In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Monday, August 01, 2011

In Others' Words: Wrong

Photo by grebenru/

"A long dispute means both parties are wrong." ~Voltaire

Update: "Thinking I'm right is wrong." ~Beth K. Vogt, with compliments to my friend, Doug (a.k.a. "Wise Guy"), who taught me and my husband this concept

That whole "Who's right and who's wrong" concept? I struggle with it. Complete honesty: I like to be right. 

When my husband Rob and I are, um, in a heated debate, it's easy to see how wrong he is--and how right I am. I don't understand why he can't see things from my perspective: the right one.
This I'm-right-and-you're-not attitude created some extended tension between Rob and I. Seems we're both stubborn. (There's just no other way to say it.) Oftentimes, I opted to just wait-out my husband. You know what usually happened? I fell asleep. Or I forget why I was so all-a-dither. 
Then we had the advantage of partaking of the counsel of "Wise Guy." His point (one of many excellent points): If you are determined to be right, that means you are just as determined to make someone else wrong. Is that really the goal in your relationship: to make the other person be wrong? 
Here's another life-giving principle Wise Guy taught us: Sometimes you are going to be upset with one another. One person may be ready to deal with the problem and one may not be ready. Realize that and agree to discuss things within a certain time frame.
We now have a 72-hour limit on arguments. And yes, I have been known to say, "I have 72 hours before I have to talk to you." 
Funny thing is, I think I've only reached that limit once in the last five years after I embraced the "Thinking I'm right is wrong" principle. 

In Your Words: Don't worry, I'm not going to ask you to divulge your last argument with your spouse or best friend. But I will ask this: How do you handle friction? Do you come out swinging, determined to deliver a knockout punch and prove that you are right? Or are you able to see the other person's side? 

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At 9:22 AM, Blogger Melissa Tagg said...

So much wisdom in one post, Beth! Thanks for sharing...I'm an avoider. I like to avoid conflict at all costs...except in stories. I'm perfectly willing to force my characters to come out swinging. But even in avoidance, there's a tendency to assume eventually the other person will realize how wrong they are... and, gulp, to delight in imagining that moment. Not cool. So, I love your quote: Thinking I'm right is wrong...:)

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

I had that quote posted on the mirror in our bathroom for years, Melissa, front and center so I saw it each morning and night. I needed it, believe me!

At 10:33 AM, Blogger Kay Swatkowski said...

Well, God used you today! I need to call a friend and admit I was wrong. :( Thanks for the reminder that we need not dig in our heels. Relationships are more important than being right.


At 1:18 PM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

Hi, Kay,
So thankful to hear my blog encouraged you today--especially to reconcile with a friend. Bravo!

At 5:00 PM, Blogger Jeanne T said...

Another great post, Beth. A wise woman once asked, "Is it more important to be right, or to be right with God?" I've tried to remember that when I face conflict. Humility is such a hard trait to sow into my prideful heart.
When I'm in conflict with another, I try to watch my words, but don't always succeed. I also find that I may need time to distance myself, to pray and to ask God to renew my mind and give me an accurate perspective.
I love what Wise Guy told you: Thinking I'm right is wrong. Something to remember.

At 9:40 PM, Blogger Sarah Forgrave said...

I love that twist the Wise Guy made on it...making the other person wrong. In my relationships with others, I tend to run from conflict. But with my husband, I usually want to hash it out and not leave it open-ended. Not sure if that's good or bad. :)

At 9:50 PM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

Another lesson learned: I can always learn from others' perspectives--just like today as I read through everyone's comments. I was away from my computer most of the day, but was eager to sit down and read what you had to say! I love "talking" together!


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