Is Competition in Married Life Healthy?
Some spouses compete with each other all the time. They are constantly trying to one-up each other in their careers, income and parenting, among other things.
The thing about marital competition in married life though is that it can turn ugly really quick. Competition and comparison creates division and turns your partner into your opponent. It also makes it difficult to feel secure in the relationship.
What causes competition in marriage?
Marital competition is usually the result of insecurity. If you feel like you have to out-earn your spouse, you’re probably insecure about your financial contribution to the marriage.
Competition can also be the result of jealousy. For instance, almost everyone wants to be the “cool parent” that the kids are excited to see come home, so it’s only natural to be a little jealous of the “cool parent”.
What can you do about marital competition?
The first step is to remind yourself that you and your spouse are one flesh. A marriage where spouses compete with each other goes against the principles of Christian marriage, and does not glorify God.
Secondly, talk to your spouse about the competition you’ve noticed and work together to figure out the source. Identify the underlying insecurity or jealousy that is making you so competitive.
Then, figure out ways to be more of a team. For starters, the person who’s doing better can offer to help the one who’s struggling. If one of you gets to spend more time with the kids than the other, figure out what you can do to make it fairer. Similarly, if one is you is considered the “cool parent” because he or she is always playing good cop while the other is playing bad cop, work on presenting a more united front to the kids.
Treating your spouse like he or she is your opponent can turn a healthy marriage into an unhappy one really fast. Married life should be all about team work not competition.