A Saturday alone is a gift.
My husband is gone for the weekend, and I am writing.
As a reward to writing first, I promised myself a bit of email-inbox decluttering.
To see if I should read it or delete it, I clicked on Gretchen Rubin’s “5 Mistakes I Continue To Make in My Marriage.”
Of course, since I make mistakes in my marriage, I can’t help being curious. While the title sounds like something that would be in a magazine at the grocery check-out, the author—Gretchen Rubin— writes engagingly about the application of positive psychology studies and theories to her own life.
If you feel that the demands of writing and working or teaching coupled with your tightly scheduled life create problems for your relationships and family life, you’ll appreciate hearing which mistakes Rubin addresses and some changes she has resolved to make. I’m particularly struck by her #4 mistake that she continues to make in her marriage.
That mistake is Score-keeping.
She says that she keeps score—herself vs. her husband.
And she always believes that she is overly generous in her contributions to the house and family, while, of course, she finds her husband lacking.
Her score-keeping doesn’t account for overestimating her own contribution.
Rubin quotes University of Virginia psychology professor, Jonathan Haidt, who writes in The Happiness Hypothesis that “when husbands and wives estimate the percentage of housework each does, their estimates total more than 120 percent.”
How about you? Do you engage in score-keeping and start to get that testy, cranky feeling about all that you’re doing?
As you engage in score-keeping and struggle with the feelings that arise, you’re using energy and willpower that could go toward your writing. And you’re doing damage to your relationships. Score-keeping is costly.
Keeping your relationship on an even keel is difficult when you’re engaged in an intense and time-consuming writing project. It’s easy to fall into unconscious over-claiming (that is, unconsciously overestimating what you have done versus another person’s contribution) when you feel yourself sucked into yet another time-consuming task.
If you want to be productive during a scheduled writing session, decide ahead of time what you will do if score-keeping raises its ugly head. Planning can help you avoid that emotional drain.
What costly mistakes do you find yourself making in your relationships?
Take care of your relationships, and conserve your willpower.
Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach
nancy @ nancywhichard.com