How to Lose When You’re Totally Winning
By Lisa Lakey
Ever played “one-up” with your spouse?
It’s where you attempt to outdo each other in tiredness, busyness, and general holiness. You compare workloads, accomplishments, and your martyrdom. My husband and I are frequent players.
For example, a few months ago our daughter had a minor surgery and I had to stay up late to complete work assignments while I cared for her. It happened to coincide with my husband’s working out of town. We were exhausted and irritable.
On a phone call one night, I mentioned how tired I was.
His response? “You think you’re tired …”
I did not respond kindly to that.
In fact, I may have rattled off a list of everything I had done that day, down to the forgetting to eat lunch (sympathy points for that, right?).
And maybe I threw in a few more punches, for good measure, about the daily load I carry in addition to a full-time job (more points!). By the end of the phone call, neither of us had much to say.
Before we hung up, I was sure I had won—math doesn’t lie, people—but it didn’t feel like that after. But though God does reward my good work (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)—is scorekeeping really the culture I want in my marriage?
I guess if that were truly the case, I’d be worried about deductions.
Ten points off for what you said in traffic this morning!
Five points deducted for sneaking 12 items in the 10-items-or-less line!
Twenty points lost for refusing to offer grace to your husband …
Trust me, neither of us “wins” when we one-up our spouse—or find our worth in what we do. Besides, the only prize worth winning has already been won for both of us.
And it wasn’t by our awesomeness, but His.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The good stuff: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
Action points: Are you keeping score? One way to nip the scorekeeping is to be more aware of how amazing our spouses already are. Look for three things to thank your spouse for today. Here are a few examples:
- Thank you for making dinner after work. I know you’d prefer to sit down after a long day on your feet.
- Thank you for always reading a bedtime story to the kids. I love that you choose to bond with them that way.
- The yard looks great! Thanks for helping us have a house that’s pleasant to come home to.
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