Striving For An Equal Marriage? That May Be Why It's Failing


Why keeping a scorecard is the worst thing for your marriage—and how to put it away.

Generosity and sacrificial love are the best measure of a great marriage

Imagine a marriage where husband and wife try to out-give, out-love, and out-bless each other. Imagine a relationship where you don’t have to try to "get yours," because your spouse is already making sure that you do. When you and your partner have the best interest of the other and the relationship at heart, even preferring the other above your own interests, your marriage will be filled with peace, contentment, trust and passion. 

The truth is that marriage is not a zero-sum game. You can have as much happiness as you and your spouse are willing to work for. Instead of trying to figure how to divide everything evenly, to get what you feel you deserve out of the marital pie, work on growing your marriage and yourself. Couple Builder: Practical Generosity

You don’t have to settle for what is. Work on growing together toward what can be. 

Compromise vs. surrender

The kind of generosity and sacrificial love I’m calling you to is not the same as compromise or capitulation. Compromise involves doing something you don't want to do or not doing something you do want to do. It generally involves giving in, giving up or settling. It comes with the feeling that I lost and you won. This kind of capitulation can foster resentment, indebtedness and scorekeeping. This kind of compromise ultimately does damage to your marriage.

Now contrast compromise with what I describe as surrender. By surrender I do not mean giving up or giving in; I mean giving over.  Surrender does not mean losing; it means the willingness not to keep score. 3 Reasons Keeping Score Is Good For Your Relationship

I know the word surrender got a bad rap back in the days when Laura Doyle's book The Surrendered Wife was a fad. I think hers was an unhealthy, almost-manipulative representation of surrender. I'm not talking about surrendering in order to get your something from your spouse. I'm talking about giving yourself completely to the love of your life, holding nothing back.

Whereas compromise comes from a sense of obligation, surrender has to do with choice. Surrender means acting with integrity toward your core values while keeping in mind the needs and desires of your spouse and the importance of your relationship. Surrender allows selfless love to win out over your own preferences—because you want it that way. It lets you be willing to lose the argument in order to maintain your relational connection. Surrender puts relationship ahead of rights.

What would your marriage be like if both of you threw out the scorecards? What if you were both 100-percent in, putting everything you have and everything you are into your marriage? What if instead of equity and fairness as the measure of the quality of your marriage, you used surrender and sacrificial love as the measuring sticks? Cultivating the True Love: From Codependency to Self-Sufficiency

I can tell what it would be like. It would mean both of you adding strength to strength and allowing strength to cover for weakness. It would mean an abundance of generosity and pleasure, both given and received. It would mean coming together in a way that makes your marriage more than either of you as individuals. This is not loss of individuality, but rather it's each of you bringing your full and genuine self to your relationship, and doing so for the benefit of each other and your marriage.

What do you think of my notion of a "surrendered marriage?" One "without scorecards?" Leave a comment with your thoughts.