It is no secret that men are competitive. We want to be the best at every sport. We want the same for our children. We want to be in the top position in our jobs. And we want to have the newest cars and gadgets on the market.
However, this mentality does not seem to transition into relationships. While it is true that men want to have the most attractive girlfriend or spouse, there does not appear to be any competition for being married the longest or being the most faithful. This, I believe, is a large reason why so many men excel in sports, but not relationships.
Competition is the reason we push ourselves. Just look at any Nike™ or Gatorade™ advertisement. It does not necessarily have to do with the ability to beat someone else, as we often compete against ourselves. The ability to Just Do It™ is essential when the body becomes tired.
This concept applies equally outside of the sports context. When we are exhausted at work, the desire to become partner gives us the extra strength to work through the night. Likewise, when an attractive woman flirts with us, the desire to be 100% faithful gives us the ability to turn her down.
I realize that the goal of being 100% faithful requires perfection, but some goals for which men aspire require perfection: pitching a no-hitter or Dirk Nowitzki’s 24 for 24 playoff record for free throws. The fact that pitching a no-hitter is difficult does not deter pitchers from trying to do so; to the contrary, the difficulty provides the motivation to meet that challenge.
That’s the way I feel about being monogamous. I am 26 years old and engaged. Numerous people have told me that I will cheat at some point in my life. I could think, “Well, statistically speaking, they are right,” or I could use this as motivation to prove them wrong. I choose the latter and I firmly believe that more men would be committed if they began their relationship with a goal of being 100% committed.
Unfortunately, many men start relationships believing that it is possible that they could cheat sometime in the future. However cheating, unlike pitching a no-hitter, is exclusively within the man’s control. Every man who cheats does so because he wants to.
Competing in the realm of commitment is the most important measure in a relationship. Competing to have the most attractive wife is pointless because looks fade and you can always seek a more attractive second wife. Competing for the longest marriage is admirable, but it has nothing to do with how you were as a husband. You can cheat or be physically and verbally abusive and be married 50 years.
It is only competition for commitment that makes men think twice before acting like Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards, Anthony Weiner, Kwame Kilpatrick, Mark Sanford, Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, Arnold Schwarzenegger, etc. I used the phrase “think twice” because competition for commitment will not eradicate cheating. Ironically, these men are very competitive, but not where it matters most.
Rather, if these and all men set 100% commitment as their goal, they will be less likely to settle for anything less. A one-hitter is a great game, but it is not a no-hitter. Similarly, cheating just once may be forgiveable, but it still falls short of 100%.