1. Admit There Is a Problem
With many problems in life, it’s easier to ignore them. Yet, sweeping these issues under the rug will only cause them to haunt you later. This approach means more hurt feelings and arguments that could eventually tear the marriage apart.
Instead, admit to one another that there is a problem you need to address. This honesty helps you both to put the issue out front, rather than hiding or ignoring it.
2. Have “the” Conversation
After admitting there’s a problem, it’s essential to have a healthy conversation about the competition in your marriage. Consider how the competition started and in which ways it has damaged the relationship.
Make sure this conversation doesn’t become a blame game, though. That can actually trigger the competitive streak in both of you!
If you detect this is happening, then agree to pause the conversation and take some space. Commit to a time when you will be both ready to pick up the dialogue once again.
3. Agree on Your Roles
As part of this discussion, it’s useful to find agreement on which roles both of you should play in the relationship. The main driver behind a competitive attitude in a relationship is often the jealousy of the other partner.
One partner makes more money than the other
There is a mistaken belief that one partner has it “easier” than the other
A feeling that the kids like one parent over the other
Your partner is better at something than you are
Not feeling recognized for your contributions
These reasons occur because of jealousy and a lack of understanding of the roles of each partner. To fix this, talk about which parts each of you is willing to play.
For instance, if both of you work, decide how to divide household tasks and childcare duties equally. The idea is to work towards becoming a well-oiled machine that is in sync with one another.
4. Offer Praise to One Another
It truly does matter when you hear your partner praise and show their appreciation to you for your work and effort. When your partner tells you how much they appreciate what you do, that goes a long way toward tamping down the competition. You feel less like you’re competing against one another and more like you’re working together.
5. Do Something New
A way to both address competitiveness and build a stronger relationship is to do something new together.
For example, let’s say that you are both accomplished runners. Yet, you have identified that the competition between the two of you between is getting out of hand. Why not try a new sport that neither of you has done before?
6. See a Marriage Counselor
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, competition persists in your marriage. If that’s the case, then it’s time to get professional help from a marriage counselor.
By participating in therapy, your counselor will be able to work with you on this issue. They can help identify where this started and provide an open and safe space to talk. This approach is vital so that each of you knows how competitiveness has affected one another.
Your therapist will also be able to guide you both towards finding workable solutions.
A little good-natured competition can be healthy. However, when it gets out of hand, a competitive marriage becomes miserable for each partner. Try following the tips above, but don’t hesitate to talk to a marriage counselor if you need more help.