Most people enjoy succeeding or winning. But having to be right or constantly competing with your partner is detrimental to your relationship. Too frequently score keeping leads to hard feelings. It increases tension and fear and reduces trust. Choosing to relax and enjoy the journey together makes for a more harmonious home.
Couples compete on many points: who apologizes the most; who makes more money; who does more at home; who has the better job; who does more at the church or in the community; who is more involved with the kids; who has better friends. The possibilities are endless. Underneath it all the source of competition can be insecurity and the need for validation or approval from others. Some use being right or best as a way to get validation and boost their sense of self.
Does it have to be a competition? Consider the following questions:
- Do I have to have the last word? Do I have to prove that I am right?
- Am I gleeful when I can prove my partner wrong? Am I watching for ways that my partner missteps or stumbles so I can point it out?
- How am I inviting competition into our relationship? What could I say, do or think differently that might help?
- Do I express gratitude to and about my partner? Could I do this more often?
To stop the competition begins with you. You cannot control what your partner says or does, but you can start to make different choices for yourself.
- Make the choice to cooperate rather than compete in your relationship. Recognize that when you both win your joy is doubled. If you have to win; you make it so your partner has to lose.
- Learn to enjoy your partner’s accomplishments. Become each other’s best cheer section.
- Try competing with yourself instead of with your partner. Perhaps you can find little ways that you can be better each day. Challenge yourself to find your personal best. Stop comparing yourself to your partner or to others.
- Take responsibility for self-validation. Do not allow your self worth be determined by whether you are always right. Letting go of having to win all the time, may make your life more enjoyable.
If you want to stop competing as a couple start by making different choices yourself. You can then invite your partner to talk things through. Remember to listen twice as much as you talk. Consider ending the competition between you and look more toward becoming a team, cooperating as you win together.