5. Remember that being sorry is better than being right
Look, I know what it feels like when you are so frustrated with your partner and basically want to wring his neck because you are so right and he is so wrong. How can he possibly not realize how incredibly stupid and wrong he is and how he makes no sense, and you make so much sense it’s insane!
All you want is to prove that you’re right because … you are right! And maybe you are. But when you get locked in this kind of battle you both lose because you become opponents; you’re fighting against each other, and the other person becomes your enemy. And if you’re in a fight, then chances are he thinks you’re wrong, and chances are, he’s probably right. He’s probably a little wrong and a little right, just like you’re a little wrong and a little right.
What will get you to a place of understanding and resolution is to not try to win and prove who’s right, it’s to be sorry that your partner was hurt (even if he was wrong). It sucks to be the first to apologize (and if you’re always the first to apologize that is a sign that something is amiss in the relationship, and it should definitely be addressed because not being able to take responsibility is a major red flag). You don’t want to apologize; you don’t think he deserves it, and maybe he doesn’t. But no matter what, no matter how justified you are, you can still be sorry that he is hurt, or sorry that you said something you shouldn’t have. Because when you love someone, you don’t ever want to hurt him or cause him pain.
In a moment of conflict it may not feel that way, but overall, that’s where you’re coming from (hopefully, anyway). Trying to prove your case won’t get you anywhere. Showing empathy and compassion and owning up to whatever your share in the conflict was will usually get the other person to do the same. Yes, I know it’s annoying to be the bigger person, but someone has to do it; otherwise you’ll forever be locked in a battle of wills, and no relationship can survive in that state.
You can’t win every argument, and some conflicts will never be solved. You just need to respect each other and respect your differences. Part of the reason my husband and I had such a rocky engagement is because we couldn’t get there. The main point of contention was that he feels very uncomfortable with “extravagance,” and he is much more practical and grounded. I am not a big spender by any means, but I am a bit more liberal with money. That spilled into almost every interaction, especially since weddings can bleed you dry. We clashed over the cost of everything: the furniture we’d buy for out apartment, the items in our registry, the cost of my wedding dress. (He just couldn’t understand how one dress could cost so much, while I had to explain that my dress was actually on the cheaper side!)
We were fighting about all these little things, but really the problem was we weren’t respecting the other person’s point of view. I thought he was being difficult and annoying for adding to my stress (which, I’ll be honest, he was!) and he thought I was a spendthrift and didn’t pay attention to budgets. When we got to the root of the issue, we realized that we’re just different in this area and we needed to respect those differences. And somehow, we found a way to make it work. Since we got married, we haven’t had a single fight about money. I learned to respect his mindfulness about budgets and being practical, and he has learned to appreciate that having a nice apartment with nice things really is … nice!
Lots of love,