How to Be Wrong When You Are Right

What if the goal in every conflict was to maintain connection instead of to prove that you are right?

Conflict Connection

Every couple has disagreements and conflicts. It’s inevitable. In most cases, our goal is to prove we are in the right. Today, I’m proposing a different, more radical goal: to maintain your connection.

Proving you are right has its merits. It demonstrates your knowledge of the subject matter. It shows your ability to think on your feet and to argue your point. It allows your partner to see the obvious brilliance of the right (your) answer and change their mind.

Of course being right or wrong in a disagreement matters, it’s just that it should matter less than protecting your relationship, and in particular, guarding intimacy in ways that maintain your connection.

As you will see below, there are things we all do during conflict or disagreement that break our connection.

The Wrong Way to Be Right

Shutting down conversation – When we feel strongly about something, it’s easy to speak in a way that does not allow room for our partner to speak. When we shut our spouse out of the conversation, it’s no longer dialogue, it’s making a speech. If your spouse senses that you aren’t willing to hear what they have to say, they will tend to withdraw from the conversation. That’s the beginning of disconnection.

Not listening – A more likely scenario is that we listen to what they have to say, but we don’t really hear. We don’t really want to gain understanding. Instead, we pretend to listen, but in truth, we are preparing our rebuttal in our minds the whole time our partner is speaking. Such tactics still result in disconnection, because your spouse will see that you have not understood or even given consideration to their point of view. It makes them feel devalued.

Berating or belittling – When we use shame or condemnation to hammer our point home, we destroy intimacy. Shame and Intimacy cannot coexist, because, by definition, intimacy happens when we are fully seen and yet completely loved as we are. Naked without shame. Shaming your spouse will inhibit them getting “naked” with their opinions in the future.

Ganging up – In some cases, we drag others who share our opinion into the conversation to prove that we are in the right. It doesn’t actually prove that you are right because resolving disagreements isn’t about taking a vote. It’s about getting on the same page, finding common ground and gaining understanding.

Not letting it go – Even if your partner comes around to your point of view, and the conflict is resolved to both of your satisfaction, you can cause damage later by repeatedly bringing up the fact that you were right and they were wrong. Not letting go of an argument after it has been peaceably resolved keeps the conflict alive and makes your spouse feel unsafe.

Making everything a big deal – Sometimes we make conflicts over issues that really don’t matter. For example, your spouse misremembers a detail of a story they are telling, or pronounces a word incorrectly or gets a date or time wrong. Sometimes, it just doesn’t matter. Let it go.

Speaking harshly – The tone and body language you use during conflict can often speak as loudly as the words you say. It’s easy to push your spouse away just by speaking harshly or giving a smirk or crossing your arms defiantly.

The Right Way to Be Right

So what if keeping your connection and maintaining intimacy was a greater goal than being right or proving your point? Such an outlook would more than likely result in disagreements that look like the following.

Showing honor – Maintaining an attitude of honor and respect is the best way to keep your connection during disagreements. That means valuing the other person and their perspective, even if you are convinced that you are right. Honor makes space for the other and their point of view, even if you hold a strongly opposing view. Honor dictates that we respond with respect rather than react with emotion.

Listening to gain understanding – listening to understand is a learned skill. It requires remaining focused on our partner and trying to discern their heart. It means not preparing your argument in your mind while the other person is speaking. It’s harder than it sounds. Repeating back what you think you heard is a very useful tactic.

Speaking with kindness – Keep a calm, non-defensive tone and demeanor. Even if you are convinced that you are right and your spouse is wrong, don’t accuse him or her or attribute motives to their opinions. Body language is also important. If you can actually touch while in a disagreement, that’s the best way to make a statement that you are on the same side.

Not sweating the small stuff – use discernment as to whether the argument is actually worth having. Will proving yourself right help your relationship or your spouse?

Agreeing to disagree – Not every argument will end in agreement. Be okay with respectfully holding different perspectives on an issue.

 

I encourage you to try this out.  The next time you and your spouse are having a disagreement about something, remember to shift your thinking from “winning” to “staying connected.”

7 Ways to Help Your Wife Feel Beautiful

A Men only Monday post

Make it your job to make your wife feel beautiful every day.

Make Her Feel Beautiful

Today I’m speaking to husbands concerning their wife’s body image struggles. This is a follow-up post to my Wives Only Wednesday post from last week, 6 Things Wives Need to Know About Their Body Image Struggles and the subsequent post 10 Ways to Overcome Body Image Issues.

Let me cut right to the heart of the issue: It is your job to make your wife feel beautiful. Every single day.

How do I make such a bold claim? Because you are to love your wife as Christ loves the church, and that’s exactly how Jesus treats us.

All that he does in us is designed to make us a mature church for his pleasure until we become a source of praise to him—glorious and radiant, beautiful and holy, without fault or flaw; a bride fully prepared for him. Ephesians 5:27 TPT

In the footnote concerning the word “beautiful” the author of The Passion Translation, Brian Simmons, writes, “5:27 The Greek word for radiance (endoxos) can also mean “gorgeous, honorable, esteemed, splendid, infused with glory!” This is what Christ’s love will do to you.” And by extension, The Bridal Paradigm implies that your love should beautify your wife in the same way.

So the biblical mandate to “beautify” your wife is clear. But how?

1) Tell Her – Daily

As I stated in my post, “Your Wife is in a Body Image Battle,” your wife is bombarded daily with messages that cause her to dislike her appearance. Movies, television, magazines and advertising all contribute to a false portrayal of beauty that makes women feel “less than.”

You may be her only ally in her battle against negative self-image, so it is your job to tell her loudly and clearly just how beautiful she is. Pay her a compliment about her physical appearance every day or more. Even if you told her an hour ago, she’s stopped believing it already. Compliment her outfit, her sense of style, her hairstyle, or speak admiringly of your favorite body part(s). Let her know how much you appreciate when she wears something just for you. Seek opportunities to praise her beauty (tactfully and appropriately) in front of others.

2) Pursue Her

Never stop pursuing your wife. Yes, she is already yours, but that doesn’t mean she no longer desires to be pursued by you. Flirt with her. Take her on regular dates. Cross the house to kiss her for no reason at all except that you wanted a kiss. Make love regularly – it actually changes her brain chemistry in positive ways.

Understand your wife’s love language(s) and be purposeful in attending to her love needs in ways that are meaningful to her. Her love needs are likely completely different than your own, so be a student of what makes your wife feel loved and regularly act in accordance with what you have learned.

Do little things every day to make her feel adored. Cherish her daily and don’t make the mistake of thinking occasional grand gestures are enough. They aren’t.

3) Adore her Inner Self

I know this post is primarily about your wife’s self-image over her physical appearance, but your wife is much more than just how she looks. Make a point to admire her inner beauty as well. Notice and express appreciation for who she is inside. Compliment her personality, her generosity, her intelligence and her spiritual insight. Remind her what a good friend/daughter/mother she is.

4) Touch Her

Even if physical touch is not one of your wife’s love languages, it’s an important ingredient in making her feel loved and adored by you. Non-sexual touch releases oxytocin, which causes her to feel more connected to you. Hug. Hold Hands. Snuggle on the couch. Put your arm around her. Give a foot or back massage.

5) Adorn Her

Encourage your wife to spend money and time on herself. Buy her a special outfit or surprise her with jewelry once in a while. Again, even if gifts aren’t her highest love language, make room in the budget for her to buy some nice things. Encourage her to splurge occasionally on some more elegant lingerie – or buy it for her yourself. If this feels out of your league, check her sizes in her closet and drawers, and ask for help finding something tasteful yet beautiful at the local lingerie store.

6) Look at Her Through the Eyes Of Love and Desire

Allow your wife to see in your eyes the love and desire you have for her. Give her a wry, appreciative smile when you catch her undressing. Lock eyes with her while you are making love. Flash her a loving smile or give her a wink across a room full of people. Approach her, staring into her eyes with a passionate look, and press your body to hers before moving in for a kiss.

7) Never Give Up

Many wives will try to refuse your compliments or argue back. As hard as that is, especially if she is ardent in her opposition, don’t allow her negative reactions to discourage you in your efforts to make her feel beautiful. It won’t be easy but stick to it. Be consistent. Let her know that she doesn’t get to decide how you feel about her. Even if she argues, she still wants and needs to hear your words of affirmation.

Every woman is different, so not all of these will be helpful for all wives. The main thing is to be aware of your responsibility to make your wife feel beautiful and to be deliberate in your efforts.