I read his Word and then walk away and forgot about it. He says, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." He wasn't looking for an essay or a neatly worded Drop about what his word says.... he wants action!
In my case it was a strong conviction that I needed to work on the “love chapter” again.
Follow this topic in tomorrow’s post where I reveal the secret to “keep score no more.”