Relationship, Competition and Marriage
Relationship, competition and another exciting Thursday that make us want to break out in song. From the musical, Cabaret, our theme song for today is Maybe This Time. Well, really it is just one part sung over and over; ‘everybody loves a winner. So nobody loved me’. So warm up your vocal cords and sing out loud our relationship anthem here on your CoupleDumb. (Please read the above introduction with Ryan Seacrest’s voice and maybe add some flashing lights at the end. Thank you.)
Paul says: Everything that we write about on CoupleDumb is our attempt to create stronger relationships in life. From smacking down Beck because he promotes a lifestyle of distrust to sharing our deepest insights about our shadows, we write this stuff because we truly want to see people happy with their relationships. Much of the tidbits of wisdom that Lee and I offer circle around that scary ‘something’ that is in each of us, that secret ‘something’ that we keep dumping into our relationships.
When you look across the table at that person with whom you want to spend your life, whether they are your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, civil partner, common law spouse, or your other half in the eyes of God, do you see them as part of your team? Do they see you as part of their team? Do you see yourself as a teammate?
Now at first blush, I figure everyone is going to give the ‘of course I’m a teammate. Hell, I’m the quarterback’ answer. (BTW, if you gave the quarterback answer and can’t figure out why that may not be the best response, please go back to the beginning of CoupleDumb and reread all of it, this time taking notes.) Then I realized that our readers are insightful and introspect. I was also watching Glee at the time. Since I get all of my insights from TV, when the main character belted out the line, ‘everybody loves a winner. So nobody loved me’ I thought to myself that that is the underlying belief that makes us sabotage our marriages with petty competitions. I also thought to myself that the woman who plays the cheerleading coach is hilarious, but that is not really important now.
OK, Mr. and Mrs. ‘I don’t compete’, more probing questions for you. If you are both career people, can one person make more than the other? Can you make 35 grand a year while your wife makes 235,000? Is it alright that one of you works 16 hours a week and the other works 16 hours a day? Even without the huge salary gradient, who makes dinner? Why? Is it a gender issue or is one just better at it? How do you know that one is better?
That is enough questions because I think the point is made. When I am writing about competition in a relationship, I am also talking about all of the personal baggage that comes with it. It is not whether or not Lee can knock out a dinner that is yummier than mine. What I take away from the dinner is the important part. Did she just make a great meal for the team or did she just one-up me one more time? It’s my decision. (Boy, I hope that she cooks tonight.)
Lee says: One of the most detrimental things in a marriage is competition. If you keep score in anything from who cooks or how much housework you do to how many times has your partner initiated sex, you are toying with the death knell to your relationship. It is the score sheet that ultimately kills a couple. When you sit down and review your relationship, the first thing you think of is what? How much do I love this person? DO they love me as much as I love them? What have they done for me lately? All of these questions come from a place of ‘I’m doing more than you, fucker!’
Friends don’t help because all they see and judge is their idea of partner participation. For example: You are at a party and your partner brings you a drink or is seen winking at you from across the room or even better, spends the night kissing your neck and rubbing your ass. Wait a second, what kind of party is this? Regardless, the actions of your partner is what is noted and perceived to be a good or bad husband, wife, etc…
Paul is perceived to be good since he is fully participatory with the household, childrearing, cooking and exhibits affection. I’m sure in the hubby world he would be the king and win all competitions. But in my world, those things help but I am more interested in how he loves me and how I love him. How do I feel when I am with him? Can he ring my bell before one of the kids interrupts us? In these there is no competition. I know I can ring his bell in record time.