After a big political debate, what is the first thing we hear about? Who won and who lost. Does a clear winner ever come out though?
Depending on what source you listen to or who you talk to, it’s fairly common to hear that both candidates “won” or “lost” the debate. But choosing this “winner” fails to help solve any of the problems that were discussed in the debate in the first place. It just continues to divide watchers farther and farther apart.
Unfortunately, most of us have a tendency to look at all arguments and conflicts like this. They’re contests. Battles. Who won? Who lost?
But handling arguments this way in our relationship can be toxic, fostering animosity. It can push you and your partner away from each other – and the kind of positive connection you need to stay together.
Contrary to what you may have heard in popular culture, relationships are not a contest. And they’re certainly not a debate, a game, or a sport.
There are winners and losers. But only in the sense that some people have positive, fulfilling relationships while other people struggle.
Obviously, you want to land on the positive and fulfilling side.
To do this, you have to change the way you think about conflict, and the way I’m going to help you do that is to contradict myself a bit. (It will all make sense soon, I promise!)
Earlier I said that relationships aren’t a sport. While that’s true, I want you to imagine that your relationship is a sport. And that you and your partner are on the same team.
Teammates can have different abilities. They can approach things in a different way. In fact, that variety of viewpoints and skills is what makes them stronger together.
But when you’re playing on a team, you either both win… or you both lose. And “winning” in relationship terms means coming to a solution that will satisfy both of you.
To do this, you have to look for a solution together.
Rather than spending your time defending yourself, or waiting for to your partner to finish detailing their “side” of the argument so you can elaborate on what you think, imagine both points of view as puzzle pieces that need to fit together.
We call relationships “partnerships” for a reason. Treating your partnership like a team will grow the bond between you and your partner, and help you work through conflicts like pros.
Rooting for You!