In marriage, competition between partners often creates scarcity- certainly a scarcity of good feelings and often trust as well. We compete believing that there isn’t enough to go around, when ironically it’s the competition that makes that belief true.
It works this way: If both of us assume that there isn’t enough generosity to go around, I will look out for myself and battle for my needs, and you will look out for yourself and battle for yours. Then guess what? Neither of us will care about the needs of the other. And indeed we will be right: There won’t be enough generosity to go around.
The whole thing works very much as it would if we both believed that there was an insufficient amount of food in the house. We competed for what “little” there was, and when we each found some food, we hoarded it.
Situations such as these cry out for cooperative good sense. There is always more to go around when each of us includes the other person in our calculations – and most to go around when we actually take care of each other’s needs.
If you look out for my needs and I look out for yours, what do we have to worry about? All the expenditure of wasted energy and time all the stress and tension and all the corrosive mistrust of each other are eliminated when we genuinely and seriously act to promote each other’s welfare.
So often it is fear pure and simple that prevents anything like this degree of mutual caring and cooperation to occur. Yes, achieving tight cooperation is necessary. But sometimes, for those hungry enough for change, making a simple comparison can provide essential motivation: This is what it costs us when we compete and work against each other’s needs. This is what we could accomplish if we worked together and looked out for each other’s welfare.