It’s not about winning

Eric Dorville   -  

Recently our church had a marriage conference we called Re:Kindle. We brought in a great speaker, Dr. Margaret Peterson who shared stories from her marriage as well as spoke from her experience teaching a marriage class at Eastern University and as a Marriage and family counselor. It was a great event (so be sure to join us next time!)

There were many things that went through my head as I was listening to Dr. Peterson. I could probably write several blog pieces about some of the takeaways. Perhaps the most impactful story she shared was about an article from the New York Times in 2013. It was a reader submitted piece which really resonated with me.

The reader told the story of how she and husband took up tennis as a family. It sounds like a nice thing to do, but they are a competitive couple and neither of them liked to lose. She had played tennis growing up, and her husband was naturally athletic so he took to tennis pretty quickly. Then their competitive nature kicked in. The husband had a tendency to make up or change the rules mid game – and often to his advantage which naturally would annoy his wife. Eventually things got so heated they stopped playing altogether. Their relationship was headed down a similar path.

Eventually, with the help of a marriage counselor they worked to improve the quality of their marriage. They stopped keep track of the points of who did what and how often they did it. Soon after, they picked tennis back up – and the husband agreed to play by the real rules.

They tell this story where they keep going back and forth, it’s a tie game and the next group was waiting to get on the court. They knew whoever won the next set would win the game. They found themselves in a position where they wanted to keep playing. They didn’t want the game to end. It wasn’t about losing, it was about rallying to keep the game alive. Neither of them were trying to smash the ball past the other. They wanted to keep going. And they did.

That story is filled with incredible wisdom. When it comes to relationships it can be easy to keep score of who did what, but relationships aren’t about winning the game. What’s most important is rallying to keep the game alive. It’s not about who is right or who is wrong, it’s about how can we bring out the best in each other? How can we encourage and strengthen each other as we go through this journey. We all win when we build each other up, rallying to keep the game alive.

To read the full story from the New York Times, click here.