Marriage, undoubtedly, is one of the most challenging undertakings a person will have in a lifetime. Unfortunately, people do not treat it as such and fall short of the mark of “Til death do us part.”
In my work with couples, I ask them a series of questions to determine if counseling would be helpful at the point where they are in their marriage. One critical question that I work earnestly to get the answer to is, “What’s more important to you – being married or being right?” So, let’s just dissect how to proceed from these two points.
Being Right is More Important
A person who is focused on being right has little regard for the opinion, beliefs, needs, or perspective of the other person. This person rarely listens during a disagreement because the focus is more on the counter-argument or the restatement of the same defense. A person who wants to be right settles into anger like it is a shield against a fiery dragon and every thing becomes an adversary. Being right means there is no compromise, no collaboration, and no commitment to peace. If being right is the ultimate goal, then the relationship becomes a dictatorship. All information exchanged is to build a case – to learn what defenses are needed to counter the perceived attack.
Being Married is More Important
This person welcomes dialogue because it is viewed as a medium in which the two learn about the other in order to get closer to the person. Nurturing becomes the number one goal of the disagreement to ensure there is growth. A person who is more committed to being married than right understands that in the large scheme of things, this disagreement is but a ripple. Being right does not settle in the spirit of a person who views marriage as more important because the well-being of the mate is priority. So, if growth comes through patient dialogue, this person welcomes it because the end result is togetherness. The marriage is no longer a battlefield. It becomes the command center for the marriage where strategies are developed to reach common goals. The vision for the marriage is developed so that every one is aligned and focused. Accountability becomes a common denominator rather than the blame game.
So, ask yourself, “Is it more important for me to be married or to be right?” If the answer is to be right, then reflect on where that will lead your marriage.
Stacia’ Alexander, LPC