Thursday, March 19, 2009

Relationship Building ... Thru Tetris?

We got a couple of my old favorite video games for Wii - Dr. Mario and Tetris. They are both just like the classic games, but Tetris has a few other features that are pretty fun. In Wii Tetris Party, up to 4 people can play at a given time and there are lots of different competitions available. There is also a cooperative mode that A and I have been playing with mixed results. In this mode, both players get the long straight peice, but only one player gets all the squares, L's and J's and the other player gets all of the T's, S's and Z's.

We've found several ways that Cooperative Tetris is like a relationship:

1. Team building - We're working together to clear lines off the screen and that requires figuring out how we want to do certain things. Just like in our relationship when we're trying to accomplish something or just get along. We noticed that when we don't talk about our strategies, we don't do as well. Point taken, I hope.

2. Stress management - When the pieces start coming more quickly or if we make a mistake and things start stacking up, we find ourselves freaking out and sometimes even yelling at one another! Yeah, it's only a game, but think about it - when stresses start building up in a relationship, how do you cope?

3. Seeing the other's point of view. - Despite playing this game a lot, A and I have always played the same side - I've always had the Z's and S's and he's always had the L's and J's - until last night. After getting frustrated with me for always "coming over to his side," A decided we should switch roles and see how we did. I compared it to a role play like a counselor might suggest - he had no idea how hard it was to play with those pieces and understood my strategies and invasions into his territory so much better. And I got a window into why my coming over to his territory would be so annoying to him.

I don't necessarily think any counselors are going to be prescribing team Tetris for couples having trouble, but I do find myself surprised at the lessons from this unexpected source. Just another reminder that when the student is ready, the teacher will be there.

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