It is both difficult and rewarding to play with your spouse. Difficult because the emotions and anger tend to be overwhelming. “If you loved me you would have given me my ruff!” One tends to take partner’s errors personally when you are married to him. The rewarding part of playing with your spouse is having a great bidding system because you can talk about bridge any time of day or night and bid the monthly Bulletin and Bridge World hands together. “Did you see that article on the Lebensohl variation, shall we play it?”
Steve and I were so angry at each other after the last regional we played that we were ready to quit playing with each other. So I contacted good friend Matthew Granovetter of Bridge Today and asked him for some coaching help. Who better than the author with his wife Pam of the ACBL Bridge Bulletin bridge column showing both sides of an issue?
So he asked us to each send separate and private emails explaining the problems in our partnership. We also sent him a few hands where we thought the other was absolutely crazy. He responded not by telling us who was right or wrong but by counseling us on how to behave towards each other at the table. No one is perfect, we all make errors. The trick is not to get emotionally involved in your partner’s mistakes. Best not to discuss hands at the table and try to treat your partner with love and respect.
So some ten coaching emails later we played together at the recent national championships in San Francisco. We had each played four days with other partners since I played in the women’s events. Then we took a day off and relaxed and saw family. So by the time we were playing together again we were refreshed and eager to play with each other. The result was astounding. After two days of play, we had won the National Senior Mixed Pairs! Full details in the daily Bulletin here http://www.acbl.org/nabc/2012/03/bulletins/db8.pdf
So my advice to all of you having partnership issues is to find a good coach! Thank you Matthew!
One more thought, when you have exhausted the basic lessons here you might consider his Bridge University.