Who are my competitive people out there? The ones who don’t want to play but only want to win? What is it about winning that is so much fun? I enjoy winning a lot but when I realize I can’t win, well I take a step back and just say, ah it doesn’t matter. I don’t put nearly as much effort into the game once I know I’ve lost.
Joe isn’t very competitive but he doesn’t like to lose. Not so much lose games and things in real life, but he was in so many no-win situations in his childhood that he doesn’t like the feeling of having all the cards stacked against him, of feeling helpless. He wants to be in a place where he can say, hey I can do something to fix this.
Marriage is not about who’s winning or who’s losing. That’s a house divided against itself. If one of you loses, you both lose. Whatever conflict you find yourself in, no matter who did what, both of you have to win in the end for the marriage to survive. Period. There has to be a way to get back to okay. If one of you feels like you’re always losing, don’t be surprised if they don’t feel like even working on the marriage. The cards are already stacked against them so what’s the point again?
When Joe and I get frustrated with each other, our favorite tool in our toolbox is to say, “Hey I need a win here.” Translated; I get what you’re saying, but what do I need to say or do to resolve it? How do we get back to good? Just finding out I’m a loser doesn’t help me move forward.
Give your spouse a win. Give him credit for where he’s doing it right. Tell him when he’s knocking it out of the park. Don’t resort to playing games- that goes back to the winner-loser mindset. When he fails, be clear in how he hurt you and how he can best resolve it.