Have you ever found yourself arguing with your spouse and can’t remember what you started arguing about? Have you ever thought if you apologize and admit you were wrong, it could make you look weak? I must confess, before the Lord brought healing into our lives and marriage, I used to struggle with this way of thinking quite a bit. That’s why I want to share with you why I now believe it is extremely wrong to fight over who is right.
For many years I was easily caught in this scenario of fighting to prove I was right. It didn’t matter what the argument was about, I was determined from the beginning to prove my points and to prove I was right. And if it ever appeared to me I could be wrong I would resist with everything I had to keep from admitting it.
I also struggled with trying so hard to prove I was right I would lose my temper and say horrible things to my wife. I didn’t like feeling I was pushed into a corner where I was forced to admit I was wrong. So out of my fear of being wrong I came out swinging just to prove I wasn’t wrong.
Maybe I felt I was less of a man or less of a leader if I had to admit I was wrong. Maybe I was afraid to admit I didn’t have it all together and I didn’t always have the right answer for the situation. Maybe I thought if I had to ask for my wife’s advice or opinion it would prove I didn’t know what I was doing and I shouldn’t be trusted as a leader.
Actually, the answers to those maybes I just mentioned are yes, yes, and yes. The truth is I did a lot of fighting to prove I was right because I was too insecure to admit when I was wrong. I had no understanding of how harmful it was to my marriage to be a “right fighter.” And I had absolutely no clue that it is more valuable to be humble than it is to be right.
Here are 4 reasons why it’s wrong to fight over who’s right.
It splits oneness.
When we are determined to win an argument and determined to prove our spouse is wrong, we are allowing division into our marriage. As husbands and wives, we are called into a one flesh relationship with our spouse. We are called to join and remain at all times in unity with our spouse. In essence we should be so uniquely woven together with our spouse that we appear to be one person.
Think about what it would look like if you encountered a man arguing with himself to the point he screamed hateful words and physically attacked himself. You would think that person must be schizophrenic. Well in reality someone who is schizophrenic is someone who should be one whole person and yet he is divided into two or more people. In other words, his wholeness is divided, his oneness is split.
It’s prideful and selfish.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. ~ 1 John 2:16
Whenever the goal is to prove we’re right and our spouse is wrong that automatically makes us wrong because we are motivated by the sinful nature of pride and selfish ambition. Defeating our spouse in an argument should never give us a sense of triumph. There are no blue ribbons for that. There are no trophies. And we can forget about receiving a prize.
It builds walls.
A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle. ~ Proverbs 18:19
When we are determined to prove ourselves right we are equally trying to prove our spouse wrong. When we do this we are squishing our spouse’s opinions and perspective. This usually results in offense because our spouse will feel like we don’t care or don’t respect what they think. And as the bible says, offense can turn into a wall that is not easily overcome.
It lacks vision.
Fighting over who is right is short sighted and lacks vision for what matters most. First it causes us to overlook what’s really important. Our relationship with God, our spouse’s well being, and the health of our marriage should never take a back seat to our right to prove we’re right.
Secondly, it causes us to miss the opportunity of finding good solutions for the real problems we disagree about. What was important enough to have a disagreement over becomes meaningless because we make being right the most important.
We can win by losing
What if we gave up our right to be right? What if our aim was not about winning and instead we aimed to lose? Could it be there is greater value in losing than there is in winning? Jesus thought so.
He said this:
….. “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” ~ Matthew 16:24-25
And then the apostle Paul wrote:
I could go on and list many more scriptures, but I think the point is clear. The Lord says it is more important and more valuable for us to deny our right to be right. He says it is better for us to serve and give preferential treatment to our spouse. He says that the greater act of love is for us lay down our lives for our spouse. When we trust the Lord and do this His way I believe we will find life to be much simpler and much more peaceful.
And so we have a choice. Are we better off doing this our way, fighting for our right to be right? Or do we trust God and do this the kingdom way, by choosing to lose our lives by laying down our rights for something better.
Again, I want to strongly recommend Fawn Weaver’s new book “The Argument-Free Marriage.” I think there is some powerful truths she packs into this book and I know it will deeply impact every marriage that embraces these truths.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net