How do you maximize the payout for both parties (in the couple) in any exchange? That is called “the Nash equilibrium and predicts staying together because it is a high trust strategy,” writes John Gottman, PhD- they are signaling that they have one another’s back. (Thank you to the late John Nash for your work and may you rest in peace.)
This is in contrast to me going for a strategy that only benefits me (I win, you lose). While Win-lose is also selfish, it signals that I do not have your back. That I care only about my needs and what I can get out of this interaction. I do not have to treat you with respect or look out for your needs. Win-lose is about the battle and you may think you won that battle, but you will lose your marriage if that is how you operate.
In every situation, look out for your partner’s best interest, their highest good, without selling yourself out. This makes you happier.
Would you believe this works the same way for your ex as it does for your current relationship? Your children do better when you truly want, and act on, what is best for both of you.
This also works in friendships. Pursue only your interest and you will not be happy very long.
Goal: Pursue what is the highest good for all.