We love being “right” don’t we? In the midst of an intense discussion (argument!) about something, we feel the surge of adrenaline when besting the other person. Who doesn’t love winning?
Hey, the facts were on my side.
Aren’t they always?
And then, there’s marriage – where the consequences of how that argument went down and our “rightness” have an immediate (negative) impact on just about everything.
Do you truly care about the truth of what you were discussing with your husband or wife . . . or is it really about winning – about being the victor, again? Are you sure pressing your advantage wasn’t more about pride than what was best for your relationship? You don’t have to guess. In Proverbs 13:10 says, contention comes from pride.
You’re not experiencing contention with your spouse because ‘truth’ is on the line. It’s happening because you are both prideful.
Being right and being prideful are often two ends of the same stick we use to bludgeon our way to winning. The “truth” can be very deceiving as we convince ourselves it’s the most vital element in any argument. But, it’s important to be correct, isn’t it? Yes, it is. But when it comes to disagreements in marriage, there is something that trumps truth and arguing your spouse into the corner.
That’s right, sometimes emphasizing how right we are is far less important than how much we value our spouse. Beating him/her with the club of correctness won’t get the job done. It will, however, get a job done. It will beat us apart from one another.
Is that what you want? Being right . . . and alone . . . separated emotionally (and often physically) from the person you pledged your life to? No, you don’t want to be alone. So, what’s the way forward?
In most arguments in marriage, truth isn’t the trump card we often think it is. When there’s a disagreement, it’s not a zero-sum game where someone is completely right and the other person is all wrong. How we see the same circumstances is based on perspective, personality and many other subjective factors. And in every disagreement in marriage, there are two sets of those.
And then, there’s maturity – where age and experience have shown you the many times you were so cock-sure you were right but turned out to be wrong. Humility is Maturity’s best friend. Maturity in marriage begins to take root when we realize that our own personal understanding is not the final arbiter of all that is true and correct.
Do you wan’t to grow in maturity and keep from damaging your marriage by always communicating how right you are and how wrong your spouse is? You can choose humility, right now.
How about the next time you “get into it” with your spouse, instead of digging in, you start by saying,
I may be wrong about this but, this is what I’m seeing . . .
. . . and choose to have a discussion instead of an argument? Because you may be wrong and you may be seeing incorrectly. Pride distorts our perception and destroys every relationship it infects. Unyielding certainty in disagreements about subjective matters will put distance between you and the heart of your spouse, leaving no place for humility and no chance for maturity.
And, who wants that for their marriage?
Matt Jacobson is the founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).