Every older woman in my life who is enjoying her life and still having sex with her husband asks this question: “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be married?” Ooooh, that’s good – you rascals have shared costly wisdom and how I long to respond to you, “Married! Of course! No brainer! Duh!”
But today, older women who love me so well, I am excited to be right.
Cody and I have an ongoing discussion about the “fast lane”. Everyone knows the left lane is the fast lane on the freeway. If you choose to actually drive the speed limit, you drive it in the middle or right lane. If you would like to stay between five and nine over the speed limit to avoid tickets, left lane is your friend. If you want to drive 20 over the limit and risk getting a ticket, left lane is your frenemy. What’s the point?
The fast lane is a real thing. Except to my husband, who swears there is no fast lane, that all lanes are created equal. Until I found this…
What’s that you say dmv.ca.gov? “Traffic lanes are often referred to by number. The left or “fast lane” is called the “Number 1 Lane”, etc., etc., etc. Like I’ve argued for three years with no proof until now, the fast lane is a real thing. Of course, I bragged to our friend in the car last night about this scientific evidence and also sent a group text this morning to continue proving my rightness.
Another discussion in our marriage is air conditioning – do we get it or not? I say no; Cody says yes. On this one, I am not right. We, I argue, are embarking on maternity leave, are attempting the never-ending saga of GROWING GRASS and have 343 items to purchase before baby arrives (including a security system) on a fixed income… but its hot. Desert hot. Do not let the transplanted palm trees in LA, that will fall over in 100 years, fool you. There is nothing tropical here in the valley, only glaring, must be a lizard to live here, heat.
Have you ever lived with a hot pregnant woman? No? Well, let’s just say my husband is right and he would like to be married, so he is currently jimmy rigging AC units all over our house.
He would never humiliate me with a group text of this photo or brag to his friends. He definitely deserves a Husband of the Year award for his Macgyver skills and constant kindness. I would buy it for him, but for the reasons listed above, I can’t.
So, do you want to be right or do you want to be married?
No one likes a nit picker. And no one likes an “always right about everything under the sun” person, or an “has experienced all there is to experience and can one up all your stories” person. Isn’t it good when someone just listens and enjoys what you share? And then you kindly return the favor as they bravely show up and share?
Life is hard enough already. Why do we make it harder by directly or passively challenging, even unintentionally, the ones we love the most? My older lady friends are on to something. It is mo’ betta’ indeed to be married, loving your life, than it is to be right. This also happens to prove true on our jobs, in our faith communities, friendships and family relationships.
Here’s a few things we’ve learned that help us avoid the “I’m right” fight:
- Stay humble. Say this out loud with me: “I don’t know everything.” Admit when you’re wrong. Say sorry. Own your part because not much in a close relationship is one-sided. Remember, you can be oh so right, and oh so wrong. Tone, timing, how you share your opinions and thoughts is often more critical than what you are actually sharing. If the important words you need to communicate are overshadowed by the method of communication, you won’t be heard. The argument becomes about the pain words have created and not the actual issue at hand.
- Connect. Create touch points throughout the day that foster consistent connection. Kiss, hold hands, hug, talk. Generally women connect through love – connect to her feelings, her ideas, her solutions. Men typically connect through respect – connect to his thoughts, his feelings, his needs. Ladies, notice solutions did not make the man list… Unless someone’s asking, why are we sharing how we’d fix that? Take time to talk every day, to share vulnerably and honestly without constantly focusing on what’s negative.
- Listen. Make listening a priority. Give your undivided, focused attention. Ask questions gently for clarity. Suspend your judgement so that you can focus on understanding. Check your emotions during difficult conversations, so you can remain in a position of honor.
- Laugh. Remember a funny story and laugh until you cry. Spend time with friends who fill you up, especially in hard seasons. They’ll keep you honest and keep you laughing. And instead of arguing about the AC, laugh hysterically at how you are forced to keep cool.
And when all else fails, go out for a pint of ice cream on a freshly made waffle cone.