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September 29, 2015

Right & Wrong

Hal photo outside Feb2012To keep your marriage brimming,

With love in the loving cup,

Whenever you’re wrong admit it;

Whenever you’re right shut up.

(Ogden Nash)


At one point, during a heated argument, Jenny paused mid-sentence, and proclaimed that I had won the argument. “Ok, you’re right. You win.”

And then she turned around and left the room. That is the definition of a hollow victory.

The dumbest arguments couples enter into have to do with fact. “It was a Tuesday, remember?!?” “No, it was a Thursday, ‘cause that was the week your mother came to visit, remember?!?” “No, that was the following week…” And blah, blah, blah.

Ever work really hard to prove yourself factually right, and end up feeling relationally wrong in the process? This is because the goal is not to have your partner validate you as a victor. The goal is grow closer out of mutual respect for each other’s unique positions.

In the process, you will find yourselves learning about times when your unique position is based on a fallacy, and vice-versa. That’s when Nash’s advice above is so helpful. If you want to win at something in your marriage, be the first to apologize when you’re wrong.

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