There are some stories and moments in our marriage that we don’t let our spouses live down, right? Early on when we were dating, Joe and I had a disagreement about who wrote the song, “It is Well With My Soul”. Growing up in the church, I knew it was a classic hymn while Joe, immersed mostly in Christian Contemporary music at the time, told me that it was written by Wayne Watson. (You can laugh, its okay.) So that led to a several hour argument about it, until finally he believed me that the song predated Wayne Watson. This was before Google, so I think I had to show him an actual hymn book. Anyway I can poke fun at him now since he’s been in the Christian music industry for over twenty years, knows every liner note on every album, and I don’t dare question his authority in that area 🙂 (Trust me. He was Shazam before there was Shazam.) But that was a fun moment for because I was right and Joe was wrong. Nah na na na Na Nah!
Over the years though we let those silly arguments become a source of unnecessary conflicts between us, probably because I was the one who really wanted to fight it out and Be Right. So we would fight over silly things and instead of letting things go, we let it get in the way of our love for each other. Because if you don’t agree that I’m right, then maybe you don’t know anything, and I can’t respect a person who wouldn’t know something as simple as that, and if you think I’m wrong about this, then you clearly don’t even believe me and you must think I’m a complete idiot and I don’t want to feel like a complete idiot, so I don’t want to even be near you right now. And more than causing conflict, pride also breeds this attitude that my spouse is not just wrong, but stupid. And that sentiment-whether giving it or receiving it- does not breed intimacy or mutual respect. It’s kind of a love killer.
As the Lord began to show me the ways in which I had let my pride into our marriage, I had to learn to say those three little words that totally transformed our marriage: “I was wrong.” Try it, it’s hard to say. Then if you really want to build your spouse up, try “You are right” (sincerely, of course). As Joe and I have exchanged those phrases more often, we have noticed a drastic improvement in our communication. Joe and I still disagree plenty on things, but now we’ve learned to hold on loosely to our pride and the need to be right. “Hmm… I don’t think that’s true/the best way to do it, but you may be right.” Then we move on, often agreeing to disagree and knowing it doesn’t matter in the end who’s right.
And yes, Joe has a thousand examples he could share about me being sooo wrong when I thought I was right but maybe we’ll save that for another day 🙂 And even though we can laugh or tease each other when either of us is “wrong”, the truth is, we’re a team, so that’s not what we should be looking for or focusing on. We should look for every opportunity to celebrate our spouse and say,”You were right!” Remember 1 Corinthians 13, and that whole keeping record of wrongs! Instead I’ll rejoice in the Truth, even if I’m not the one holding it.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2