Have you ever wondered why we find it so important to be right?
Early in our marriage we realized that we disagreed about a LOT of things.
- Why in the world does she do it that way?
- Does he really think that’s where that goes?
- No, the toilet tissue rolls forward, not backward!
- Yes, I did tell you!!
And on and on. It didn’t take long before we started drawing up battle lines in our relationship. It’s amazing how quickly we went from. “Till death do us part” to “I’m not going out the loser!”
We were young when we married and had a lot to learn about faith, love and commitment. The first few years of our marriage were filled with bouts of anger and tears, with a few sprinkles of laughter and hope. Winning and losing arguments became more important than growing our relationship.
It didn’t make sense. We had dated for four years before getting married, and thought we knew everything about each other. But a few weeks into marriage, we realized that not only did we not know everything about each other; we didn’t know that much about ourselves.
So what do you do when you’re young and scared and angry? We finally decided something had to give. Keeping score of the rights and wrongs wasn’t the answer. It was tearing us to pieces. Somehow we had to come up with an idea and force ourselves to see the humor, and even absurdity, in our arguments. But how?
We did it by agreeing that whenever we had a disagreement and one of us was wrong about something, he or she had to look the other in the eyes and repeat, “You were right, and I was wrong,” ten times. By about the seventh repetition, the importance of the whole thing had lost its meaning. Would you believe there were even occasions when we both had to recite it to each other?
Doesn’t sound like it would work, does it? Maybe you’re thinking, “there’s no way that could take the importance out of winning or losing?” Well, we disagree with you! Let’s assume you are wrong. Try out our theory. Read this out loud, and see if it works for you.
“You were right, and I was wrong. You were right and I was wrong. You were right and I was wrong. You were right and I was wrong. You were right, and I was wrong. You were right, and I was wrong. You were right, and I was wrong. You were right, and I was wrong. You were right, and I was wrong. You were right, and I was wrong.”
Told you so!!
Now, remember, there is no issue that is as important as your relationship. It’s okay to be wrong. Own it and let it go! Then hug each other and get on with life.
Written by : Gary & Lisa Morris
Lisa Morris is a retired RN and Gary Morris is retired from the State of Georgia Dept. of Juvenile Justice. Gary and Lisa have been married for 48 years and have served in various marriage ministries for over 40 years. They have led 80+ Worldwide Marriage Encounter Experiences in over a dozen states and have served in numerous local and national positions including the National Executive Lay Couple for United Methodist Marriage Encounter and the Facilitator Couple for the Worldwide Marriage Encounter Interfaith Board.
What we learned on our Marriage Encounter experience is that it’s not so important to “win” an argument as it is to “listen” to each other’s thoughts, ideas, and issues.