I looked at my husband with affection, he could see how tired I was and told me to go and sit down while he took care of the dishes.
I sighed contentedly thinking how lucky I am to be married to such a considerate man. Next day, he twice walked past the basket of washing I had asked him to carry up the stairs, thus instantly losing his dish-washing points of the previous evening!
Let’s face it, there’s not many who don’t work on a point scoring system in relationships.
When hubby does something nice for me I’m all for him and he’s awarded maximum brownie points.
I feel magnetically drawn to him and bask in the warm, fuzzy glow of my love for him. Then he goes and spoils it by doing something I view as thoughtless, like not replenishing the loo roll or forgetting to put out the bins and I am forced to deduct all his good behaviour points.
This creates the atmosphere of him knowing he’s done something wrong but not sure what and me acting miffed but refusing to tell him why.
In relationships, your loved one can go from hero to zero in a matter of seconds if they do something that contravenes your own personal relationship rules.
My list of relationship rules is as long as my arm, which hubby more often than not is in breach of. I, however, like most women, am a dream to live with! There’s not much point deduction he could do on my part, or is there? According to his classic book; Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, so named because it sometimes seems men and women come from different planets, author Dr John Gray examined scoring points between partners.
Gray wrote, we may not think we point score in a relationship but we unwittingly keep an eye on the ‘giving’ in our partnerships. And when one feels like they are giving more than the other, that’s when trouble starts and resentment sets in.
Men apparently work a different point scoring system to women claims Gray. Men give points in blocks, for example if a man gets lost while driving and the woman doesn’t say anything, trusting him to find the way, this makes his life easier and he will award big points, perhaps 20.
The simple scoring system of a man is based on how helpful a situation is to him and how much it makes his life easier. However, with a woman, her point awards are all about the little things. She will give one point for a hug, another point for a compliment.
Women need many expressions of love in a relationship in order to feel loved, unlike men. Gray equates women’s relationship needs with a car being constantly topped up with petrol in order to run smoothly. We need our tanks refilled repeatedly in order to feel cherished. This makes us feel more in touch with our partner and able to give him more love (and points). If we don’t get this then, ‘resentment flu’ kicks in which is when we feel we are giving more than we’re getting and it’s hard at this stage to get points back up to a positive quota.
I remember watching the original version of the TV show Mr & Mrs when I was a child.
Host Derek Batey would close the show with the words; ‘be nice to each other!’ and that’s basically about the best advice anyone could give a couple. It’s the little kindnesses and courtesies that make a relationship flourish, things like looking up from your mobile when your other half is speaking to you or making them a cuppa.
As we prepare to go through Christmas spending more time than usual with our loved ones, it might help to be aware of being that little bit nicer to each other. Christmas can be tough on relationships. Rumour has it January is known as divorce month in legal circles as it’s the most popular time of year to file for divorce.
In January people reflect, many examine the balance of ‘giving’ in their relationship and if it’s out of kilter some take the decision to end it.
In numerous cases, simply being more thoughtful of the other person’s needs, thus earning more brownie points, may have been all that was needed for marital success.
Be nice to each other this Christmas. Don’t lose all your points!
As Bruce Forsyth used to say; ‘What do points mean? Prizes!’