Hi Folks, this is part 2 of my series of relationship advice for a healthy relationship.
I'll start with the work of Dr. Panksepp and his discovery of the mammalian play circuit. Panksepp did an observational experiment with rats. Male rats like to wrestle with each other as a form of play. If a rat was 10% bigger, that mouse can win 100% of the time. If you would expect the goal of the game was to win, then the bigger rat would win every game. But that's not what happens. What happens is the bigger rat lets the little rat win 30% of the time. Then you might ask, why? The answer is because, if the little rat doesn't win at least 30% of the time, the little rat won't invite the big rat to play.
He discovered that there's an intrinsic need for fairness within mammals.
Now how does this relate to the human experience? Let's start with an abstract explanation. You can imagine every interaction you have is a small game. While playing this game, you can decide if you want to win or lose. Let's say you decided to win. Great. But the game doesn't end there. You're invited to play again. You win. Then again, you win, then again and again and again. Then it gets to the point where you're no longer invited to play. What does it mean when you're not invited to play? It means you've lost.
That's the meta game. That's the game of life. How many times can you get invited to play? The winner of the meta game is the person who get's invited to play, all the time.
So here's an actual example of this playing out in the real world. You have a spouse. And you're playing the game of husband and wife. You get into an argument. Lets say your spouse did something stupid. Okay. What's your response? You can argue and beat your spouse verbally into submission. Great. You won the argument. Now what? Well, do it 10 more times and see what happens. Now your spouse no longer wants to play with you. What game were you playing? Well, you were playing the game of communication. And all you wanted to do was win that game. Now your spouse doesn't want to communicate with you.
There's a way to play the game where the other person isn't left defeated. And what's even better, there's a way to play the game where BOTH party wins at the same time. Maybe instead of winning the argument, maybe your goal instead was to help your partner overcome their stupidity. Then what do you have after that? You're partner is no longer the same idiot they were before. That's great. And you get to be with a person who's less of an idiot! And on top of that, you get invited to play again! That's a win/win/win situation.
I consider this to be a fundamental truth in our human existence. The truth of winning the game of life should trump the truth of winning the one game. There's many ways to be correct, but if you want to be the most correct, the answer is to play the game in a way that you're invited to play tomorrow.
Part 1 - Being honest