Imagine you are having an argument with your spouse. I’m sure that never really happens in your marriage, but just humor me for a minute and pretend. Let’s say your spouse is offended because you left your dirty socks in the floor, and they let you know that they don’t appreciate your messiness and lack of consideration. You are wounded by their implication that you are less than perfect, so you instinctively go on the defensive. The trouble is, you know that you are in the wrong in this case – you really did leave your socks in the floor, and you really know that you were messy and inconsiderate. Since you can’t find a way to make yourself look any better in this particular situation, you do what seems to be the next best thing – you find a way to make your spouse look worse. So you rattle off a list of things they have done that are worse than leaving dirty socks in the floor: there’s the time they left a pair of pants in the floor. And there’s the time they locked their keys in the car, requiring you to leave an important meeting to go rescue them. There’s the time they sat on the couch while you bathed the little one, even though it was clearly their turn for bath duty.
In the middle of an argument, it is tempting to bring up every offense our spouse has committed since the day we met. We love to keep a mental list of their mistakes so we can use them as ammunition in the future. That way their one mistake can come back to bite them 347 times.
But look at what we read in 1 Corinthians 13:5 – “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”
Love refuses to keep score.
A 1996 survey of married adults found that 67% of men believe their wives spend more time in the bathroom than they do. The same survey found that 67% of women believe their husbands spend more time in the bathroom than they do. These survey results two things obvious. Number one, there are a lot of women out there who can’t tell time. Number two, there are a lot of men and women who are keeping score.
(For the record, I am kidding about #1. Ladies, please don’t post nasty comments in response to this post.)
One of the Scriptures I find to be most amazing is Isaiah 43:25. God is speaking to his people, and he says, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Wow! God, who knows everything, chooses to forget our mistakes. And he wants our love to be like his. He wants us to love our spouses the way he loves us, with a graciously forgetful love.
This is a huge commitment we can make to our spouses: I will forget about your failures. I will develop a healthy kind of marital amnesia. I will have a selective memory for your good, where I remember and celebrate all of the good things you do but I delete the offenses from my mental file. I will refuse to keep score.