Do you think you are better than me?
No, this question is not “You vs. Me” in a test of parenting skills.
No, it is not a question to be asked between a stay-at-home dad and a working dad.
This question is about your relationship with your spouse.
This was a golden question that came up in a friend’s couple’s therapy. This question, this one question, sent that relationship in a totally new direction. It was a life changing question and one that I felt was worthy and important enough to pass along to you.
Do you think you are better than your spouse?
If you can immediately, truthfully, and enthusiastically answer “No! I am not better than my partner” (without qualifying statements, just yes or no), then I am going to bet you are in a solid committed relationship, rich with mutual respect and authenticity. The odds are that you compliment each other (pun intended) well, recognizing each other’s unique gifts, skills and abilities.
If you have to hesitate and ponder your answer, then odds are your ego wants say “Yes, I am better!” but your authentic self knows the real truth.
If you proudly declare, “Yes! I am better than my partner.” then I smell trouble. You must be able to smell that trouble too with your enormous swelled head and its giant nose.
Is there a danger in believing you are better than your partner? YES!
Is there a danger in admitting they are lucky to be with you? YES!
Is there a danger in feeling like your opinion should carry more weight in family decisions? YES!
Is there a danger in thinking your partner isn’t really worthy of your company and attention? YES!
There is a clear and present danger all around you.
Is anyone really better than anyone else? Don’t we all have our own great strengths and appalling weaknesses?
Can I really look at any other human and say I am better? Least of all your loving partner? How ridiculous is that?
If your ego is starting to drive the bus and call the shots, then it might be time for a harsh reality check.
Please take a piece of “NOT scrap” paper (this is important so grab the good card stock) and write down a Top 10 list of all the things your partner is better than you at. Be sincere and specific. Choose characteristics and behaviours that society values.
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Here are three examples from my list to get you started down the humble path:
1. My partner has an incredible drive and work ethic, and can complete very long to-do lists quickly and efficiently.
2. My partner, although fiery, is quick to let go of her anger, whereas I stew and ruminate for much longer.
3. My partner is never late and is an excellent manager of time.
Seriously, go and make your list. Your relationship condition may depend on you starting to acknowledge everything your partner brings to the table.
No. Don’t do a list of all the things you are better at. I hear you say that list is much easier, but it serves no purpose Mr. Trump.
This humbling little exercise may just save or revive your relationship and improve the climate of your family life. It costs you nothing but your time and an honest and modest assessment.
Are you brave enough to comment??? Are you better than your partner?
Until next time…