This month, I am considering the kind promise “I will love without keeping score.”

I’ve found this promise especially helpful in times of illness or disability. (For me, that’s every day.)

It’s the scorekeeping that’s the problem. When you are ill, you may need someone to take care of you. A romantic or life partner may become the caregiver. That changes things. What used to feel like an equal partnership may feel one-sided. For instance, since I am now quadriplegic, my husband does all the housework and takes care of me. There is little I can do in return. We both sometimes feel trapped.

He can’t go on an overnight trip. I can’t take care of myself. Options for outside help are limited.

It’s not about love, but it affects our relationship and therefore our feelings of love.

It’s easy for caregivers to grow resentful of care receivers. We are constantly asking for help: more water, some food, take away dirty dishes, clean the clothes… It begins to sound like Cinderella’s to do list.

It’s not a problem to be solved. It’s a situation to be acknowledged. We can try for clear and honest communication. We can remind ourselves and each other of the love in us and between us. We can choose to love first and love large – without keeping score.

In your journal:

  • Write about about a time you were a caregiver for or receiver from someone you loved.
  • What does “clear and honest” communication sound like?
  • What are other situations you’ve experienced that make a relationship unequal?