I am super competitive and I hate to lose, whether a game or an argument. Obviously, this causes some problems with my husband, who also likes to win. How do I handle this?
This past fall, our granddaughter made it through the quarterfinals of the Nat Geo Bee at her school. She was so proud to advance, and then absolutely and utterly crushed to be eliminated in the first round of the finals. Not winning is a hard thing for us all, because we are wired to want to win.
We want to win. It’s in our DNA. But the all-consuming desire to win can make us miserable.
It is no fun to play a game or have a conversation with someone whose only goal is to win. When winning requires the crushing of another person it is so not worth it. Whether it’s a game or an argument, we can defuse a heated situation by agreeing to disagree, by surrendering the point, or by deciding to rejoice with the other person when they win. Whatever the situation, when we deemphasize the need to win the relationship comes out on top.
As I shared with my granddaughter, the sooner we can give up the need to win, the happier we will be. Is the desire to win all bad? Of course not – it is what drives us to be our best. But as is true in so many areas of life, too much of a good thing is still too much. Relationships flourish in an atmosphere of self-sacrifice, not in a fight for first place. And the sooner in life we can learn this lesson the better. We will not always win. When we give up the need to win, we poise ourselves for something much greater. The possibilities in marriage are endless when we set aside our need to come in first and make a run for the end of the line (think about that). My husband and I can both be competitive, but this concept “racing to the end of the line” has revolutionized our views on the need to win. All of a sudden, it is more important to come in last than first, and we are so much happier.
It would be good for all of us to memorize the verse below, repeating it silently every time we’re tempted to put our desire to win above our relationships.
In humility value others above yourself, not looking to your own interests,
but each of you to the interests of the other. —Philippians 2:4 (NIV)