Does You Relationship Feel Like a Competition?

Competition is the American way. Who is the best athlete, student, employee, or even friend? Who is the best? But when it comes to a marriage and relationship with the person you love it should no longer be about competition, in fact the two of you are supposed to be on the same team. You are partners, you are there to support and look after each other. Having each others back. So why does it feel like your partner has become the enemy or you are trying to win in an argument? 

When there is a conflict between the two of you the goal is not to win but to come to a solution that works for both of you. A win/win solution. If it is a win/loose solution then the person who looses ends up feeling resentful or used and after time these feelings will rise to the surface. If it is hard for you to compromise and your Moto is “My way or the highway” then this is a problem. In a healthy relationship you consider your partners views and feelings when you are making a decision. It’s not all about you. 

Trying to outshine you partner is another red flag in the relationship. If your partner does something that results in praise or a reward, the healthy response would be to be happy for them and to congratulate them but if you feel a need to upstage your spouse or minimize their accomplishment then this will result in bitterness. It is important to allow your spouse to take the limelight sometimes. Let them have their moment and hold your tongue or join in on the praise. As the spouse you should be their biggest cheerleader. 

Another red flag would be keeping score of who has done what for whom. Bringing up past hurts and mistakes is one way to remind your partner of their shortcomings and moving them down in the score column. In a disagreement this does not help move you on to a solution. You may want to be recognized for your contribution by pointing our all you have done, moving yourself up in the score column, but this sends a message of “I’m doing more than you”. Your goal should not be to make your contribution known instead it should be to focus on working together for a common good. 

It’s important to take notice if there is some competition going on in the marriage. Try to understand some of the underlying reasons for it. One reason someone pushes to be on top and win may be because they are actually insecure and may overcompensate by pushing to be on top. They are afraid to be vulnerable and show those insecurities. If you notice this in your spouse then talk to your spouse about what you are noticing and try to find ways to work together as a team rather than trying to step on one another to get ahead.

Written by Lisa Strong


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