Fighting To Be Right

Sometimes I think the need to be right is a deep down desire…

We argue with those we love, push people away, and make others feel worthless. All because we FEEL we need to be right.

Have you ever found yourself in that situation before?

Man punching someone in the face

Image by Daniel Morris

I have. Even recently.

My wife and I were looking for our water bottles that we refill. They were missing and we couldn’t find them.

When I returned home from a long day at work, I noticed something in the bathroom. There was one of the water bottles.

We then had a “conversation.”

Me: Hey honey. I found one of the water bottles.

Her: Where at?

Me: In the bathroom. You must have put it there.

Her: No, I didn’t bring anything into the bathroom today.

Me: You must have. It’s in there now.

Her: I said I didn’t put it in there. Maybe it was you.

Me: No, I didn’t put it there…

The conversation continued a little while longer with similar comments made. Both of us sticking to our guns.

Looking back at the conversation, it was really pointless. It did not encourage our marriage.

Instead it brought out the desire to be right in the moment.

Instances like this can do great harm to a marriage. It lets little things in.

By fighting to be right, we

  • Can bring resentment into our marriage. When one, or both, of the partners in a marriage desires to be right, it can cause the other partner to become disheartened. They feel like they’re being one-upped. In the end, it leads to resentment. And resentment in a marriage is never a good thing.
  • Place a small seed of division into the relationship. Fighting to be right can cause small hurts that lead to one partner backing away. They’re hurt. They’re frustrated. They feel like they’re wrong.

    Eventually it adds up. Getting to the point of extreme hurt and frustration. Eventually these times of “being right” will be brought up in a future argument and can blow up.

  • Cause feelings of inadequacies. The other partner normally feels put down and unloved when situations like this arise. They can see the desire of the other person to be right. They can see how little value is placed on their wants and needs. Finally the partner ends up with a feeling of inadequacy.

You’ve got to be careful. I know. Because I struggle with this. I’m working on it and know it’s something many couples deal with.

If you’re always fighting to be right, something is not right. You’ve got to find a way to give up that fight and become who your spouse needs you to be.

Instead of fighting to be right, give it up. Tell your spouse they’re right. Let them know it’s okay. That you love them.

Give up the fight to be right. Instead pick up another fight.

The Fight To Love Your Spouse.

Question: What do you do when you’re finding yourself fighting to be right? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I definitely have to and always humble myself. I love being right but I had to step back many times and be wrong. Sometimes its not about being right its about showing humility and its something I’ve become better at. Nobody said it was easy, but the Love that you have for your spouse should overcome any argument.

    • That’s great Lincoln. Keep working at it. Any tips you can throw my way?

      • I just kept ignoring my wife’s love language and didn’t know it. I had to find out what it was and that took our marriage to a new height. She loves for me to help more, organizing the home, folding and washing clothes. The simple stuff. It’s still a work in progress but I know what her love language is and all I want to do is please her.

        • DS

          Love language and humility – great tips Lincoln.

  • Unfortunately, I have been realizing this is occurring too late (I think this scenario just happened yesterday). Once I realize what is happening, it is too late and the damage is done. I will be watching for it and trying to change course quickly.

    • Nick, but that’s the great part. You’re realizing it. It’s the first step in correcting the issue.

      • Just like the old commercials–knowing is half the battle! Thanks, Joe!

        • Good old GI Joe knew the truth, didn’t he?

  • Great post. Isn’t it crazy how we feel the need to be right over things that don’t matter? This is a great reminder. I’m trying to help my 8 yr old understand this too.

    • It is. I just had another experience with it last night. Can be so frustrating once you realize what you’re doing.

  • I’m as stubborn as a bulldog but I’ve learned (still learning) through 30 years of marriage (and being a dad) that it’s not about being right…it’s always about winning hearts, building relationships and understanding each other. Words speak life or death, we have to choose them wisely. Good reminder bro’, appreciate your sharing your heart!

    • DS

      “It’s about winning hearts, building relationships, and understanding eachother.”

      Awesome thoughts! What a tremendous attitude.

    • Jay, at least you’re learning it and moving forward with what you know. You’ve broken it down to the correct things.. Winning hearts, building relationships, and understanding each other. When we’re able to work on those areas, life becomes so much better.

    • I just had a chuckle at your last name. If I pronounced it correctly its a riot!…to me, but I’m goofy like that.

      • Oh believe me…I laugh too! I can’t tell how many times people don’t believe that Cookingham is my last name…and it sounds just like you are cooking ham…LOL!

      • It actually made me hungry. Make it a honey ham and oh man…

  • An interesting post, Joe. It’s a normal stuff that happens in relationships, especially at home. As you said, if not mindful, it can create problems and divisions. Normally it starts as a disagreement and when it happens repeatedly, it takes root.

    One of the ways I tackle it is to see the big picture. My relationship with my wife is bigger than the issue at hand. I value her than the issue. This mindset helps me think about finding a solution than trying to show I am right.

    • You’ve got a great way of tackling the issue. By putting your wife first and valuing her more than what’s going on builds a great relationship.

  • Joe…great minds think alike. I blogged basically the same thing today 🙂

    • Looking forward to checking it out Kent! I’m sure it won’t disappoint.

  • Guilty as charged on this one. It’s obvious these little fights aren’t helpful, but they’re so hard to stop. I think it’s because we’re around the people we do them with so often we get comfortable. It’s almost as if we’re thinking these things out loud.

    • True Grayson. When the comfortability sets in, it’s much easier to let the little things come to the surface.

  • Reminded me of the advice to “pick your battles”. In the end, is a misplaced water bottle really worth fighting over? I’ve had to remember to think before I react many times.

    • That advice is great but so hard to put into action.

      And heck no a water bottle isn’t worth fighting for. Even if it does at the time. That’s why I found it so silly and had to share.

      How do you remember to think before you act in situations like that?

  • DS

    Uh-oh. I think I may still be in denial.

    I think recognizing this is a huge deal in marriage and other relationships. We have to think about the big picture as you suggest. I notice this also with my children. What’s the idea or concept that’s non-negotiable? Is this the one I need to stand firm on?

    Most of the time, I just need to close my mouth, open my ears, and apologize.

    • Hey, you stole my initials. 🙂


      • DS

        Ha! I think they’re strong initials myself. Happy to share…

    • There’s the old saying “Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and have it confirmed.”

  • I love a good fight.

    It’s one of the things I’ve had to learn to let go of because my wife doesn’t. 🙂

    In all seriousness, great post and thanks for the reminder to love first, speak second.

    • Duane, ohhh.. I love that. “Love first, speak second.” It seems to be a hard principle to live by. How are you achieving that standard?

  • Wow, you just called me out with this one Joe, Bam! I have this problem not only with my wife but with everyone!! I know it leads no where good and I’ve been praying and working through the need to always be right!

    • It’s a tough thing to correct. I know I’m nowhere near conquering this either. I’ll join you in prayer Kimanzi that we’ll both get better at this.

  • Wow! Love that sentence “pick up another fight, the fight to love your spouse”. Love it.

    I too struggle with letting go of an “opportunity” to be right. I have not perfected anything.g yet, still have to fight the urge every time. But I think that seeing the hurt and poison it brings to the relationship makes me always ask, “do I really want to clean up the aftermath?”. Restoring. Relationshipis always harder than messing it up…so I take my pick…the option of a quiet mouth and happy relationship or right mouth and trenchwork later.

    • It’s a tough struggle, huh? Be intentional and look for ways to avoid it. Like you said, a quiet mouth and a happy relationship is much better.

  • I think most couples at times deal with “fighting to be right.” I know I have been guilty of this with my wife. During those times though I think about if it would matter in the long term. Most times it would not so I try and be careful in what I say and let it go. Though it’s a challenge some times. Great topic and post.

    • Exactly Dan. When thinking about the long term, how do you contrast it with the present situation?

  • I thought my husband had his head in the clouds until he went to Canada and I found that the coffee percolator still boiled itself dry because it hadn’t been switched off and the front door wasn’t locked when I came home…

    • Haha, don’t you hate when that happens?

  • Joe,

    Great reminder. After 16 years of marriage I still have urges to fight to be right. I am learning to sometimes fold my tent and take the lost. I have learned to shut my trap and listen. It is okay to lose and have peace.

    • You’re working towards it and that’s great Bernard! Bet your wife appreciates it.

  • When this happens I need to step back and take a breather… put the other person’s needs first, and figure out what I can to do make myself better through this situation. Good stuff Joe!

    • Sounds like you’ve got what it takes to put the other person first Chris. Keep it up!

      • Thank you Joe, wish it was always just that easy…

  • very nice post
    all people should see it

    • Thanks Farouk. Appreciate the kind words.

      Have you ever found yourself fighting to be right over something meaningless?

    • Thanks Farouk. Appreciate the kind words.

      Have you ever found yourself fighting to be right over something meaningless?

  • Really very nice post.. I like the way you share your experience and views with us. You are absolutely right. Sometimes, we hurt our relations to prove our-self right.

  • Pingback: Top Posts and Commenters For June 2012 | Joseph Lalonde()

  • Glad you tweeted this today. I had a raging debate going on facebook last night and at one point stepped between two of my friends who were standing on opposite ends of the political spectrum and arguing past each other. I pointed out that they weren’t talking to each other, but at each other, and mostly coming from emotion at that. I summed up the salient points to that point and got them back on track. Within a few comments, everyone decided that we all liked each other enough to let the argument go with no hard feelings.

    I want to feel proud, but I think that God must have led me to that place, because I’m far more likely to be one of those two guys than I am to be the mediating voice of reason. It did feel good, though, to watch it resolve the way it did. I need to do that more in my marriage, though, and honor my wife.

    Even when I know I’m right. 😉

    • Bret, I’m thankful you found this helpful. And that’s great news you were able to help steer a brewing argument back to civility. Keep rocking it!

  • Pingback: It’s Not About Making A Point | Joseph Lalonde()

  • Pingback: I’ve Never Done This Before | Joseph Lalonde()