It’s Killing You Softly

Our youngest son Isaiah is playing Upward Basketball this season. Upward is less about being competitive and more about fun. One of the ways that value expresses itself in Isaiah’s age group is that they don’t keep score on the score board. So as the game goes on, the score never changes. It is always 0-0. But the truth is, both coaches always keep score. So while everyone says they don’t keep score, the score is kept.

The same is true for most marriages. We are great score keepers aren’t we? Our marriage scoreboard may say 0-0 but in our heart, we know the score. We know exactly how much our spouse owes us. We know exactly how far ahead we are. We take mental notes. We keep track. What we used to be grateful for we have now come to expect. Our score keeping mindset comes from one word that infects most of our hearts: entitlement.

Entitlement’s favorite three words are: You. Owe. Me. I know the score and you owe me. Entitlement always knows how many points ahead you are. Entitlement always knows what your spouse has to do to make it up to you.

  • You want to go out with your friends? You owe me.
  • You want to go shopping with your sister? You owe me.
  • You want me to watch the kids so you can have a night out? You owe me.
  • You expect to have dinner on the table when you get home? You owe me.
  • You want me to work longer hours so you can be a stay at home mom? You owe me.
  • You want me to have sex with you when I don’t feel like it? You owe me.
  • You like having clean clothes in your closet each week? You owe me.
  • You want me to come home early so you can go to the movies? You owe me.

Most of us get married and we are so thankful for our spouse. We get married with a high sense of gratitude. Over time gratitude turns into resentment? How is it that we resent the person that we should be the most thankful for? You can’t be grateful for what you feel entitled to.

Entitlement quietly kills great marriages. Entitlement turns teammates into opponents. Entitlement allows us to overlook what we can give to a relationship and only see what we are owed by the relationship. Entitlement enables you to keep score and believe that what you deserve is greater than what you should be thankful for. When entitlement sets into your heart resentment is soon to follow.

What if the score was really 0-0?

What if you replaced entitlement with gratitude?

11 Responses to It’s Killing You Softly

  1. Entitlement has crept into everything it seems.  Keeping score in a marriage is a sure death knoll.  Thanks for the post.

  2. Stephanie Gentry

    Good grief, I needed this right now. Like literally right this minute.

  3. Great post Justin!  I was walking around yesterday w/ a “u owe me” mentality…thanks for the reminder.