DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My daughter and her husband are the most competitive couple I know. They always have been, at least since they started dating in their senior year of college. Both were into sports, her softball and him baseball; he did footballs, she did field hockey. He grew up in rec leagues, on travel teams, and playing varsity in high school, just like our daughter.
Even now, although they work in very different fields, they have to one-up the other when it comes time for advancements or recognitions.
To me it seems like insecurity, but I’ve never been very competitive. How can two people with such competitive streaks make a successful marriage? It has me worried since it doesn’t look like this is something that becoming an adult changed for either of them. --- NOT A COMPETITOR
DEAR NOT A COMPETITOR: Competition seems to be one of those ingredients that can either strengthen a relationship if both parties are working toward a common goal, or put stress on it if they’re forever trying to top each other. When your daughter and son-in-law were in school and competing in separate sports, it was one thing. Now they’re competing in life with each other, and that holds the potential for trouble ahead.
It could be time to talk to them about your concerns. They may need to be given a little push to step back and see what they’re doing in the marriage. Like many former athletes, they might not be aware that they’re approaching life like it’s a championship. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s also not necessarily a healthy thing for a couple when they’re each other’s rival.