Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tip #7: Ideas for Building Successful Relationships

Admit when you're wrong.

Matt and I both like to be right. We frequently find ourselves disagreeing about the littlest things: What's the fastest way to get to our favorite restaurant? What time does the art store close? How do you pronounce "inchoate"?

There's definitely an element of competition as we wait and see who is right.

Just yesterday, we were debating about the fastest way to get to the airport. I argued that we should pay $1 to take the toll road because it was 4:50pm, which was close enough to rush hour. Houston traffic is something you don't want to mess with. Matt argued that we should take the regular freeway because it was still early enough.

As we approached the regular freeway on our way to the toll road, we realized it didn't look too crowded, so we decided to save the dollar. As we made our merry way to the airport, it was clear that Matt was right. So I went ahead and stated for the record, "Baby, you were right about the traffic. I'm glad we went this way."

It's not easy to admit defeat, but I think it's a super-important element of a healthy relationship. I think it prevents bitterness from developing, and it shows that the truth is more important than someone's ego.

As important as it is to admit wrongness about the little things, it's even more important (and infinitely more difficult!) to admit wrongness about the big things.

Just the other day, Matt and I were fighting about his job. I wanted him to come to Florida with me since school was going to be canceled post-hurricane. He, on the other hand, wanted to stay and help get his school cleaned up. I was hurt by his willingness to prioritize his job over me. In the end, however, I apologized to him for not understanding and respecting his commitment to his job (a job that fully represents his deepest passions and commitments to the world).

It often comes down to a battle between my super-ego and id (a few of Freud's ideas about personality really resonate with me). My id never wants to apologize. It's childish and immature. My super-ego, however, is much more rationale and mature. It urges me to do the right thing.

My poor ego is caught in the middle. It listens to both sides and then makes its decision. On a good day, it decides to apologize.

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1 comment:

Pollyanna Jacobs said...

I think giving up on the battle is really the key. Being right really does not thing for you, in fact it just makes your partner wrong. And who whats to have a healthy relationship with someone they think is wrong most the time. Instead of having to admit that you are wrong why not try, for one week or even one day, giving up on the notion of trying to be right.

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