“To keep your marriage brimming . . .

Photo by lauramusikanski on morguefile

. . . With love in the loving cup, Whenever you’re wrong, admit it; Whenever you’re right, shut up.”

  • Ogden Nash

Is it harder to admit it when you’re wrong, or to shut up when you’re right? What do you know about yourself regarding these two questions? Stop now, and take time to think and feel it through. Jot down a couple of notes if you like.

You can stand in front of a mirror and ask yourself. Watch your face and body language. What do you see? How do you feel in your body? Do you notice tight muscles? Where are they? Just notice.

. . . (Thinking)

. . . (Feeling)

Why does it help to admit it when you’re wrong? You are able to let yourself know; and that’s healthy, even if painful. It lets your beloved know that you care, are paying attention, and are emotionally mature enough to recognize your own missteps. That makes you trustworthy. And you grow each time. Plus, you grow in self-estimation, and in your partner’s eyes. As you’ve heard before: Knowledge is power. The more you know yourself, the more authentically you can live. Admitting when you’re wrong makes you a better person, and a safe person to be around.

Why don’t people admit it when they’re wrong? Maybe there were repercussions when you were young that taught you to protect yourself. Not wanting to admit when one is wrong is likely an evolutionary tool for survival. Admitting to being wrong can feel vulnerable (and most people do NOT want to feel vulnerable). Everyone is supposed to have it together at all times, or at least LOOK like we have it together. Yesterday my husband pointed out that I had communicated information to one of our kids that we hadn’t discussed yet. He was right. I wanted (badly) to justify it to him (and I did a little) Mostly I said, you’re right, I did. And I listened to his viewpoint. Then we could discuss the topic and not have to deal with emotional fallout.

Why does it help to shut up when you’re right? Very few people like to listen to their partner brag about being right. Right? Right! There’s not usually new information shared. So it comes off as gloating. When you one-up yourself, are you one-downing your beloved?

Why don’t people shut up when they’re right? Many people are wired to expect things to be fair. Life is not fair. We make the best of it. In trying to level the playing field to be fair, you may grind your partner’s nose into you being right. Yuck! No one wants that. Many people like to have the last word. Are you like that? Does it actually help you and your beloved to feel more connected? Unlikely.

If you haven’t yet, please read Say Something Once, why Say it Again?

Bottom line: Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?