The marriage accountant

I know it will come as a huge surprise to those of you that know us, but sometimes, Mr. Meat and Potatoes and I? We fight. A little. A teeny tiny bit. And, like most couples, I think we have our tried and true favorite modes of accomplishing a good spat.

Of course, our favorite methods might not be best for our marriage. They might not be completely healthy ways of going about expressing our discontentment, or frustration.

My favorite tactic, one my mother used to use on me and I think she called my husband and filled him in on it before we got married just to continue the good times, is the "YOU'RE RIGHT...," argument, as in "YOU'RE RIGHT. I am the WORST MOTHER IN THE WORLD." And how does one argue with that? "No, Mom. Just the worst in regard to pointing out that these 80's bangs I'm sporting might not be as attractive as I think they are." But you know, we've already gone way past the bangs at that point.

So my husband? He's a master at that one. He's a master at making me feel bad for mentioning that he didn't take out the trash two weeks in a row, with the old "You're right! I'm the worst husband EVER."

And I think this is the same as the "At least I...," argument, wherein the man, when asked why he never picks up his smelly socks or puts the toilet lid down, says, "HEY, AT LEAST I DON'T SPEND ALL MY NIGHTS IN THE BARS, WITH THE HOOKERS AND THE BLOW."

I suggest that this may not be the most fair way to fight, the most logical response to criticism. Who's with me?

Once, I watched Jerry Seinfeld's (mostly turkey) show The Marriage Ref. And Jerry pointed out that we should not be such good accountants in our marriages. As in, stop freaking keeping score. (Needle across the record...) Wha???

How does one NOT keep score? How does the yin and the yang work if the yin does more than the yang? Then life will be like 70 percent light and 30 percent dark, and WHO CAN LIVE WITH THAT KIND OF CHAOS? If you are the 70 percent person you are filled with resentment and rage, and if you are the 30 percent person you are filled with guilt and regret, and AIN'T NOBODY HAPPY. Hence, keeping mental score. WHAT.

In life BB (Before Baby) this was less of a problem. We were both slobs, so it didn't matter. In life AB (After Baby) it gets more and more difficult not to keep score. We're busier, and there's more dirty business to take care of on a daily basis. "I HAVE CHANGED THREE POOPY DIAPERS TODAY. IT IS YOUR TURN." Or, "I did all the dishes and cooked dinner! You have to change the sheets and take out the diaper genie and give the baby a bath!"

So yeah. Sue me. I am something of a score-keeper. I know it's wrong. I don't know how to stop. I welcome your input on this issue. Who else keeps score? How do you manage to balance your tasks in your marriage, so that no one comes home one day and puts down her purse and and quietly goes about her business, and is later found drinking gin out of one of her high heeled black boots?


Karrey Britt 7 years, 8 months ago

It's so good to hear someone admit that married life isn't always perfect! I try not to be a scorekeeper, but I am. It's especially hard because I am sort of a neat freak and my husband is just the opposite. So, I tend not to say anything about the shoes in the corner, the dirty Kleenexes next to the trash can, or his unopened mail on the table until I just can't take it anymore. Then, the spat begins and I start tallying. When the spats become heated, I tally all the way back to when we first started dating (and that's definitely not good since it was 17 years ago). The good news — it doesn't happen often, and I think our marriage works because we balance each other out.

Marilyn Hull 7 years, 8 months ago

While nobody wants to be a marraige accountant, I think it is fair to expect some accountability in relationships. My husband and I have had hundreds of those score-keeping arguments. I'm not proud of it. But I can say that the work in our house is pretty evenly shared. I know if I slack off he will call me on it, and vice versa.

We are celebrating our 25th anniversary today, so on some level this is working for us.

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