For many people, competition is fun. We join table tennis and card game groups and love to root for the home team. In relationships, however, winning takes on a new meaning. I’ve often heard individuals say with confidence–and no irony–that they always win in relationship conflicts. This is a little disturbing because if one individual is always winning, one is always losing.
Think about it. Do you like losing all the time? Do you stay engaged in a game or a relationship where you can’t ever win?
During a conversation early in my marriage, my mate and I talked about our interaction and he said when we argued, he felt like I had a machine gun and he had a Civil War cannon. It’s a great image and I realized he felt that he could never win with me. Danger signs began flashing.
He’s right. I do speak rapidly when upset and I can argue till the cows come home, but I wanted my mate to want to come home. I knew that if he was always losing in our interactions, he soon wouldn’t want to be with me. Wanting to be a winner is human nature. The most powerful relationships are those in which we feel desired and valued–and that includes having our mates listen to us and care about our feelings.
Winning isn’t a great relationship concept. We need to learn collaborative interacting–learn to listen and get our mate’s perspective, just as we want our mate to get ours.