Do You Play the Giving Game with Your Spouse?

BY: - 16 Jan '14 | Marriage

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This idea was recently shared in a comment on an article I had written. The article focused on actions needed to maintain a healthy relationship. This reader stated that she and her husband frequently play the giving game; where their individual goal is to out give their partner. No, not in expensive gifts, but in the areas that matter the most. I love this concept and I truly believe it has the power to transform marriages everywhere.

At the top of every list on building a healthy marriage, you will find making your spouse a priority. If you’re wondering what that means, here’s what putting your spouse first, and playing the giving game actually looks like:


People don’t normally think of ways to out give someone. We are usually focused on our own interests. Finding ways to have our needs met are normally our priority. This thinking easily allows for us to neglect our partner’s needs. We’ve all heard the popular saying, “it is better to give than to receive”. Not only is it true, but there are so many benefits that come along with being a giver. The feeling that comes with making someone else feel good is priceless. Our spouse should always be that someone else. Giving our love, time, energy, and support, without expecting anything in return, is giving at its best.


Another amazing way to transform a marriage is by sacrificing. This means sometimes we have to do without so that our partner can feel loved, desired, safe, etc. It isn’t always easy, but can be quite rewarding for the marriage as a whole. Love is all about sacrifice. In many ways this one is a confirmation of love. When our spouse shares one of their needs, even when sometimes it makes no sense to us, true sacrifice is about meeting that need. Especially if it, in some way, positively benefits the relationship.


Certain things just don’t matter in a relationship. Focusing on the negatives and the drama result in damaged relationships. That which isn’t a big deal, let’s not make it a big deal.

Minimizing the drama, maximizes the time we could be spending on loving and being loved.

The giving game won’t always be as easy as it sounds. There will be days we want to quit playing the game because we feel our spouse isn’t worth it, or they aren’t playing it as well as we are. In those moments we should push even harder. One of the biggest rules in the giving game is that we shouldn’t be tied to the results. The true intent is to give because we truly want to give, not because we expect our partner to do the same. With every game we play we do want to come out as the winner. When our spouse is happy and satisfied, we will be also.

BMWK, do you play the giving game with your spouse?

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and a Career Coach/Trainer. She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Ebony Magazine, and on the Michael Baisden Show. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two children. For more of Tiya's fearless life and love wisdom, visit her blog at


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