Today I conclude my series on Healthy Stepparenting tips. I want to focus on an intentional action we can take to stabilize our relationships during and after periods of conflict. It’s a simple suggestion that carries a lot of weight: Don’t keep score.

When we’ve been hurt or wronged by someone else, it’s easy to get caught up in negative thoughts toward that person. If we don’t forgive them, bitterness will creep in as we start tracking every misdeed.

What do we gain by keeping score when our spouse or stepchild wrongs us? Will it change their behavior? Does it offer any positive result for us?

Keeping score allows a prideful spirit to insist our way is right. It gets in the way of reconciliation as it airs an attitude of self-righteousness.

When we’ve been wronged, we can choose to forgive and let it go.

Perhaps we’re keeping score because we can’t overlook minor offenses. Or maybe we tend to be overly sensitive and react with anger or hurt feelings to every irritation we encounter. Some people like to dwell on other’s faults because it keeps them from looking at their own faults.

Keeping score is a dangerous game in relationships. It may offer a temporary sense of satisfaction but leads to long-term bondage. When we hold a grudge and keep track of other’s offenses, we invite disharmony into our home.

Forgiveness offers freedom. It’s an intentional choice. And it’s a choice worth making time and again.

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