Behind the Scenes

Are You Keeping Score?

by Ezra Firestone



In your relationships, how do you decide who has what responsibilities—who does what? Is it tit for tat: I’ll do this if you do that?

We find that responsibilities are an opportunity to either win or lose in your relationship, and we choose to take a novel approach:

Do what you do in your relationship because you want to do it as a way to love your partner.

Watch my latest video for more on responsibilities, and how to avoid obligation and resentment.

Video Highlights:
0:04 A lot of people get in fights in their relationships over responsibilities
0:18 It’s an opportunity to either win or lose in your relationship
0:25 People like to do tit for tat
0:40 A novel approach to responsibility
1:02 If you’re keeping score with your partner, you’re not on the same team
1:25 Whatever you’re doing in your relationship, do it because you want to
2:00 Obligation is a recipe for resentment
2:45 It takes being comfortable voicing the things you do and don’t want to do
3:15 What if we both don’t want to do it?
3:50 Take the mind frame of, This is an opportunity to love my partner
4:10 Getting out of the tit for tat mindset allows you to see situations in a new light
4:35 Outtakes



Click Here For Video Transcript

Ezra: A lot of people get in fights in their relationships over responsibilities. Who’s doing what? Those diapers need to be changed, those kids need to be picked up, those dishes need to be done—all these kinds of things. Responsibilities will come up. It’s an opportunity for you to win in your relationship or lose in your relationship.

Here’s a novel approach to handling responsibility—It’s sort of a controversial one: People like to do tit for tat. You do this and I’ll do this, you do this and I’ll do this. I don’t want to do all that accounting. I don’t want to worry about what other people are doing. It’s just too much, and it’s also an opportunity for betrayal. If they don’t do the thing they’re supposed to do, then you’re upset at them. How about doing the things your partner doesn’t like to do? Showing up and taking responsibility, and doing those things as a way to make love to them.

Carrie doesn’t like to take out the trash, and she doesn’t like to scoop out the cat litter, and she doesn’t like to do the dishes—so I do those things.

Carrie: Well, I do the dishes.

Ezra: Well, you do them now, because we have a dishwasher.

Carrie: It’s true.

Ezra: But you do do them now, but you know what I’m saying here.

Carrie: Oh absolutely. If you are keeping score with you partner, you are not on the same team.

Ezra: Exactly. All this score keeping is a recipe for animosity, and fighting and betrayal.

Carrie: Whatever you’re doing in your relationship, do it because you want to do it. Don’t do it because you have to because the other person did the thing. That’s a terrible way to live.

Ezra: Ha, just tell it to them.

Carrie: Well, then it’s like, I’m only happy to do this thing if you’re doing that thing.

Ezra: Right, right.

Carrie: I’m only happy to make you dinner if you do the dishes.

Ezra: Right, right.

Carrie: I’m happy to make dinner, because I want to make dinner.

Ezra: Do the things because you want to do them, because it feels good to do them. Don’t do the because—the word here is obligated—because you feel obligated. Obligation is no reason to do anything. Obligation is a recipe for resentment. And the last thing you want is to resent your partner. It does not feel good to resent you partner.

Carrie: No, and also trust that both of you want everything to be done.

Ezra: Yes, exactly.

Carrie: And take it a step further, trust that both of you want everything to be done in a way that feels good to both of you.

Ezra: And you really do. You want everything to be done, and you want your partner to feel good, and do the things that they want to do and you want to do the things that you want to do. It’s a conspiracy, it’s a collaboration. (More about this in my post on the Core Conspiracy Concept.) You can win by approaching this from the viewpoint that you actually want to show up and do those things. And that’s what a relationship takes: It takes eternal vigilance. It takes showing up every day with interest and enthusiasm and desire and curiosity.

Carrie: Yeah, and it takes knowing yourself well enough to feel good about voicing what it is that you do want to do and what you don’t want to do. And, a lot of times we come into a situation and we have an idea of what we think we should do. Like, oh well, I should do the dishes.

Ezra: Or, I should mow the lawn. I should want to do this, but I don’t.

Carrie: If you don’t want to, then be straight about that. Then work together with your partner to figure out a way that everything can get done in a way that feels good to everybody.

Ezra: The question is going to come up: Well, what if we both don’t want to do it?

Both: Well… You do it together.

Ezra: I was looking to you for some kind of an answer there. I put you on the spot—sorry about that.

Carrie: Well this is the thing. This is how you work it out together and stay on the same team. Something comes up and you both don’t want to do it, it doesn’t atomically become Ezra’s job because I’ve done this other thing. It’s not about oh, I can make you do this thing that neither of us want to do because I have all this ammo from all these other things that I’m doing.

Ezra: And I think the mind frame of the opportunity to love your partner—that’s a good frame, and I use that a lot. It’s like, this is an opportunity for me to take care of and love Carrie right now. She doesn’t want to do this thing. I might not want to do it either, but I do because I want to do that thing for her, or I want to do that thing for us. It’s a way for us to win.

Carrie: When you switch your mind out of that tit for tat keeping score, it opens you up to see a situation in a new light, as a way to make love to your partner as opposed to just a way you can not do something you don’t want to do.

Ezra: That’s a plane in the background. We’re here in our backyard in New York, near the Hudson River. Thanks for watching our video, catch up with you soon. Ezra Firestone.

Carrie: Carrie Firestone.

Ezra: SmartMarketer.com. We’ll check ya later.

Ezra: Testerson, testerson, Clint Hesterson.

Carrie: Testerson, testerson, Molly Westerson. Testing to see if my shirt and stain is visible.

Ezra: You know I’m putting that in, right?

Carrie: Of course.

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