I am the Scorekeeper in our relationship. The Scorekeeper is an exalted position with lots of responsibility. As every company needs a CFO, so every relationship needs a Scorekeeper. We are the ones in charge of keeping track of the favors or obligations owed or promised to other members of the family.
Here is an example…
My husband had a college friend that I didn’t like. This friend didn’t like me either. When his friend passed away last year, I accompanied my husband on the tedious 3 ½ hour drive to Poughkeepsie, NY for the memorial gathering. We stopped for lunch in a run down bar off the NY Thruway, just outside of Poughkeepsie, and while eating our greasy hamburgers, he said to me, “I owe you big time for this.”
“I know,” I said.
“What would you like me to do for you?” he asked.
“I don’t know yet,” I said. “It’s got to be something pretty big, though.”
“Give me time,” I said. “I’ll think of something.”
Then there was the time I signed us up for a country line dancing class at adult ed. My husband was a good sport about it, even though I knew he was suffering through every class, as he stumbled through the dance steps, looking down at his feet getting twisted up with each other.
On the last night of class, I told him, “I know you hated these classes. I owe you one. If you want, I’ll take sailing lessons with you next spring.”
That was one point for him on his side of the scorecard – I made a note of it in that vault in my head. But, instead, he said, “No, no; don’t be silly. I had fun.”
He was lying; I knew that. But if he was willing to forfeit the point, who was I to challenge his judgment? In my mind, I cleared the scorecard, and we were even.
Then there are the company picnics, the installation dinners, weddings, and Saturday nights with friends (his or mine), where one of us is having fun while the other looks like they are suffering from a migraine headache and swollen hemorrhoids.
You go along because you’re a married couple and that’s what married couples do – they accompany each other “for better or for worse.” But on the way home, one of us will invariably say, You owe me one.
Since I’m the Scorekeeper, and I also pay the bills, I have trouble buying something frivolous for myself unless I can even the score. This may have something to do with my Zodiac sign more than anything else. Being a Libra, the sign of the scales, I’m always weighing things and trying to balance it all out.
When I bought myself a new Kindle this summer, I felt guilty for spending $300 (Kindle, plus accessories and a case), especially since I already had an older Kindle that still worked fine. It was frivolous, I’ll admit, but I wanted it anyway.
The day I ordered the Kindle, my husband was mowing the lawn and the gas exhaust from the mower was stinking up the entire house. I got an idea.
When he was done, I told him, “You need a new lawnmower.”
“I know I do, but they aren’t cheap.”
“How much are they?”
“The one I want is about $300.”
Perfect! I couldn’t have planned this better if I had tried. “Buy it! Buy it!” I said.
“Can we afford it this month?” he asked. “I don’t know. You tell me. You pay the bills.”
“Yes; of course we can afford it. Go buy it today!”
It’s tough being the Scorekeeper. In a 40-year marriage like ours, it’s a daunting task keeping the tally card up to date. I do my best, though. So far, my side of the scorecard is clear, but my husband still has quite a few things to work off the list.
“Don’t you ever forget anything?” he asked me recently. He seemed irritated that I had brought up something from 1976, a strike that he still had on his scorecard.
“I never forget,” I told him. I’m the Scorekeeper.