I’m a man. So therefore I keep score. Of everything.

I could go days upon days secretly tallying my efforts and comparing them to my wife’s efforts. In my mind, she typically comes up a little short.

I think of making breakfast for the children, helping them get dressed, searching for a lost shoe, running outside in my slippers to turn the car on to warm up the van, feeding the baby, driving to school, returning home with two children still in tow, trying to get work done on the computer, doctor appointments, handling telephone meetings with screaming children in the background who seem to raise their decibel level the moment I say “Hello” on the phone.

And every once in a while I fit time in to picture my wife driving to work listening to her favorite cd’s and drinking coffee. You see, feeling wronged and under appreciated is one of my all time favorite habits. I’m quite good at it.

So last week I’m on my way to pick up the kids from school and I was listening to sports radio and one of the hosts mentioned that the team that lost looked like it was playing for a tie and that was surely the best way to lose. And that comment hit me. I’d been playing for a tie.

I was living so as to do half of what needed to be done and making sure my wife did her half as well. But it occurred to me on that little trip back to school that playing for a tie was no way to live. It is most assuredly a way to make yourself miserable, however. It keeps you tallying an abacus of efforts. And pretty soon, you just end up focusing on what your spouse is not doing.

I’ve heard the term a 50/50 relationship but I’m not sure that path to a successful relationship is found there. I think a successful marriage needs to be 100/100 effort on both sides. You’re either all in or don’t join.

I am no longer playing for a tie and now I noticed my wife the other day playing a board game with the children while I attempted to finish up an overdue project on my computer and I noticed the meals she worked hard to create (with vegetables!).

I’m more focused on what I do now and therefore seeing more clearly all that she does. I don’t limit my efforts for fear of doing more than my wife. I’m not keeping score anymore. I’m unconcerned with who’s winning, who’s losing. I’m not playing for a tie and I think we’re winning because of it.