The first time many of my Houston relationship counseling clients enter my office, all they want to do is list off the good things they’ve done and the horrible things their spouse has done. It’s as if they’re trying to prove to me that they’re not the problem by offering up “evidence.” But relationships aren’t games or tests, and you can’t quantify feelings by using facts and figures.

In fact, keeping score in this way is actually more likely to cause marriage issues than solve problems.

Houston Relationship Counseling: Why You Shouldn’t Keep Score

Those who keep score tend to spend a lot of their energy focusing on this game—he loses points for doing that and gets points for doing that, but I’m still better because I did this and this. First off, this kind of behavior makes it harder to see and accept it when your partner treats you in a loving manner, because that means giving them “points” and potentially “losing.”

But the problem goes much deeper than that. Here are just a few of the marriage issues I’ve seen in my Houston relationship counseling clients.

You’ll start seeing what you want. Once you start tracking who did what and quantifying your relationship, you’ll start seeing positive and negative interactions everywhere and attempting to match your partner’s actions. He yelled at you this morning, so you can yell back, but because he brought home flowers you’ll have to give a massage. Marriage becomes an unspoken bartering relationship.

You’ll hide the truth. If you don’t want to lose “points,” you’ll start hiding the things you do that you know could get you into trouble. Otherwise, she could use your actions against you to prove that you’re the bad one and she’s the good one.

You’ll justify bad behavior. It’s okay for you to go out and run up the credit card bill because last month your spouse bought a new flatscreen TV without talking to you first. Or you shouldn’t feel bad about cheating on your partner because he’s never around anyway.

These are the kinds of actions that ruin marriages because you end just trying to hurt each other instead of talking about what’s really bothering you and trying to fix it. Changing behaviors like this takes time and effort, and the first step is recognizing that you’re doing it.

If you and your spouse need help to stop keeping score, call Houston relationship counseling today.