How couples can use teamwork to improve their relationship.

Jason Brien.

     For anybody who has ever placed a bet before in their life, chances are they were strongly motivated to do so only because the odds were in their favour. With gambling, if the odds are not in your favour, then the risk of committing resources (in this case money) to such a highly improbable outcome is, for most people at least, extremely discouraging. Most people want a sure bet. They want to make sure that they are backing the right horse. They want to feel that they have a degree of control and that they are minimising their chances of losing whilst still enjoying the experience of taking a risk on a ‘fantasy’ outcome. This is why people who play the lottery for example, despite the odds being strongly stacked against them, buy multiple tickets, play weekly or never change their lottery numbers. The fantasy here is winning the ultimate jackpot and by buying the multiple tickets etc, the individual is trying to maximise their chances of winning by trying to put the odds in their favour.

     Intimate relationships are much like this. Two people desiring a ‘fantasy’ outcome (a husband, wife, partnership or soul-mate) take a risk by coming together and forming an intimate relationship. Now to both parties, depending on how well the two knew each other before forming the relationship, the odds of this fantasy outcome occurring is, ultimately, against both of them. Nobody should enter into a relationship automatically thinking that they can guarantee the other party a 100% risk free outcome. Nobody is perfect. People change and mature during their lives thus rendering them incompatible despite the connection they may have first felt. Humans are not always immune to a strong sudden spark of romantic interest that they experience as a result of meeting someone new.

     Humans are not immune to masking their true malevolent intentions until it is too late and damage has been caused. An intimate relationship is the uniting of two previously independent people with fixed beliefs, behaviours, habits etc which may or may not be compatible. Both parties are risking emotional, behavioural and financial time and resources in an attempt to achieve the ‘fantasy’ outcome. Therefore, in order to make the ‘fantasy’ outcome more likely (successful marriage/partnership/soul mate), both parties will need to figure out a way to reduce the odds of them failing whilst maximising the odds of them succeeding.

     How do they do this? TEAMWORK. Ideally, both parties come into the relationship with the mindset of “This person is taking a risk on me. The odds are against them somewhat because they don’t really know me all that well. What actions can I perform to help increase these odds in their favour and thus make this risk/gamble more appealing to him/her?” Being trustworthy, reliable and honest for example helps your partner to see you as having favourable odds so to speak by making them feel secure in their choice to gamble on the belief that you are unlikely to significantly deceive or abandon them in the future.

     Likewise, having the ability to secure your own financial resources/assets may lead your partner to feel more secure that the odds of them being damaged financially in the future is reduced as well as maximising the odds that you will be able to contribute financially with future holidays, assets, couple goals etc. Making time for your partner now gives your partner favourable odds that you will continue to do so in the future.

     With this ‘I want to present myself to others with the most favourable odds possible’ mindset, you are encouraging others to take a gamble on you and, by seeking out others with the same mindset, you are encouraging yourself to take a not-so-risky gamble on others. You are also ensuring that you yourself are putting constant effort and resources daily, weekly and yearly into the relationship which is what successful relationships require. In saying this however, it is not about changing or compromising yourself or your identity solely to secure a relationship with another. That is never healthy.  

     Rather it is about making a conscious choice to present yourself and your values, morals etc authentically and consistently to your partner on a daily basis knowing that by doing so you are empowering them to make an informed gamble/risk based on the odds that you are presenting them. If both parties enter the relationship with this ‘win-win’ mindset, then the choice to take a risk and gamble on an unknown outcome will appear to be more and more of a good decision as time goes on thus leading to a stronger sense of love, satisfaction, security, trust, respect and intimacy between the couple.

     If one or both parties come in with a ‘lose-lose’ or ‘I win you lose’ mindset, then the gamble will be looked upon unfavourably leading to one or both parties feeling a great deal of resentment, contempt and spite. In any intimate relationship between two or more people, all parties bear the responsibility for the ultimate success or failure of the relationship. No one party is ever solely to blame.